It’s not the first time I’ve been to The Second City, the greatest school and resource for theatrical comedy out there – the source that delivered SCTV and a slew of amazing Canadian comedic talent to the stage of Saturday Night Live. Th last-minute opportunity to attend their opening night of Live Wrong and Prosper was too great to turn down.
Attending my Round 2 with anticipation of laughing until it hurts, my boyfriend Bob and I descend to the theatre. Upon seeing the production poster for the new show, I was met with familiar faces in the form of the ensemble cast, the same ensemble from Dreams Really do Come True – namely Inessa Frantowski, Alastair Forbes, Nigel Downer, Carly Heffernan, Jason DeRosse and Ashley Comeau. My last time seeing these six, I laughed so hard I cried; therefore this was going to be a great time.
Where their last show was all about the pitfalls of dreaming big, this performance focuses on living towards the high life in all the wrong ways. For those unfamiliar with a Second City show, their comedic direction comes from the art of improvisation. That means that no two performances will ever be alike.
Live Wrong and Prosper begs from the audience an understanding of modern pop culture including Tweeting (and the use of hashtags – #), reality television shows (a la Jersey Shore), women’s drugstore magazines (Cosmopolitan), and men’s business magazines (Forbes), among others. These acknowledgments play a crucial element in the jokes being delivered. Case in point the first scene paid homage to hashtag Twitter trends #firstworldproblems and #sh*tmydadsays. Also, the commentary towards all the countless women’s magazine headlines regarding attracting the right man, body shapes, achieving orgasm and endless perfume samples were a surefire laughing hit.
One of the best elements of improv comedy is audience participation allowing the actors to really let their imaginations fly when dealing with that unforeseen, and therefore unrehearsed, element. During a sketch playing off the show Dancing with the Stars, it was up to the audience to shout out a different activity to do with the stars. The activity called out was macramé, which begs the question, what the heck is macramé?! Apparently, the actors didn’t know either and did their best to mime the activity while doing their impressions of Celine Dion and John Travolta. “Celine Dion” mentioned in her thick exaggerated accent that macramé was a lot like decoupage. For the record, this is what macramé is. Sorry, Celine.
My boyfriend Bob, sitting next to me, was slightly confused during the Twitter references but lost himself to various scenes including the demonic face of love, don’t eat the marshmallow, the magazines and the surprise divorce party. He called the whole evening both “sexually humourous” and “immaturely delightful”.
Irreverent, incredibly funny and a show you won’t soon forget, Live Wrong and Prosper will leave you exhausted and eager for more.
– Live Wrong and Prosper is showing at The Second City (51 Mercer Street).
– Performances are
Tuesday to Thursday at 8 pm ($24)
Friday and Saturday at 8 pm and 10:30 pm ($29)
Sunday at 7 pm ($24)
– Tickets are available at The Second City box office or by calling 416-343-0011.
Photo of Carly Heffernan and Nigel Downer by Dan Abramovici