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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Second City: Close but no Chicago

    In Chicago, The Second City comedy troupe’s shows are a must see for out-of-towners and a common choice for the more extravagant local birthday parties and dates. Traditionally poking fun at pop culture and current events a la The Onion and incorporating local lore for an inside joke-type feel (think Rod Blagojevich), The Second City is a show that literally makes its name spitting faux-musical and improv routines to a local — or wannabe local — crowd.

    It’s odd, then, that the troupe would, as the ads suggest, “”Do Arizona, or Close but No Saguaro.”” Though there is no shortage of material in any state, much less ours, the actors’ unfamiliarity with the Arizonan entities that they skewer is what waters down the show.

    As their program proclaims, in preparation for their three-week stint in Tucson, followed by two in Phoenix, “”the writers of The Second City spent several days in Tucson and Phoenix to immerse themselves in all things Arizonan.”” And though in the later parts of the show — jabs at golfing, tourists and car door oven mitts — elicited momentary chuckles, it was evident that the writers were primarily playing on stereotypes, not experience.

    That said, the opening line, “”It’s our way of saying ‘Hello!'”” as well as the self-awareness embedded in the show’s title, provided a slight but necessary disclaimer and allowed the audience to take the show as it is: a fast-paced, humorous briefing on the Grand Canyon State.

    While the show is a summary of stereotypes held perhaps by those tourists so ridiculed within it, the entertainment value of dangerous roadside ostriches and javelina raps complete with Kanye-esque Auto-Tuned oinks is not up for debate.

    You will laugh. And though you may not want your birthday party held at the Temple of Music and Art — particularly because the auditorium setting is less conducive to social events than the club-like setting of the Chicago stage — you should definitely consider going and bringing both your current-events awareness and a friend.

    A successful show, despite its occasional impersonality, “”The Second City Does Arizona”” definitely earns its saguaro.

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