Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Wednesday, April 24

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Overheard Illustrated: "Pass" A Theatrical Deal in Rogers Park »

Comedy Wed Aug 08 2012

POTUS as the Host with the Most: A Review of Barack All Night!

Barack All Night.png

There's a new name in late night and that name is ...Barack Obama? That's right, with veteran improvisor Patrick Rowland hosting as a goofier, more laid-back version of the current POTUS, iO Chicago's new show Barack All Night! may be a traditional late-night talk show with monologues, desk pieces, special guests, and stand-ups, but it is far from staid. Seeing the prez dish out surprisingly biting topical jokes that one suspects, or at least hopes, get told behind closed doors in the West Wing is a dream come true. From his suggestion that the recent hugs the First Lady gave to the US Men's Basketball team in London mean that he has twelve new names on his "kill list" to his ideas for new Chick-Fil-A slogans like "Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Loser, loser gay marriage," Rowland's Obama is brazen and eager to show who the leader of the free world really is.

Rowland's supporting cast help the show by bringing a zany energy to the proceedings. As Obama's former personal aid Reggie Love, Nnamdi Ngwe smiles and chuckles his way along in the classic Ed McMahon-style, late-night sidekick role, always goaded by his former boss to be more forceful. Brianna Baker did double duty at this performance. As Michelle Obama, she comported herself as one imagines the first lady would had she become a Stepford wife. Her beautifully awkward explanation of her work to fight childhood obesity, in which she referred to the children as grossly obese, then morbidly obese, then big-boned, then fluffy, finally reclassifying her crusade as a fight to end childhood puffiness, was simply brilliant. Her surprise appearance later in the show as Beyonce, fiercely stomping around on stage to clarify the nature of her relationship with the first lady ("I don't want my president thinking I'm a trifling ho,") was an equally strong turn.

Overall, the show has great character work, some dynamite zingers, and this unsettling, awkward energy that always keeps the audience on the edge of its seat. To get a better sense of the show, check out this clip from a previous run at Chemically Imbalanced Comedy, in which Obama interviews Ben Franklin and John Adams. It sounds crazy, but they play the bit as if nothing could be more normal. In a world where a sitting president is hosting a late-night talk show, who's to say what normal is anyway.

Barack All Night! runs Saturdays at midnight through Sept. 22 in The Del Close Theater at iO Chicago, 3541 N. Clark St. Tickets are $5. Check out the dates of upcoming shows and call the box office at 773-880-0199 to reserve seats.

GB store

LaShawn Williams / August 9, 2012 11:06 AM

Niiiiiceee.... :-)

taylor / August 9, 2012 1:53 PM

I was there! Excellent show all around. Who was the comic at the end? He was great too.

GB store

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

Read this column »


An Angry White Guy
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Devening Projects
DIY Film
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Mess Hall
Neoteric Art
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
The Seen
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

GB store



A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.

About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Nancy Bishop,
A/C staff inbox:



A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15