- Click Bait & Switch
- Directed by
- Paul Bates
- Leigh Cameron, Kyle Dooley, Becky Johnson, Etan Muskat, Kirsten Rasmussen, Kevin Whalen
- Second City
- Second City Theatre
The Second City troupe unveiled its fall mainstage revue Tuesday night, and you'll never guess what happened next.
But then you would. Jocularity, as we've come to expect from the company: From them, a routinely satisfying comic experience, valuable in a letdown world. The sketch collection is called Click Bait & Switch, a title that references the titillating Web-link swindle – those computer-mouse enticements that so rarely deliver what they so excitedly promise.
Second City, with its current electric cast, delivers an amusing package, one that is less biting than its best, but avoided any bum notes.
The hot take? Perhaps Kirsten Rasmussen. If one had never watched her ecstatic physical comedy previously, Rasmussen's tight-dynamite mannerisms would pop eyes and zap funny bones. Her bathroom-mirror depilation antics were excellent – she really did get plucky with it. And in a dance-savant sketch, she showed the ability to move to any and all music, even a country tune. ("She's from Saskatchewan," another character explained. And she is, too.)
We've come to expect that high level of zany from Rasmussen, though. I liked her just as much or more when she was subtler – as a young boy, for example, showing and telling at school alongside his inexplicably Spanish father. Female comedians do play the best boys; Rasmussen is an example of that, as was the gifted former cast member Stacey McGunnigle in previous revues.
Less successful was an opening skit about shaming – fat shaming, skinny shaming, food-choice shaming – which arrived to a weak conclusion about shame-shaming. A shame, that.
Also, one wonders if "Jurassic fart" was as clever a wisecrack as a character played by Kevin Whalen thought it was.
Much better was the bit about a dark-skinned man (played by the dependable and dark-enough Etan Muskat) who identified as white, and wished to come out as such. It was turnabout satire in a real-life world in which a white majority (hello, Rachel Dolezal) pretends to be a black minority.
Would Muskat's character really wish to listen to Billy Joel sing sailing songs, or eat blander food, or dance badly to What a Fool Believes? His white friends are aghast and confused. No, the wish-to-turn fellow explains. By becoming white, he's doing the whitest thing possible, which is to do whatever the hell he wants to do. So, entitlement. Nicely played, Second City. But then, with this solid company, what did you expect?
Click Bait & Switch runs indefinitely at Second City Theatre, 51 Mercer St. (secondcity.com)