OINK! With Othy Schwering - Third Anniversary Special
By Kristy Mangel in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 30, 2010 8:40PM
OINK!, Chicago’s self-proclaimed Premiere Comedy Variety Show™, hosted and produced by a one Otholomieux Dionysus Schwering (Othy), beseeches you to join their raucous festivities this evening, as the BYOB weekly stand-up/improv/sketch showcase celebrates its three year anniversary. The show will feature stand-up comic Prescott Tolk (Comedy Central's Premium Blend), and sketch comedy from Delicious But Unnecessary (DBU) (Mary Walsh, Alisha Ketry, and Feliciana Radice). In addition, iO's Zach Hanes, and former OINK! co-producer and Playground team member Kannan Arumugam, join Othy for an improv reunion. We had a chance to catch up with Othy recently about his hammy showcase.
Chicagoist: What has producing and hosting this weekly show for three years meant for you?
Othy: For three years now, OINK! has been my life! I was doing music open mics at the infamous Kitty Moon back in the spring of 2007 and was taking improv classes at the Annoyance and catching a lot of MISSfits shows at the Playground Theater, when I asked the owner of Kitty Moon if I could put on an improv show on Thursdays at 8 p.m. I met Chicago expat Robert Buscemi, who frequented the Starbucks that I used to work at, and asked him to come by and help warm the crowd up at the top of the show. He obliged, and ever since we've added comics to the top of the bill. I started going to the Globe open mic that fall to try my hand at stand-up as a means to get better at hosting, moved OINK! to the Playground Theater in October, and the rest is history.
C: Have you met any people or had any opportunities because of the show that you might not have otherwise had?
O: I've met so many great and unique people, and I love that I've gotten a taste of both the stand-up and improv comedy scenes and have been able to provide opportunities and bring them together, all the while totally aggrandizing myself! Ha ha. Hopefully in a fun and sweet way. Of course, running the show has been a great networking tool, and if I weren't so terribly socially awkward I'm sure I could milk it even more! I think I have the eye contact and posture down, now if I could just learn to communicate in a cogent manner I would be in business.
C: How many years of your life have been taken because of the stress of producing a weekly show?
O: Week in and week out running the show can definitely be stressful; I have a head full of grays! But thanks to Sean Paul of Fox Hair, no one's the wiser. Thanks Sean! But I am much more relaxed about stuff than I used to be. I used to get really worked up when things did not go right or people disappointed me, making an ass of myself and doing detriment to the show, I am sure. Now when things do not go right, I am better equipped to roll with the punches. People still disappoint, but now when I make an ass of myself, the audience is entertained (for the most part) and I have been blessed that they keep coming back.
C: What's the craziest thing to have happened during one of your shows?
O: There have been so many crazy moments over the years, from a drunken audience member rushing the stage, claiming his grandfather built the theater and that my jokes were terrible (he was half right), to an act that unbeknownst to me brought a live cat into the theater for a sketch wherein the fur was flying, and half the audience was in tears from laughter, the other from being allergic, to me accidentally covering the first row in fire extinguisher fluid just a few months ago. When the shows are great it’s an amazing experience and we are finally at the point where we know how to make them all pretty damn good.
C: What are your plans for the future of the show?
O: The shows have been better than ever lately; I've recently started to assemble a growing staff to further improve the shows. My intern Kate Hamlett does comedian interviews that are available as podcasts on our Web site. My tech guy Jim Burchill has advanced the production value of our show by leaps and bounds, and we have some marketing interns and a very enthusiastic street team! August 4 we are making a move to Studio BE (Sheffield just south of Belmont). There we will have a larger space and are planning to possibly add a house band and more in-house sketch and comedy as we've started to get a contingent of regulars coming to see OINK! in particular. Of course we will still be providing opportunities for guest improv and sketch groups to ply their wares in front of our great OINK! audiences.
Catch OINK! Tonight, June 30, 10 p.m., Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted St., $6 via