Back in the 90's, before I became a broadcaster, award winning journalist and environmentalist, I was performing improv
with some pretty incredible groups. I was an original member of the Annoyance Theater
back when it was on Broadway and Belmont and people were lining up on Tuesday nights to see the Real Live Brady Bunch
I was doing what we call short form, games like what you might see on Who's Line is it Anyway?
with a group called the Comedy Underground in the basement of an Italian restaurant in Lincoln Park. Then there was long form improv- I did that with a group called Jazz Freddy. The work we did at the Live Bait Theater
truly revolutionized the art form.
For me It was a great time. But even more than that, it was a great time for the people who got to perform with me. Those were their glory days. Their salad years.
Spike TV's new show Factory
features four guys that had the privilege of working with me during that time in Chicago- Mitch Rouse
, David Pasquesi
, Jay Leggett
and Michael Coleman
. Except for David, who still lives here in Chicago, they all eventually had to move to Los Angeles.
When that happens you lose touch. And I'll admit that as my star rose, I just didn't have the time to return their phone calls. (Plus, the more famous and respected I become on Public Radio the more I have had to guard my privacy. Except for being on Facebook, My Space and J Date.)
I was a little nervous they might still be mad at me for all the brush-offs over the years, but when they came into Studio 312
it was as if we picked up where we had left off. It turns out no one can make fun of me like people I used to improvise with. It's like they have their own language. By which I mean they called me really bad names we can't air on the radio... Listen in for the clean parts- Tuesday, July 1 on Eight Forty-Eight
UPDATE: View the full pilot episode here