by Beki Pineda

IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME – Written by the Second City Touring Company; Directed by Jen Ellison. Presented by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Cabaret (Garner Galleria Theatre, 14th and Curtis, Denver) through August 25. Tickets available at 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org.

The Second City is the founding family of the very active comedy/improv scene in Chicago. Formed  in 1959 as a training program for comedians based on theatre games, it has been cranking out comedy revues ever since to great success. Their alumni list reads like a Who’s Who of modern comedy. Anyone who is any one in the field of comedic writing, acting or improv has done a stint at Second City. And now one of their three touring companies has landed in Denver for a month’s engagement at the Denver Center. It’s like our own very funny Saturday Night Live performance every night. The troupe uses a mix of improv exercises to provide commentary on contemporary happenings and people.This particular set focuses on male/female relationships and has as its banner the most used break up line of all. Which usually really means “It’s not ME, It’s YOU.”

The jokes are fast and furious in this quick moving examination of the gaps in understanding between the sexes. Improv at its best is hit and miss, so they wisely intersperse short scripted sketches of varying lengths. Original comic musical numbers, such as “Maybe Your Baby is Gay,” spice up the performance. When you are laughing, it’s hard to take notes about what you are laughing at and I’ve never been good at remembering jokes. But I do remember a long sketch about coffee shop shenanigans, a two-hander over a barbeque pit when a brother discovers that the man his sister is marrying is gay, a pair of eggs questioning the audience about parts of the female human body, a twerking tyrannosaurus,  and a unique description of gluten intolerance. Sorry, my hand was shaking so hard from laughing, I can’t read my own writing. So needless to say, the audience had a really good time on opening night. Oh, I just remembered one of the jokes. Maybe they won’t mind if I spoil just one joke. A man and his girlfriend are excitedly talking about the pending results of a pregnancy test. The guy suggests that they simultaneously shout out what they hope the results will be. One – Two – Three and he shouts out, “Girl” while she shouts out “Negative!!” A little break in communication there. The quick little 30 second black out jokes and longer sketches will have your cheeks sore from laughing by nights end.

The performers are graduates of the Second City Conservatory and, between them, have 45  years experience in performing improv. So is it any wonder that they work so seamlessly together, picking up cues from a look or a laugh or a code word. Second City currently has 38 members in their three touring companies and I think we got the best. Meghan Babbe, Kiley Fitzgerald and Jackie Southee hold up the female end of the comic conversations while Evan Mills, George Owens and Jordan Stafford keep up the male perspective.

An absolutely perfect date night!! Adult entertainment (leave the kids at home) without being raunchy. And did I mention how funny they are?? They are!!

A WOW factor of 9!!