This monthly musical-comedy game show was devised by Chicago Reader contributor and Outer Minds drummer Brian Costello and former Baby Teeth front man Abraham Levitan. Each episode features three locally famous contestants telling embarrassing stories, being interviewed by Costello, and then standing helplessly by while Levitan turns their stories into warped covers of popular songs—and the audience gets to judge the whole thing.
Costello is intentionally awkward, his straight-faced sarcasm shutting down anxious contestants hoping to yuk it up (which makes the whole thing even funnier), and the supremely talented Levitan uses the interview time to write his lyrics, which he sets to a piano rendition of a tune he’s just been assigned by a spin of the great Wheel of Fortune-like “shame wheel.” As if that weren’t enough, Costello and Levitan also provide their own off-kilter commercials during the breaks between stories.
I’ve been hooked on the hour-long show since I first caught it late last year. The four-member cast also includes a bumbling intern (Jeanine O’Toole of Bare Mutants) and a stoic life coach (comedian and former Loose Dudes front man Nick Rouley), and they operate like a well-oiled circus sideshow, making quick work of diary-toting contestants who’ve been, say, devastated by a high school crush, who felt pretty OK stealing and wearing girls’ panties, or who made out with Ke$ha. —Kevin Warwick, Chicago Reader