REVIEW: Cook County Social Club @ Chicago Improv Festival

Cook County Delivers To Sold Out Show

Cook County Social ClubCook County is one of my favorite teams to watch. So often you hear teachers remind you that if you’re not having fun, you shouldn’t be improvising. If you don’t get that, watch these guys and you’ll see exactly why. They have the best time on stage and, as an audience member, it’s contagious. They’re hilarious. Their suggestion was “pickup” and the show opened with a lot of whispering, indigestion from curry and then we realized that there was a baby missing. Each scene in this show directly rolls off of something mentioned in the previous scene, so when the line “you’re sucking down cupcakes like heroin” was said, rest assured, it was followed by a number of cupcake consuming and heroin suckling scenes.

Greg Hess was established as the drug supplier, not dealer, but supplier. Mark Raterman and Brendan Jennings played cops who interviewed the parents of the missing baby and then took off in their car to search for said baby. They found a strange man holding the baby on the side of the road and after establishing this was the missing baby, Jennings made the comment that the couple needed their baby back because, “Two gay guys are going to look real bad that they lost their baby right away.” Hilarious and unexpected. One way or another the baby got stuck under the car, a foreigner from “all over Europe” (Hess) entered the scene to help and it was established that whistling with your fingers in a “V” was the best way to call a baby to you.

This scene rolled into the next scene with Jennings trying to “get it on” with Bill Cochran. This intimate moment was interupted by Hess who played the son of Cochran’s former lover in which Jennings muttered in frustration, “Constant reminder that I’m not the first.” (See the pictures below.) As Jennings lays back in bed and turns on the TV, Raterman comes on as a first time voiceover actor.

From there we found out that Jenning’s character knew Raterman from high school and that Raterman had hooked up with Jennings’ “junior” girlfriend. Not junior-year girlfriend, just junior. Quick flashback in time and Raterman starts feeling up Cochran as former junior girlfriend. (Cochran was getting a lot of action in this show.) It was then established Raterman was the captain of field hockey team and then Jennings rolled into the next scene as the coach of a field hockey team.

As this huddle opens up, Hess blantantly says “I don’t understand the rules.” Which led to a series of interrogating questions testing Hess’ sports knowledge throughout the show. Something which, I gather, might not be his expertise. And Raterman continued to up this game by always asking him to name some sports related team or athlete and then name five more. As Hess began to rattle of fake names, Jennings mentioned it was funny that a guy with that nice of a haircut (Hess) knows about sports. (Hess was sporting a fresh new haircut.) When the game got to “name your favorite hockey team-not the Blackhawks, that’s too easy.” Hess started naming teams such as The Islanders and The Mighty Ducks. Then he was asked to name his favorite player on a current roster…and then to name five more. Hess came up with “Andre Ovetcski.” When asked where he’s from Hess responded, “No one knows of him yet, but he’s coming up. He’s from all over Europe.”

Then the show flipped back to the scene with the foreigner helping to lure the baby out from under the car. The guys realized this was actually Andre Ovetcski and started taking pictures with him, then Hess exited the scene by saying he’d see everyone in the Title Cup. Oh Greg, it’s the Stanley Cup. That’s ok.

The show started to wrap up with a scene with three guys talking to a director about a script which seemed to turn out to be “Three Men and A Baby.” Then a field hockey team heard whistling and noticed there must be a baby nearby. That turned in camping with a Scout Master and a bunch of almost 16 year olds. Raterman asked if he could chew some dipping tobacco and the Scout Master (Hess) one-uped him by announcing he had brought heroin. Scout Master/drug supplier (Hess) turned out to be one half of the gay couple that lost their baby. The campers started sucking heroin. Then Raterman asked Hess to name five songs 16 year olds like. The best Hess could muster up was “Call Me Maybe.”

The show ended with Jennings freaking out by suckling too much heroin with the final line, “The heroin is hitting me.” I’ve come to expect nothing less than a smart, funny and physical show from these guys and they delivered 100%. Cook County Social Club is the epitome of great improvisation.

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posted on by Kiley Peters posted in Reviews, Uncategorized

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