Laugh, Smile, and be Merry Damn It!
The best part of the festival is that size doesn’t matter. From enormous auditoriums to petite stages, comedians brought their strong sense of story telling and routines to break audiences’ everyday mundane schedules. The festival has done a great job of reminding audiences to smile and to bring happiness into the lives of people they interact with. Just For Laughs has been an extremely fun event to cover as positive vibes were alive within each venue.
SETH MEYERS AT THE VIC THEATRE
The Vic Theatre created the setting for the funny Saturday Night Live cast member/head writer Seth Meyers to set free his hilarious stories and observational humor. Seth brought a strong sense of charisma to the stage as he recently was the keynote speaker at the White Houses’ correspondent dinner.
Meyers shared hilarious stories from how he messed up shaking hands with the president to his modern day interpretations of classic stories such as Moby Dick.
Unique to the festival and his performance, Seth read news headlines that were originally intended to air on SNL yet were cut and censored due to being too vulgar. Multiple jokes about similar topics caused the audience to erupt with laughter as he flawlessly delivered the jokes in reporter like fashion.
Jumping in a cab and cruising downtown to the stunning Chicago Theatre, it was time to catch yet another exceptional show.
LOUIS C.K. & THREE VERY SPECIAL GUESTS
Performing for a sold out crowd of 3,600, Louis C.K. amused thousands in attendance as his routines were relatable to many. He was likeable on stage as he joked about growing old, eating, family, sex, race, and so on. Recently releasing his new stand-up special Hilarious and with his FX sitcom Louie heading into its second season, C.K. had fans pointing up at stage saying “That’s me up there!”
Said to be one of the best stand-up comedians in the country he grabbed the audience and took them on a thrilling ride they will not forget.
Yet what can get better than Louis C.K.?
How about adding Jake Johannsen, Richard Lewis, and Steven Wright… aka the Three Special Guests!
Each comic said to be major influences of C.K.’s style, all three comedians brought their unique sense of humor to the stage. Following Louis’ opening act was the observational humorist Jake Johannsen.
Maybe not known by everyone in the audience, Jake spent the last twenty years touring the nation as he is a prime example of the late 80’s stone faced type of comedian.
The unyielding self-hatred of Richard Lewis caused the crowd to cry with laughter as he violently paced back and forth across the stage. Unlike other performances his routine caused audiences to laugh at different moments of his set as they had to catch up to his quick delivery. Personal tangents and self-insulting thoughts ran wild as audience members related to specific pieces of his routine.
Last but not least was the classic Steven Wright. Completely opposite from Lewis, Wright delivered his bizarre humor in a low key monotone way. Nonstop one-liners riffled from Wright as sporadic laughs continually spread throughout the crowd, much similar to Lewis’ response. This all-star lineup was a true surprise as many in the audience found a personal connection to all the comedians.
Back in a cab and back to the north side as it was time for a change of pace.
THE CHRIS GETHARD SHOW
Star of the Comedy Central series Big Lake and frequent UCB performer, Chris Gethard brought his college type humor to the esteemed iO Theatre. The show was unlike any of the festival as two improvisation teams, one from New York and one from Chicago, took audience suggestions and battled for their approval. The penalty for loosing was to be blind folded and shocked with an adult sex toy.
Sparks flew from this intense instrument as it touched faces and hands, clearly causing pain to its victims. The audience was just as twisted as they cheered for more as it was hard not to laugh at this extreme form of comedy.
STEVE MARTIN AND MARTIN SHORT IN A VERY STUPID CONVERSATION
Together this tag team duo appeared onscreen in the Three Amigos and Father of the Bride as they brought a unique type of performance to the sold out Chicago Theatre.
Two red flush recliners sat center stage as clips from the past played on dual projectors. Audiences laughed and reminisced about these classic moments as Steve Martin and Martin Short strolled out, both wearing lavish suits and ties.
Stack of prepared questions stood in a pile as each Martin interviewed one another. Adlibs and intelligence filled the moments as both comedic geniuses’ challenged each others stature. Reminiscing about triumphant times of their lives, Steve recalled stories of meeting Elvis Presley while the King concealed three loaded handguns and Short reflected on struggles of avoiding the Jimmy Carson Show.
Music also filled the evening as Short performed a song about killing Osama Bin Laden while Steve took a nap on a pull out bed. When it was time for Steve to play his banjo, Short ran off the stage shouting lyrics from his song. Currently on a bluegrass tour, Steve elegantly performed songs as he shared his love for music.
Returning in full force, Short arrived back on stage yet in the form of Jiminy Glick. In true Glick fashion he asked off the wall interview questions to the laughing Steve Martin. Steve could not hold in the hilarity as Glick asked “Do automatic toilets know when you are done or do they just get lucky at guessing?” and “Steve, why don’t you eat some donuts with me?”
After another projected slide show of past moments in both of the comedian’s careers, the stars arrived back on stage to take impromptu questions from the audience. Standing ovations at the beginning and the end of the show revealed deep love and respect for these two time honored comedians.