John Oliver Review – Just for Laughs Chicago Keeps Chicago in Good Humor

The TBS presents a very funny festival Just For Laughs Chicago, the nation’s largest comedy festival, now in its fourth year June 12-17, with an astonishing array of comedians, sketch shows, specialty acts and films that has smiles on the faces of Chicagoans. There just a little time left, visit:


My husband is a John Oliver fan.  He loves to watch him on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where he has been the resident Brit since 2006, and in his recurring role on Community, and, in his own series for Comedy CentralJohn Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show.  When the Onion says, “Oliver is a master storyteller, stringing jokes together so tightly that not a syllable falls out of place,” my husband strongly agrees.  So, with the Just for Laughs Festival presenting John Oliver live, how could we resist seeing him?


Arriving at the theatre, there was lots of “hoopla” outside the Vic Theatre when sponsor State Farm, one of the Festival sponsors, used this opportunity to heighten the public’s awareness of its’ product with trivia games and prizes


Vic Theatre, designed by architect John E.O. Pridmore, opened in 1912 as the Victoria Theatre.  This was our first visit to this beautiful theatre.  The show was sold out to approximately 1400 very enthusiastic fans.  After a brief video showing several comedy groups that included “The Big Bang Theory” and Conan O’Brien,

Mike Lawrence opened the show.  Mike is a comedian born and raised in South Florida and this experience was the basis of his humor.  After he had the crowd nearly rolling in the aisles, John Oliver came on stage.


For the next hour plus John Oliver did have the audience rolling in the aisles.  He had a wonderful rapport with the audience and an uplifting, pleasant style.  On stage he is very physical, with movements that were almost balletic and covered much of the stage.  His pacing was perfect and his stories very clever and compelling.  Having just returned from London, we especially appreciated his take on events in England. For example, referring to the Jubilee, he said they were celebrating because the Queen had not died once in 60 years.  He mentioned that Mitt Romney would have been perfect as a Dickensian Victorian, in his dress and behavior.


He then went on to say that he has been in the States for six years and loves it here but he fears that we have some rough times ahead because we will need to learn how to let go of an empire.  He said he could help because he has some experience in this regard.   The audience loved him and showed this with frequent bursts of applause.


Some of the audience members felt comfortable enough to call out comments. As John began telling about his problems returning from the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland an loud cheer arose from the back of the auditorium.  “Are you from Scotland?”, he asked.  After the affirmative response, John said, “Where?” “Glasgow”, “Oh, that is Scotland” and then he cracked everyone up asking what would it be like if he was playing Hamlet and mentioned Denmark and a cheer went up.


But the funniest moment of all took place when he began talking about God and wondering about Morgan Freeman’s voice in this regard.  Someone asked “What about George Burns?”  This seemed to puzzle John but he consulted with another audience member to clarify the story and took charge once again.


This was the best performance of this sort that I have seen.  It was fast paced, intelligent, positive and I do believe John Oliver when he says "we will all be fine".  If there is an opportunity to see John Oliver in the future, go. What a treat it is to have this terrific festival in Chicago.



Photo Credit - WireImage 














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