Barack to the Future – Second City

Review by Megan Mooney


Eventually this will be posted on blogTO as well, but probably not until after Summerworks.  So, I’m going to get it up here. 

At the end I’m going to add some musings that didn’t fit in the blogTO article,because it didn’t fit in the format.

I figure, this is my site, I can write in whatever format I want.  *grin* 

So, I’ll put the original piece up front, then the random musings at the bottom .

Original article:


Second City’s Barack to the Future delivers exactly what you expect from a Second City revue – lots of laughs, and not too much deep thinking.  Which, frankly, is sometimes exactly what the doctor ordered.

Also as expected, some stuff fell a bit flat, but the joy of this kind of thing is that even if I don’t like a bit there’s bound to be others there who do like it, and for the stuff that made me snort with laughter (I really wish that was a turn of phrase, but I actually caught myself snorting in a couple places, definitely the professional image I want to portray) made other people roll their eyes and not really react.

My show-partner on this one was Brian.  When I asked him about his overall impressions of the show he said that he thought it was ‘alright’.  He clarified by explaining that there were moments of a lot of laughing, but that mostly it was just chuckling.  He said he felt the second act was stronger, but that none of the pieces were specifically memorable, they all blended when thinking back to the show. 

Sometimes Brian’s a tough guy to please…  I do agree though, there aren’t many sketches that burned into my mind, the only one that I kept thinking about (and have been thinking about for days after) is the Barack sketch.  There were other pieces that I found very funny, but if I hadn’t written down little cues to remind me of them, there would be no way I would be able to remember them.

Since the revue is sketch comedy there isn’t a through-line, so this one isn’t so much about engaging in a character or getting the story or divining the intentions.  It’s kind of about sitting back and enjoying a few laughs.  Plus, since it’s sketch comedy, if you have a short attention span, this show is a perfect way to combine the live theatre experience with your channel flipping ways.

For me, laughing or chuckling, the energy at a Second City show is contagious.  The energy from the actors filters to the audience, and the audience members ramp up, feeding on the energy of each other.  That, combined with the fact that you can have yourself some tasty drinks and snacks while you’re watching, makes the vibe in the room a jovial one, which makes it a damn fine way to spend an evening for me. 

Barack to the Future is playing at The Second City (51 Mercer St) for an undetermined amount of time (but it will be around for a while)
– Showtimes: Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm, with an additional show at 10:30pm on Saturday, and Sunday at 7:00pm
– Ticket prices range from $23 to $28
– For more details visit the Second City website, or call the box office at 416-343-0011


Photo of Marty Adams, Leslie Seiler, Reid Janisse, Darryl Hinds, Karen Parker, Kerry Griffin by Bob Knuth


Random musings not originally included:

So, I mentioned that the only piece that stuck with me without having a written reminder was the Barack sketch.  Well, it’s not that it was so brilliantly funny that I couldn’t forget it (although, it was pretty bloody funny, and Darryl Hinds is wonderful as Barack), it was because I’ve become so bloody sensitised that I started wondering if it was racist, or just satire of people focused on race.  I say ‘so bloody sensitised’, but the truth is, I kind of like that I’m this sensitised, because it was kind of fun mulling over the question and going back and forth. 

So, to give you some context, Barack is sworn in and is bringing ‘soul’ to the White House, including ditching the Star Spangled Banner in favour of Sexual Healing.  So, there’s that feeling of ‘black folks are cool, and not serious’.  So, then I started thinking ‘hey, is that racist?’, then I started thinking that obviously this group weren’t thinking that this is what would happen if Barack was sworn in.  So, now I think they’re making fun of racists.  Or, making fun of racial sterotypes.  Or, making fun of the focus that’s been given to race in this, er, race.  Let me clarify, at no point was I offended, I’m not *that* hyper-sensitive, I was just questioning.  And, my final decision (for what it’s worth), not racist.  Now, I’m sure that this introspective moment is not at all the intended reaction of the sketch, and certainly no one goes to Second City expecting political correctness, but I have to say, all the churning it over in my head kind of made me enjoy the evening more.  Because, you know, I’m a huge fucking geek…  (hmmm, I wonder if I should stop swearing in these things as the blog gets a bit more ‘mainstream’…)

Oh, also (non-sequitur time), I have to say, I really loved the line “I’m not creepy, I’m just tying my shoe.”  Not sure why, but, yeah, I did.