Riddle me this


Riddles Comedy Club, 5055 W. 111th Street, Alsip, Illinois 60803

I often try not to think about comedy clubs. Then, suddenly, Riddles is put in my path. Why is there a comedy club here? I usually drive up and down 111th Street. A very mundane experience. I know all the usual landmarks by heart: Beverly Arts Center, Burrito Station, the fire station, Mount Greenwood Park, the  Oak Lawn Dolphin Club. All the usual landmarks that I begin to not see after seeing them so many times. But then one day, I see the Riddles Comedy Club! And I can’t avert my eyes. I’m staring at it with my mouth gaping.

Just a few years ago, I visited the Riddles club in Orland Park with the hopes of performing at their open mic night on Thursdays. I wrote some jokes. And you better believe that they were very, very funny. So funny that I was afraid that someone would die laughing. I went to Riddles a few times just to check out the ambience. My very first night there, I was told that I wouldn’t have to pay a cover charge if I was an open mic performer. As tempting as this invitation was, I politely declined. Okay, I admit it. I was afraid to go on stage! I had flashbacks to when I actually did go up on stage.

Anyway, when I was finally comfortable with the club, I decided to perform. I wrote some more killer jokes. I thought about rehearsing, but I was afraid to sound too rehearsed. So, I didn’t rehearse. But believe, I was ready! Oh, yes, I was! Or so I had fooled myself into believing When I get to the club and tell them that I want to perform for open mic, they tell me that open mic has been cancelled. How disappointing! Well, not really. What I really meant was, “What a relief!” Especially, since I was invited to stay to watch the show without paying a cover charge. Well, open mic night was cancelled because the starring acts had arrived a day early and want to perform in order to warm up for their weekend performances. I must that I thoroughly enjoyed the show. I was also greatly relieved that I didn’t have to perform.

Whenever I get the urge to perform again, I get really motivated. But then, I lose the urge when I realize that I would have to leave the house about 8:00 pm and return until after midnight. I used to enjoy that, but I didn’t have to get up early to go to work. I would usually wake up at the crack of noon, go running, and then relax before I went to the comedy clubs. I have become such a homebody lately. I really enjoy staying home! Of course, I occasionally leave the house. I not exactly a shut-in.

I plan on going to Riddles very soon. As a spectator. Luckily, they don’t have an open mic night. Yet!

Hizzoner


Beverly Arts Center Playbill

I really love Chicago and I love theater. So if there’s a play about Chicago, I will go see it. And that’s why I went to see Hizzoner, Daley the First at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St, Chicago, IL 60655. Yes, gentle reader, there are theaters on the south side! I was lucky enough to get tickets because they sold fast and all the dates were sold out almost immediately.

Hizzoner was written by Neil Giuntoli who also stars as Richard the First very convincingly. Neil is a talented writer and actor who captures the persona of Daley very accurately. So much so, that some of the audience members began speaking to him at times as if he were the actual Mayor Daley. Of Neil responded as if he were the actual Mayor Daley. And he was quite witty, too.

Growing up, Mayor Richard J. Daley was the only Chicago Mayor that I knew. Da Mare would show up to some of our park district events and we got to see him in person occasionally. So when he died, I was a bit shocked.

As an added bonus to seeing the play on the south side, I met some of my previous acquaintances. For example, I had gone to the birthday party of a Chicago police officer the night before and I met a couple the play who was also at the party. I also met my former 18th Ward Alderman Thomas Murphy who is now a judge. I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered me because I only met him a few times. For Halloween, I would take my sons to Trick or Treat at his ward office, which was right next door to his law office. Once he told me, “Go next door. They have better candy there.” And when we went next door, he was there, too, passing out candy.