A conversation between the producers of Shine Box Comedy

(Editor’s note: Six months ago, Steamroller was mailed a microcassette featuring a conversation between Stephanie Hasz & Andy Fleming. Today, another unpostmarked package showed up-- the same day as tonight’s Shine Box Comedy 2-year anniversary show)

[Begin transcript]

[rustling noises]

ANDY FLEMING: Okay, what is this one for again?

STEPHANIE HASZ: For that comedy blog.

FLEMING: ComedyOfChicago.com?! I LOVE them! OH MY GOD I HOPE WE’RE IN “WHAT’S POPPIN’”!

HASZ: No, no that one. Steamblower or something.

FLEMING: Oh.

HASZ: Okay, so last time we did one of these, it was to promote our two-person comedy festival. This time, it’s to promote a show we’ve been doing together for two years: Shine Box Comedy.

FLEMING: Do we really have to do this? Is there really anyone left out there who doesn’t know about Shine Box Comedy? It’s embarrassing. We’re basically legends. You don’t see George Carlin out there still promoting his comedy.

HASZ: I know, I know, but every once in awhile the kids out there need to hear us speak.

FLEMING: Fine. Shouldn’t our other co-producers be here? This show would be nothing if it weren’t for Jason Earl Folks and Natalie Jose.

HASZ: First of all, we both know that’s not true.

FLEMING: Fair enough.

HASZ: And second of all, Natalie’s here! She’s right over there.

FLEMING: Oh my God, I thought that was just a pile of denim and flannel.

HASZ: Say hi, Natalie!

NATALIE JOSE [distant]: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

FLEMING: Okay, she’s-- is she okay?

HASZ: Yeah, look at her, she’s pouring whiskey on a cake and eating it with her bare hands, she’s having a great time!

JOSE: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo... [snoring noises]

FLEMING: Wow, she really passes out quick, huh?

HASZ: Yeah, you can always tell when it’s coming, the light in her eyes just goes out.

FLEMING: Yikes.

HASZ: And who needs Jason  when we have our VERY GOOD FRIEND joining us: ladies and gentleman, Katt Williams!!

[Editor’s note: This is clearly not Katt Williams. In fact, it sounds a lot like Shine Box co-producer Jason Earl Folks, doing a, quite frankly, horrible impression of what someone once told him they read Katt Williams sounds like.]

“KATT WILLIAMS”: Ha ha, what’s up baby pimpin’ babies??

FLEMING: Thank you so much for being here, Katt.

HASZ: Yes, you are truly a friend.

“WILLIAMS”: Thank you so much, weed pimpin’ babies. I would not be the baby pimp hat baby I am today were it not for Shine Box Comedy.

HASZ: Oh my God, Katt, thank you so much!!

“WILLIAMS”: Of course, my bitch baby pimps. Sure, I have never performed at Shine Box Comedy, or even acknowledged it publicly, but I have always admired what you little baby elephant pimps are doing. You have truly brought pimpin’ comedy to Logan Square.

FLEMING [whispering]: Okay, Jason, you’re saying “pimp” and “baby” way too much.

JASON EARL FOLKS [breaking character]: DON’T GIVE ME NOTES, I STUDIED AT THE ANNOYANCE. ...Besides, you said if I did this, you’d give me a can of soup.

HASZ: You’ll get your soup, Folks.

FOLKS: I thought we were gonna, like, talk about the history of Shine Box Comedy.

HASZ: Oh well that’s not a bad a idea!

FLEMING: You know what’s crazy? It wasn’t even our idea. Logan Square BEGGED US to start a show.

HASZ: That’s right. We just woke up one day, and there was a petition nailed to the door of the house we all live in together under the Logan Square monument. 5000 signatures.

FOLKS: That’s not how it happened, you guys.

FLEMING:  Hm. Sounds like someone doesn’t want their soup.

[long pause]

FOLKS: Yeah, so the gist of the petition was that, ya know, you guys are pillars of the scene, we see you guys killin’ it all over other parts of the city, why not here in Logan Square?

HASZ: That’s right, Jason. Very good. And we had to figure out where to start that show.

FLEMING: The answer was clear: The Burlington had a great back room. Just perfect for comedy.

HASZ: But after awhile, we got bored of doing comedy in a room where conditions are perfect for it. I mean, who is that good for? So we moved our show up to the FRONT room of the Burlington, and we told them to book the loudest bands they could possibly think of in the back room during our shows.

FOLKS: Yeah, comedy in a comedy club? That’s easy. Everybody facing you, paying attention, no one’s walking between you and the audience to get to the back room to see their favorite noise-rock band? Child’s play. We thought, “Let’s challenge these kids.”

FLEMING: Then after awhile, we just realized we were too hot for that bar.

HASZ: Yeah, in fact, in the past two years, we’ve realized we were too hot for a lot of Logan Square bars after starting shows there: the Burlington, the Owl, Crown Tap--

FOLKS: Oh, Crown Tap is how Natalie got involved with us. Shouldn’t Natalie be here?

FLEMING: That’s her over there.

FOLKS: Oh Jesus, I thought that was just a cardboard cutout of Nicholas Cage from Leaving Las Vegas.

HASZ: Also, I’m pretty sure you’re wrong about Natalie “getting involved with us.” Natalie Jose of the Oprah Winfrey Network has been with us since the very beginning.

FOLKS: No she wasn’t. That was Anthony McBrien.

FLEMING: I have no Anthony McBrien.

HASZ: That’s right, Jason. Natalie was with us from THE. VERY. BEGINNING. Isn’t that right, Natalie?

JOSE: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-- [gurgling noises]

FLEMING: Oh God, roll her over, roll her over!

[rustling noises. tape stops, then starts again]

HASZ: Gosh, two years, guys. It’s been a wild ride. We’ve changed a lot of lives out there.

FLEMING: Audiences, comics-- I mean, this scene didn’t even know who Dale McPeek was before we showcased him. Now he’s a huge deal!

HASZ: Yeah, I saw the other day he was performing at the Cupcake Comedy Cabaret!

FLEMING: You’re kidding!

HASZ: Swear to God.

FLEMING: We did that.

HASZ: Wow. It feels good.

FLEMING: It DOES feel good.

HASZ: Here’s to another two years, buddy.

FLEMING: And then no more, right? We gotta get the fuck out of this town.

[a door opens]

FOLKS: Okay, I wrapped her body up in blankets. We should wait until it’s dark and then take it out to Naperville, I know a good spot--- are you guys still recording that thing??

JOSE [muffled]: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

FOLKS: WHAT?! HOW IS SHE STILL ALIVE??

FLEMING: I don’t know, but I guess that means she’ll be at Shine Box Comedy’s 2-year anniversary show, tonight at 9pm at Cole’s!

HASZ: See you there, folks!