In the prolific comedy scene of Chicago, it’s easy for sketch groups to blend into the crowd. The New 40 Comedy, however, breaks through the noise and serves a breath of fresh air to comedy audiences. Comprised of self-directed members Cassidy Maher, Charley Arksey, Ty Jepson, and Jack Hutsey, the group has individually trained across the top theaters of Chicago and now can be seen showcasing the best of their best written material at The Annoyance Theater.
Last week I had the privilege of watching the opening night of The New 40‘s 4-week run as Maher, Arksey, and Hutsey took the stage. They brought roaring laughter to the Tuesday-night crowd, after an opening set by a local improv troupe. Opening their set, the trio took on familial roles and humorized an awkward encounter while they talked about not talking about “the talk,” a theme that wove its way through the rest of the show. The group works fast, keeping the night rolling with plenty of 1-liners sprinkled through scenes that were a bit longer, but never overstayed their welcome. All of the actors were dynamic, playing a variety of characters in a plethora of situations whether all three, or just one of them took the stage. Maher especially captured my attention, her acting and characters proving to be the most diverse with every level of energy played just as intently. From an over-enthusiastic church abstinence speaker, to the stereotypical party “guitar dude,” this woman can play it all.
Honoring their namesake with a full 40 minutes of original material, the group topped out the hour with the completion of a throughly polished, well-rehearsed show. The New 40 Comedy is tight, smart, and above all, very funny.