I’ve seen two of the past three collaborations between Chicago’s famed Second City and Woolly Mammoth. America All Better!! (make sure you use two exclamations to differentiate it from an older revue with the same title) has less of an overall theme that unites the show compared to Spoiler Alert: Everybody Dies or A Girl’s Guide To Washington Politics. However this show is the funniest of the Second City shows I’ve seen yet. The material is fresh, quick-hitting, and topical. It is two acts of intense, in-your-face comedy that will leave your face aching from laughter.
Most of the sketches reflect the current state of affairs in America and touches upon hot topics from Gun Control to Gay Marriage. Fair warning, if you find yourself in the front row expect to be called upon by the ensemble of Sayjal Joshi, Scott Morehead, Niccole Thurman, Aaron Bliden, Claudia Michelle Wallace, and Martin Garcia. It could be a simple sketch suggestion or a fully blown out wedding. I won’t tell you whose wedding it is.
Highlights of the night include a sketch that illustrates the how family dynamics have evolved from generation to generation, let’s just say I really miss the 90s after watching what they came up with. An adorable and funny date between a woman and a socially awkward man (with a local reference that was perfectly timed) is both cute and heartwarming. The frenetic pace keeps laughs high while quickly moving on from material that doesn’t do so well. I even found myself a fan of the music stylings of the on-stage DJ, who punches the moments between sketches with an uppercut of tunes.
For this summer’s engagement with Woolly Mammoth, Second City sticks to what it knows best and succeeds. If you are looking for a respite from the summer heat, there’s nothing more cooling than a laugh inside the air-conditioned confines of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre.
America All Better!! performs now through August 18th, 2013 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, located at 641 D Street NW, Washington, DC 20004. Closest Metro stop: Archive/Navy Memorial (Yellow/Green lines). For more information call 202-393-3939.