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Monday, April 22

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Review Mon Sep 26 2011

Review: Improv Nerd with Jimmy Carrane @ Stage 773

Jimmy Carrane3.jpg

Jimmy Carrane. Photo credit: Zoe McKenzie Photography.

Sitting in the audience of Jimmy Carrane's show, Improv Nerd, put me in the mind of a talk show taping, minus having to drag my ass to New York or L.A. and stand in line for hours making small talk with a bunch of tourists. Carrane, known for his work on WBEZ's Eight Forty-Eight, is a Chicago improv veteran. His credits include: The Annoyance Theater, where he is a founding member; the improv troup Armando at the IO; and several one man shows. He is a certified improv nerd, and in this interview-style show he brings a different Chicago improv icon onto the stage of the recently renovated Stage 773 Black Box theater each week.

Sunday's guest was Second City alum Susan Messing, who's show, Messing With a Friend, runs every Thursday night at 10:30pm at the Annoyance Theater. Carrane warmed up the audience of about 30 people with a brief monologue about why he is still friends with a man he calls "Shitty Dave," followed by an interview with Messing, with topics of conversation ranging from the show Co-Ed Prison Sluts , which Messing started in 1988, to her unsuccessful audition for SNL, to parenthood.

The highlight of the show came when Messing and Carrane improvised for the audience. There is so much bad improv in the world that it's easy to forget how great it is to see it in the hands of people who know how to do it right. Effortlessly, without reaching for the obvious, and without once making the audience worry (there's nothing worse than improv that makes an audience worried), the duo travelled step by step into a space that neither of them had been before, and might never go again. It was funny without being forced, and absolutely delightful.

Improv Nerd runs on Sundays at 7:30 through November 27 (except for October 16) at Stage 773 (1225 W. Belmont), with a different guest each week. Tickets are $15 with group discounts available and can be purchased by calling 773-929-7367 x 112 or online.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

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