“Sullivan & Son” is a formal name for a stand-up comedy show, and since not one of the comedians involved – Steve Byrne, Owen Benjamin, Ahmed Ahmed, and Roy Wood Jr. – had anything resembling “Sullivan” in his name I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was invited to bring a friend to see the show at UP Comedy Club.
I needn’t have worried, it was basic stand-up, with each of the above comics taking a turn on the stage, after MC Gary Cannon introduced them. The tour, which stopped in Chicago from July 26 to 29, is promoting the TBS television show, “Sullivan & Son,” starring the four stand-ups.
It was a stand-up comedy show, which means there were some funny things and some not-so-funny things, just like any decent stand-up show. I genuinely laughed several times, and there were some jokes that I just did not tickle my funny bone.
We were given great seats, the first row of the raised section, so we didn’t have to worry about any of the comedians using us for “crowd work,” which was a good thing. MC Gary Cannon’s act consisted of pointing out various audience members and giving them usually insulting and sometimes dated – “To Catch a Predator” hasn’t been on for years – nicknames based on something about their appearance, and Steve Byrne went so far as to pull audience members on stage. Neither I nor my friend appreciate the insulting kind of humor, and were glad we were a safe distance from the stage.
We both liked Owen Benjamin, whose act included not only standard stand-up, but also some musical numbers played on a keyboard. Which doesn’t sound like it’d be funny, but it was, quite.
Ahmed Ahmed was my friend’s favorite of the evening. Ahmed’s humor is smart, something I appreciated as well. Roy Wood Jr. was a great opener.
If you missed the comedy tour, you can still catch the guys on the TV show which, because it’s a scripted show rather than stand-up, will be different, but I imagine (I’ve not seen it.) bits of the guys’ acts will be integrated into the narrative.
Up Comedy Club is a nice venue with strong drinks and diner-type food you can ingest during its upcoming shows. Coming in August and September are Maribeth Monroe and Eric Griffin from the Comedy Central series “Workaholics,” sketch comedy duo FrankenMatt, Sheryl Underwood, Adam Ferrara, Tommy Davidson, Bobcat Goldthwait, and Charlie Murphy.
In addition, UP Comedy Club has ongoing shows and improv revues such as “Sex, Love & The Second City: A Romantic Dot Comedy,” and “The Second City’s Improv All-Stars.” If you absolutely must bring your children, there’s even something for you, “Improv Extravaganza Explosion!” on Saturdays at noon, before those of us without children are awake.