James Fisher, stand-up comedian, producer, and “sexy assistant” on the What The Hipnonics: The Game Show carried four podiums on stage at the Playground Theater. Each podium was made from taped together beer cases and coated with a layer of paint.
When I asked why he didn’t use spray-paint, the inaugural What The Hipnonics champion informed me that you cannot buy spray-paint in Chicago, and cited the question as undeniable proof of me being a straight-up, white guy.
“The way the show idea came about was random. I was listening to Beyonce’s “Drunk In Love” and there is a lyric in that song that goes, ‘I’ve been drinkin watermelon.’ I had no idea what that could have possibly meant until I went into handy Google and looked it up. At that time I thought to myself, ‘How funny would it be to put random people on the spot, give them a ridiculous song lyric, and have them tell me what it means.’” Marysa explained.
Marysa, dressed in a tight, shirt dress and flat brim hat would cue the DJ in the corner to play the lyric and the four performers would crane their heads to listen and explain what lines like, “Shake that laffy taffy,” actually meant.
Other skits included rapper break-up sessions where Marysa would name a rapper that the comedians would have to break-up with on the spot. The Hype Man, where one comedian would explain how to brew a pot of coffee while another jumped around on stage hyping the crowd up, resulting in AJ Lubecker grinding on a front row seat, attempting to explain the difference between red and white wines.
“It takes us three weeks to create [a] hour show. I take the last three days to write how I want the questions to sound when I explain them live and the day of to decide what I want to wear and run around my house like an unprepared woman blaming bread rolls [for] why my dresses don’t fit right.” Marysa said, “There’s a lot that goes into this show that people don’t understand. [Having a] knowledge of hip hop to pick out songs and write questions about them is more difficult than some may think. To be able to keep up to date on hip hop news and move around what would be funny for the show.”
The show was punctuated with a rap battle between Lindsay Gonzalez and Andy Cary, freewheeling from high school Latin clubs to Wisconsin cheese curds (you had to be there), and a live performance featuring Vagabond Maurice, playing two tracks from his LP, The Dragon Who Devoured The Moon.
Tickets for What the Hipnonics: The Game Show cost only $5 at The Playground Theater located at 3209 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL, near the Belmont station. They will be performing once a month at 10 p.m. You can follow them on Twitter @WhatTheHIP and on Facebook. Catch the next performance on November 19th!