Showing posts with label holiday 2022. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holiday 2022. Show all posts

Sunday, November 27, 2022

REVIEW: What the Elf? At Second City Chicago

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

What the Elf?


by Catherine “Land of Misfit Toys” Hellmann, Guest Critic 

Second City shows can be rather hit-or-miss. Like Forrest Gump’s proverbial box of Advent chocolates, you never know just quite what you’re gonna get…I was sort of hoping that What the Elf? was going to be a hilarious sendup of my beloved movie, Elf. 

It’s not. But--it is very entertaining as an absurd collection of goofy holiday sketches with a very talented cast of six: three women and three men who deliver an exuberant collection of strange, oddball, occasionally touching, and frequently funny scenes. 

The show begins with a funny tribute song about Chicago scenes like The Bean and traditions like “Don’t Eat Ketchup on Your Hot Dog.” My first favorite sketch was a funny song by Javid Iqbal called “The Muslim Song” with lyrics that he “can’t wait to eat with you” at the end of Ramadan. 

Two “identical twin” elves appeared (never mind that they are different genders) to interact with the crowd with gift suggestions for those hard-to-buy-for loved ones on your list. Bill Letz’s over-the-top energy was incredible in every scene he inhabited. When told that one woman’s fiance loves “The Bears, wine, and his iPad,” the twins advise that she needs to get him “some other interests for Christmas.” The fiance was sitting right there, which made it even funnier, especially after a couple drinks. Another guest with a tough-to-buy-for relative was told: ”Get him a fucking flashlight or something.” 

One of our absolute favorite sketches was a game-show-like premise to guess “Which one is NOT an Elf?” One sweet-looking character, played by the very talented Jenelle Cheyne, had a surprise Satan voice, accompanied by her contorted face and hands, that was hysterical. The final summary was: “Don’t trust someone because they say things with conviction and have a platform.” Wise message. ;-) 

Before intermission, there was a wonderfully choreographed dance number from The Nutcracker performed in office chairs. That was a hoot! 

Scrooge and Jacob Marley did a wonderful sketch using audience suggestions that worked beautifully into the dialogue. Very funny results using lines of dialogue from movies and song lyrics, like the Bruce Springsteen line of “Tramps like us, baby we were born to run!” on Scrooge’s gravestone. (You couldn’t predict an awesome moment like that!) And “You shook me all night long!” very inappropriately said to sweet, innocent Tiny Tim. This is what improv was made for! 

Jenelle Cheyne had some marvelous audience interaction as a poor, hungry orphan begging for food from the front row. Someone gave her a lime, which she scoffed as “wet citrus.” She persuaded a woman to give her a coat and another lady her cell phone; those items she planned to sell on Ebay!

One of the highlights of the evening had to be the wives of the Three Wise Men dishing about their husbands. “For three wise men, our husbands can be morons!” That was a very inspired scene with their gossiping how Joseph was a carpenter who “must be good with his hands!” and how Mary “should have had a birth plan” before she gave birth in a manger! What was Mary thinking not getting a hotel reservation?! 

There was a bonus Act III with more of the pure improv and joy that has made Second City famous. It’s worth sticking around. 

Whether you live in town or the ‘burbs, if you're hanging at home for the holidays, or need to entertain out of town guests, What the Elf? is sure to please every adult on your list this holiday season.

Catherine Hellmann has a birthday near Christmas and has always felt rather ripped off. But at least she’s on vacation from school. Santa would put her on the naughty list based on swearing alone…  

What the Elf?

It’s just not the holidays without hot cocoa…and hot takes! Make merry at The Second City with this original sketch, variety, and improv celebration of the season. After all, what better time to look back and laugh at 2022? Let’s toast to the best…and roast all the rest. 

