National tragedy as opportunistic improv skit and joke fodder? You have to be kidding. It appears that Second City and the Dallas Theater Center think they found the treasure trove of source material in the 1963 Kennedy assassination and approaching Dallas commemoration of that tragic event. This is how they “barbecue” Dallas on stage? I’ll cut to the chase. The folks who run both organizations should be very, very ashamed.
Jokes about “lightening up” the commemoration of JFK’s assassination? “Before and after bobble-heads”? A “roller-coaster named The Magic Bullet”? Nauseating. Guess the joke writer wasn’t here that terrible day to live through the fear and horror of it. It’s a huge sadness for Dallas and its citizens, no joking matter. NEXT: Anybody who thinks it’s FUNNY to crack a joke suggesting that “someone should assassinate another President in another city” to “deflect focus off Dallas” as the US’ president-murdering capital, in a public performance in a major venue, needs to consider this. President Obama receives over thirty death threats daily, a rate 400% higher than the roughly 3,000 a year President George W. Bush received. To crack the above joke nightly at the Wyly Theatre as part of the current entertainment event is not just in extremely bad taste. It might encourage the radical unhinged to consider acting it out. IT’S NOT FUNNY. Disgusting, actually. When Second City “barbecues” New York City, will the troupe make cracks about flying planes into skyscrapers? And in Oklahoma City: what fun to create skits about blowing up the Murrah Bldg. A real thigh-slapper, that. Columbine? Denver?
Where is the Chicago-based director’s head for this production? Where is Dallas Theater Center management as overseers and producers? How does DTC’s Board feel about these tasteless, insulting jokes and the not so subtle threat to “another President”? Have you all lost your minds?
The acting work is A+; it’s a well-schooled troupe. Still, the only Dallas resident in the production, Brierley Acting Company member Liz Mikel, steals the show. The so-called “barbecue” element is lightweight, generic, stereotyped. The show’s best moments have nothing to do with Dallas. Frankly, I don’t give a damn, my dear. It’s all overshadowed by one skit, a grand descent into tasteless opportunism and an irresponsible, thinly veiled suggestion to assassinate a sitting President.
Today is the anniversary of 9-11. Pardon me if I won’t be cracking any airplane jokes.
Dallas Theater Center presents “The Second City Does Dallas” at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theater through September 30, 2012. Look them up on line if you think this cavalier show warrants attending.