All Comedy Is Local

by August Schulenburg

in American Theatre magazine

Post image for All Comedy Is Local

(Dana Quercioli, Ric Walker, Katie Caussin, Micah Sherman, Kiley Fitzgerald and Tim Sniffen in the Second City’s “One If By Land, Late If By T”. Photo by Michael Brosilow)
Eliza Bent’s October 2010 Strategies article looked at the ingenious local approach to Chicago’s 50-year-old Second City national touring. The company creates shows based on local interviews, then spends six-to-eight weeks performing the city-specific show. As Bent noted:

Even within the U.S., there are variations in sensibilities and taste about what’s funny, given what region you happen to find yourself in.

In other words, comedy, like politics, is local. And those two words amicably collided when Second City partnered with DC’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre for A Girl’s Guide to Washington Politics. Not only did Woolly break their record for advance single ticket sales, but twelve of our seventeen female Senators were in attendance.

With theatres taking inspiration from the local food movement, the rising momentum of localocracy, the success of locally focused press, and even the worldwideweb putting its feet down in one place;  it’s good to see comedy that knows that when the chicken crosses the road, it’s funnier if you name the road it’s crossing.

And now your challenge, local comedy lovers: in the comments field, leave behind a local joke that loses something when it travels.