Thursdays – Saturdays at 8pm

Sundays at 7pm 

The Best of Holidays 

We guarantee yule laugh a whole latke as The Second City unwraps the most wonderful time of the year in our nut-cracking-est, jingle-bell-ing-est revue ever! Celebrate over sixty years of sketches, songs, and comedic conviviality as the next generation of comedy superstars perform our greatest holiday hits. 

Mondays at 8pm

Saturdays at 3pm 

Holiday Improv Brunch

From uproarious laughter to limitless libations, The Second City’s Holiday Improv Brunch is the gift that keeps on giving! Bring your band of merrymakers as we scramble together two of everyone’s favorites, comedy and brunch, for a scrumptiously seasonal breakfast with a totally improvised experience from the city’s finest. 

Sundays at noon


Friday, October 21, 2022

The Second City’s Holiday Revue Returns to Paramount Theatre November 25-December 23

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar
The Second City's Holiday Revue. Photo courtesy The Second City.

Paramount Theatre is ready to unwrap its annual end-of-year tradition - bringing The Second City’s famous brand of seasonal hilarity to downtown Aurora for the holidays.

And this year, Paramount’s gag gift is titled The Second City’s Holiday Revue: I Saw Mommy Kissing The Second City.

Have a holly jolly holiday season with Chicago’s famed improv and sketch comedy troupe. I Saw Mommy Kissing The Second City is a new revue starring Second City’s freshest young talent, presented in Paramount’s beautiful, newly-remodeled Copley Theatre, where you’re never more than 70 feet away from this side-splitting, song filled holiday spectacular. Whether you are on the nice list or the naughty list, this show will have you laughing so hard you’ll shoot eggnog out your nose. 

So skip the long lines and shipping delays, and give the gift of laughter to everyone you meet this holiday season. Performances are November 25-December 23: Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $38 and are on sale now. Buy early, as these shows will sell out. 

The Copley Theatre is located at 8 E. Galena Blvd. in the North Island Center, right across the street from Paramount Theatre, in downtown Aurora. For tickets and information, visit, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office, 23 E. Galena Blvd., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. This production is for audiences 18 years and older due to strong adult language and content. Children under 12 are not allowed.

Paramount Theatre’s Covid-19 commitment to and safety and protocol

Paramount Theatre has followed, and will continue to follow, the requirements of the State of Illinois and the Kane County Health Department. Therefore, Paramount is following the guidance of the State of Illinois and recommends, but no longer requires, masks, proof of vaccination or negative COVID test for patrons. Mask wearing is strongly encouraged, but will be optional. For complete details, please read Paramount’s full Covid Policy

About Paramount Theater

Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., is the center for performing arts in Aurora, the second largest city in Illinois. The beautiful, 1,843-seat theater, graced with a strong 1930s Art Deco influence and original Venetian décor, nationally known for its high-quality productions, superb acoustics and historic grandeur, has been downtown Aurora’s anchor attraction since 1931.

After launching its own Broadway Series in 2011, Paramount Theatre grew to be the second largest subscription house in the U.S. Before Covid, more than 41,000 subscribers from all over Chicagoland and the Midwest were enjoying Paramount’s critically acclaimed, 2019-20 Broadway-caliber productions. In addition, Paramount also presents an array of internationally known comedians, musicians, dance troupes and family shows annually.

Paramount Theatre is one of four live performance venues programmed and managed by the Aurora Civic Center Authority (ACCA), along with Aurora’s newly renovated 165-seat Copley Theatre, RiverEdge Park, the city’s 6,000-seat outdoor summer concert venue, and Stolp Island Theatre, an immersive space opening in summer 2023. ACCA also oversees Paramount School of the Arts.

Paramount Theatre continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Tim Rater, President and CEO, Aurora Civic Center Authority; Jim Corti, Artistic Director, Paramount Theatre; a dedicated Board of Trustees and a devoted staff of live theater and music professionals.

For the latest news from Paramount Theatre, please visit or follow @ParamountAurora on FacebookInstagram and Twitter@paramountarts on Tik Tok, and on LinkedIn.

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