The digital age has blessed us with great convenience, but it has also raised new, interesting questions. For instance: What's the proper etiquette for sending another person a picture-text of your own penis? Scale is important, explains Chicago comedian Mike Lebovitz, in a recent Funny or Die video. "Why not showcase your privates next to something puny, like a peanut, a pencil or a miniature model of the Empire State Building?"
Lebovitz is one of three Chicago stand-ups stopping through town this week as part of the Manute Bols of Comedy tour. Another performer, Joe McAdam, who put the tour together, is a Kansas City native and former Lawrence resident. The Pitch recently spoke with McAdam by phone.
The Pitch: You did some comedy in Kansas City before moving to Chicago, right?
McAdam: Yeah, I was doing a comedy-duo thing with this guy, Andrew Perry, for a while. Then we were like, "Let's move to Chicago and get famous!" Because, of course, if you want to get famous, obviously you move to Chicago. [Laughs.] Anyway, yeah, I moved up in 2007 and started doing stand-up, and then he eventually came up, but we only did, like, one show together. And I just kept doing stand-up.
You also did some Second City stuff? You had a talk show?
I did the Second City writing program for sketch and comedy writing, yeah. And then two years ago, we started this thing called The Late Live Show, which was a late-night comedy show at a Second City theater. But then that got canceled. It's kind of on hiatus right now.
We were technically doing the show in a Second City theater, but it wasn't an official Second City show. It's kind of confusing. But it was a talk show, so we'd try to get celebrity guests. Like, we got Danny Pudi from Community on, for instance. And we'd use the Second City name to try to get people to come on. Anyway, they got mad that we were using their name. They were like, "Get the fuck out."
What's the impetus for the Manute Bols tour?
I basically put it together because I quit my job and thought I should probably do something. And Mike [Lebovitz] has a car and had some dates lined up for shows already. The three of us have worked together on a few different things. C.J. Toledano used to be on The Late Live Show, actually, and then he left to go intern for Conan, and then he got hired on at Fallon. But he just moved back to Chicago. The whole thing is kind of an experiment. We're just doing shows at bars, not comedy clubs, hoping to make enough to cover gas and some food maybe.
Who are some other funny Chicago stand-ups whom people might not know about?
My favorite is this guy Junior Stopka. He's toured with Doug Stanhope and is getting to be pretty big locally. He's a really tall ex-boxer with long hair, and he looks like the biggest creep you've ever seen in your life. He's hilarious.
You're bringing in a host for the Lawrence and Kansas City dates?
Yeah, my buddy Ed Parker, who lives in Lawrence and hosts an open-mic comedy thing at the Jackpot. We used to work together in Lawrence. He's the only guy I have ever met through work that I actually liked.
Where'd you work together?
It was for Medicare, doing customer support. That was the worst thing, because it's like regular customer service, only all the calls you get are from dying old people. We literally had red flags that we would wave so our managers could see if we were on the phone with somebody who was going to kill themselves or something. Somebody once got a call where the person was confessing that they'd kidnapped somebody. It was crazy. I don't know why they'd call Medicare about that and not the police. But yeah, it was nuts.