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Monday, Aug 12, 2013 - Canvassed | Art & culture

Second City skewers San Diego

La Jolla Playhouse hosts improv troupe's 'The Good, The Bad and the I-5'

By David Coddon

In case you're wondering where San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is these days, look no further than La Jolla Playhouse's Mandell Weiss Forum. The Second City improvisation troupe's San Diego-centered revue, The Good, the Bad and the I-5, is up to here with Filner. And why not? Is there anything else really going on in San Diego? Filnergate must have been low-hanging fruit for Second City's talented players to pick. Never mind skewering the zoo (which they do) or the U-T San Diego (which they do) or the Padres and Chargers (which they do) or Comic-Con nerds (which they do, too). Filner, or at least Mitchell J. Fain playing Filner, both opens and closes the show (with a resignation from office). And there are plenty of Filner one-liners in between. So what if Fain doesn't look like Filner and isn't trying to do so? It works.

Not everything in The Good, the Bad and the I-5 does work, particularly the overlong bits that involve awkward members of the audience plucked at random. Improv is an art, and you can't expect Joe and Josephine Ticket Buyer to be able to handle it, especially on stage in front of a house full of strangers. But there are a hell of a lot of laughs in this two-hour (with intermission) Second City show, and San Diego is an easy target for spoofing. La Jolla, home to the Playhouse, takes one in the chops in the form of a snobby "La Jolla Homeowners Association." Newly trendy Little Italy gets blown away—as do a couple of cast members—by the whoosh of a Lindbergh Field-bound airliner overhead. Santee—well, that's more low-hanging fruit.

Second City's Andel Sudik, in a major highlight, sings to the whales at SeaWorld in whale-speak. Or is it whale-squeak?

Halfway through the show, it was clear that patrons regarded The Good, the Bad and the I-5 not as a piece of theater but as a night in a comedy club. That would explain the dolt sitting way back in the crowd who tried lobbing his own "funny" lines toward the stage during a sketch about San Diego's cops-on-bikes. Handling the unwanted "help" with aplomb, Second City's Kevin Sciretta called back to the guy: "You are cordially invited to shut the fuck up."

Now that's improv.

The Good, the Bad and the I-5 continues through Sept. 1.

 
 
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