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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.
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Wednesday, February 8

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Video Thu Oct 17 2013

Watch Local: Check Out These Chicago Comedy Pilots

Photo: Exquisite Corpse

Local is a big deal these days. We eat local produce. Drink local brews (and spirits). Support local bands. But what about local television?

Sure, big budget shows like "Chicago Fire" shoot in the city, drawn here by tax incentives and the city's "rawness." But they're more Vienna Beef than Hot Doug's.

I'm talking about the homegrown talent gunning for a medium that has captured the imagination (and attention) of generations. The passion projects that are worth a million "King of Queens."

Six such projects debuted before an enthusiastic crowd this week at the Music Box before heading off to the New York Television Festival. Produced by folks from across Chicago's comedy and media production scenes, these pilots are funny, original, and well-deserving of your time.

And even if you couldn't make it to the Music Box, you can check them out below. I'm no critic so I'll just let the work speak for itself, with a quick description to help you decide if it might be something you're into.

The Startup

Premise: A workplace comedy set in the strange world of a tech company with its young founder, his brother, and an office full of 20-somethings trying to figure out what a "startup" is.
Similar To: "The Office"
Highlight: "All great leaders wear black turtlenecks."

Exquisite Corpse

Premise: This absurdist sketch show was honed on the stage and then adapted for the smaller screen. The eclectic bits are tied together into a seamless whole with some kind of comedy alchemy.
Similar To: "Kids in the Hall" and "Mr. Show"
Highlight: "I'm going to find that eagle that murdered my family -- and kill it."

Hank Frisco

Premise: Captain Hank Frisco searches space for "grey matter" and hot babes. Made with plenty of tinfoil, it's an homage to and a satire of classic space dramas.
Similar To: Early "Star Trek" and Austin Powers
Highlight: "Do the Milkshake"

Family Heirloom

Premise: A brother and sister struggle to make their family antiques business a success after her naiveté drove it into the ground.
Similar To: "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"
Highlight: "Why is this place full of homeless people?" "We don't call them that here -- at Family Heirloom they're called interns."

Date of the Month Club

Premise: Tired of being single, a local woman vows to date a new guy recommended by her friends once a month.
Similar to: The start of a dating montage from a romantic comedy.
Highlight: "I had mono through most of high school." "What, from kissing girls?" "No, I was kind of super into sharing drinks."

The Laces

Premise: A sketch show performed by an all-female cast, filled with bizarre characters.
Similar to: "The State"
Highlight: "I used to be anorexic, but now I'm vegan. It's different."

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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

Read this column »


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