CHICAGO — Temporarily without a stage, the producers of the stand-up comedy show Congrats On Your Success are adapting to a world where everyone is stuck inside their living rooms.
The once monthly show that began at Uncharted Books in Logan Square before moving with the bookstore to Andersonville last year, is hosting their second live-streamed show at 7:20 p.m. Thursday. Featuring local and touring comedians, the “D.I.Y. comedy show” has been featured on the Netflix series “Easy” and four of the original founders now live in New York performing stand-up.
A link to the live-stream show will be shared on the Congrats on Your Success Facebook page.
Just like their in-person show, the live-stream event is “free and B.Y.O.B.,” and will feature stand-up comedians from Chicago and New York, live from their home.
“Everyone’s itching for something to happen that’s new and different than just watching Netflix, and we are too,” said Billie Bullock, a founding member of the show. “…I think it’s important to continue to support live performance in whatever way you can.”
Bullock said the comedians were “apprehensive” about performing stand-up without the immediate feedback and intimacy of an in-person audience, but the success of last month’s show has everyone excited for another.
“I think a lot of performers say they’re looking for connection with people when they get up there on stage, especially stand-up comics,” they said, “…it felt good, I was surprised at how good it felt to be back in front of people.”
Bullock works as a comedian, writes promotional copy for festivals and bartends — all jobs in a state of flux right now. They haven’t always felt funny or in the mood to make others laugh but last month’s show and preparing for a new one provided energy.
“The reason why I was feeling so depressed is that, like, being in front of other people doing my events are usually pretty social,” Bullock said. “….Having an event that’s upcoming and I can promote to people has kind of brightened up my spirits a little bit.”
Despite the uncertain future of live-performance, they said there “ain’t no plan B for me.”
“I’m glad that all of my friends were on the show again, because it’s good to see them safe, because if any of them died, then I don’t have any coattails to ride,” Bullock said.
Sonal Aggarwal, a producer of the show, said comedians feel a “pressure to perform” right now, and hopes the performance helps the audience break out of the monotonous life of self-isolation.
“Anything that sparks joy and human connections is what we need more than anything right now, because we are in a time of chaos and pandemonium and fear,” she said.
The show has a loyal audience, Aggarwal said, that’s already followed them across town and now onto the internet. April’s show brought in over $500 dollars, more than a regular in-person show.
“I think if people do get set up and get cozy and have themselves a little beer or glass of wine, I think we can actually put something really really cool together,” Aggarwal said.
While Uncharted Books is closed in the interest of public safety, the bookstore has “committed to paying our employees their full salaries,” according to its website. Purchases can still be made online.
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