The Second City’s America All Better: Relapses from Laughing—Theatre

The Second City has put down stakes at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre and DC is the better for it. “America All Better” takes a look at America yesterday and today and no topic, I mean no topic is off-limits.America All Better 2

There is a certain rhythm to what the Second City troupe does. There are very short pieces followed by a longer piece. Some bits are scripted, some pieces are improvised. You might not get all of the short bits—they fly by so fast. At my performance there was a short piece about eavesdropping and it went by so quickly, most folk didn’t have time to process that the skit was about the Obama girls (Hint: it happens at the very beginning).

My showing had a very funny piece having to do with manatees per an audience suggestion. Some physical comedy was involved and it was hysterical.  Another piece was about gay marriage, and for this skit they used a member of the audience and brought him on stage. He was a very good sport and really added to the skit’s humor. A blind date piece in which one of the participants is so socially awkward that he has scripted every possible response to questions in advance was extremely funny, as was a segment near the end about what girls in the future can anticipate. Other funny short pieces were about the NRA, guns, Facebook and photography—Lincoln and Anthony Weiner…use your imagination. Are there misses? Yes…not every skit is a winner. The bit about Jesus addressing Congress was funny, but ran too long. The angry black woman piece was not especially funny or clever and could have used some editing. But in a performance with so many high notes, these are just a couple of hiccups.

The troupe—Aaron Bliden, Martin Garcia, Sayjal Joshi, Scott Morehead, Niccole Thurman and Claudia Michelle Wallace–is extremely talented. They can all sing, dance, act and of course, improvise. I found Joshi to have an especially terrific voice and personality and Martin Garcia seemed exceptionally versatile. The musical director, Jacob Shuda, also contributed mightily to the evening’s fun.

Although Second City is native to Chicago, the company had enough references to local DC life—not just national politics—to give it a real DC feel.  If you’re looking for an evening full of laughs, there’s no place better to be than at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre and The Second City’s “America All Better.”

Run extended through August 18

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

3 ½ nuggets out of 4

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