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Edgy Man – Edgy Show
Rush Limbaugh is one of the most polarizing figures in media today. You either love him or you hate him. After seeing “Rush Limbaugh: The Musical” I’m pretty sure the folks at Second City are in the latter group.
The ground breaking troupe’s new musical is edgy and provocative, just like its subject matter. While there are times when you’ll laugh out loud, there are others when you cringe and wonder if the person next to you will think you’re a complete cad if you find it amusing. For example, there’s a song fairly early on that includes copious uses of the f-word. As someone who generally chooses to express myself without profanity I felt that bit was obnoxious, but I also can understand why they’d include it. By being shocking early on the later bombs don’t explode as loudly.
And there are plenty. There’s one song filled with phrases Limbaugh actually said. It doesn’t even matter that they’re taken out of context; these are so inflammatory it’s hard to imagine a context where any one of them would seem appropriate, intelligent, insightful, amusing, or useful in any way, shape or form. There are also a couple of unfortunate references to Haiti. These, taken in context, make sense, but considering what’s happening there now it felt tactless. Both references elicited a collective moment of discomfort, and it might not be a bad idea to edit them.
In general the performers are great. Mark Sutton does a convincing Limbaugh (sans a hundred pounds or so) and Cayne Collier is hilarious as both Reverend Rightwing and Donald Rumsfeld. But it was Karla Beard as Shasta that really stole the show. Her expressions were spot-on and her voice – oh, her voice is simply amazing. It’s worth going to this (which is only $25, by the way) just to see her.
As you might be able to tell, I am not a fan of Limbaugh, so that definitely colors my reaction to this show. However, the script is egalitarian in its satire so both sides get to be the butt of the joke. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rumsfeld, and Karl Rove are equally given their tip of the comedic lash. This show does more than just skewer caricature-like figures, though. Like all good comedy, it’s also thought provoking and leaves you wondering why you found certain passages amusing.
Rush Limbaugh! The Musical is in The Second City e.t.c theater and will run until March 24. Performances are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8:30pm and Sundays at 2pm (except for this Sunday).