Let’s be honest: 2020 was not very funny … and 2021 is off to a bad start. So how do we turn our universal frowns upside down and say, “Yes and” to 2021? Enter the Logan Square Improv theater (2825 W. Diversey Ave.), which recently launched an online comedy series to help keep us all laughing at home while live entertainment remains shut down.
This new show is really a time stamp of the current time.”– Andrew Lemna, co-founder of Logan Square Improv
Andrew Lemna and Alex Prichodko opened Logan Square Improv theater (LSI) in 2018 as a nonprofit organization with the mission of making quality entertainment accessible to all and creating smaller spaces for improv in a neighborhood that has less exposure to the Chicago comedy scene. (Back when live shows were still running, all performances were free or suggested $5 and BYOB.) Unfortunately, like with all live events, the pandemic hit Chicago’s favorite pastime hard, with theaters closing their doors across the city and live shows and classes coming to a screeching halt.
Watch Improv From Your Living Room!
Luckily with founders who are improvisers by trade, and with the support of LSI Patreons who donate to the theater every month, LSI has been able to stay afloat and continue to inspire laughter in the new normal. For example, over the last few months, the LSI theater brought a small camera crew, following recommended Centers for Disease Control guidelines, to capture multiple stand-ups, improv acts, and music performances without a live crowd. Performances came from some of the acts who used to be LSI regulars when the theater was open.
You can catch the performances on “The LSI Show,” which currently has one season of six episodes, at the LSI website or on YouTube. The first episode posted to YouTube in mid-December 2020. Performances on the premeire episode included stand-up comedian Nick Davis explaining that his accent doesn’t mean he hates science, improvisers Nia D’Emilio and Trent Dozier crafting a crime-confession scene out of the suggestion “exams,” and singer Ray Glass on acoustic guitar. Upbeat graphics and handclap-laden musical interludes fill the transitions between segments.
“We’ve had a lot of fun filming and use what we’ve learned from this type of filming,” Lemna said. “And when we reopen, we want to incorporate more of the live shows as well.”
“We are going to let the theater evolve”Andrew Lemna, co-founder of Logan Square Improv
As for the rest of 2021, Lemna said the goal was to keep filming and producing this show in different formats. “We are just letting people know we are doing fun stuff and want to continue to do fun stuff and let people know we are here. We hope to continue to film live shows once we reopen as well.”
Support Local Comedy!
Lastly, if you want to support LSI, watch “The LSI Show” on the group’s website or YouTube channel. You can also donate to the LSI Patreon program for $5 a month, which is an absolute steal for Chicago-based comedy, and frankly, we could all use a laugh these days. So, let’s all sit back and enjoy some improv and keep evolving in 2021!
Featured photo: Logan Square Improv