On Saturday night, our motley crew of Chicago entertainers took the airwaves of WBEZ to bring you the special, “Ward Issues with Alderman Ed Bus.” The show is a call-in show with a fake alderman from a fake Chicago ward. You can call in and discuss the issues of your community and hold this fake alderman accountable for responsible government. To sweeten the deal, we brought in a former real alderman to co-host. His name? Burton Natarus.
The show also had special guests like Rhymefest and 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack. And of course, we did a ton of little sketches & bits, provided by Schadenfreude (my comedy ensemble that created Alderman Ed Bus). But the main conceit was for Chicagoans to call up and play along. They can get a joke or two from the fake alderman and then interact with one of the most colorful (and real) alderman to ever sit on Chicago’s City Council.
We decided to put the show on-the-air to capitalize on the news peg that former Alderman Berny Stone would be “trying out” at WLS for a talk show role. It just made sense to parody that publicity stunt at the exact same time. Too much fun. It worked for both radio stations, since it was picked up in the media late Friday.
The show was long. And very loose. It was what I am calling “organized chaos.” I’m sure some people were upset with us preempting their Saturday night programming for a talk show experiment, but whether you liked it or not, you have to agree that the bizarre concept was truly unique.
I’m attaching the full two hour program and I’ve culled the best bits from the show. If you missed it, there are several ways to catch up. First, you can listen to the full show by clicking the “Listen to this story” button above. It’s the whole 2 hour show, but the credits at the end are cut off (sorry crew!).
And below are some clips:
We take a call about yuppies taking over dive bars:
We had a fake newscast in the show to emulate and copy the format that makes Howard Stern so great: Newscasts can be interrupted to inject host commentary:
20th ward candidate and hip-hop artist Rhymefest joined us. Natarus was in rare form:
Natarus takes a call about horse diapers and dog-doo in the ward. An instant classic:
32nd ward Alderman Scott Waguespack calls in. The back and forth between the former alderman (Natarus) and the current alderman is very interesting.
We prank-call Chicago Reader Reporter Ben Joravsky in a segment we called “You got it all wrong”:
Natarus has had enough. He walks out during the newscast. This is the clip everyone is talking about. It was not a bit. Natarus actually is fed up with the show and truly walks out on-air. No joke. I had a heart-to-heart with him in the hallway which worked. He returned for the remainder of the show:
And my favorite clip of the night: A caller calls in with a funny rant about what is wrong in the 53rd ward. Natarus bites and has a back and forth argument with the caller about downtown. Natarus actually says, “I BUILT THE LOOP!”:
And of course, Alderman Ed Bus has to take a break and the show is hosted by producer (and his campaign manager/intern) Jason Challenger. Jason asks Burt Natarus how to get “juiced in.” Perfect: