Second City Toronto’s Everything Is Great Again is, as it says on the Second City website, directly inspired by Trump, O’Leary, Farage, and all those other assholes who are trying (and, in some cases, have succeeded) to poke their grubby hands into the world of politics and convince people that they aren’t completely bat-shit crazy.
The company’s latest revue, featuring Brandon Hackett, Devon Hyland, Lindsay Mullan, Colin Munch, Paloma Nuñez, and Ann Pornel, makes more than a few references to current political events, as promised. But the ensemble approaches those well-tread political topics in unique and interesting ways, and tries not to dwell on the negative for too long---for every rant about Casey Affleck’s controversial Oscar win, there’s a Kitty Cop musical number waiting right around the corner. To give you a better sense of what you’re getting into, here are a few fun surprises from the show to look out for.

Micro-Sketches That’ll Make You Laugh Out Loud

And we mean actually laugh out loud, not the passive-aggressive, “LOL” kind of laugh out loud. Writing a sketch with a strong setup and an even stronger conclusion is difficult in itself, but it’s even harder to tell a complete and, more importantly, funny story in just 15 or 20 seconds. The Everything Is Great Again cast manages to do just that not once, not twice, but four times with sketches about a Ripley’s Aquarium wedding ceremony, a white noise machine, a car ride that goes awry, and a musical testament to two “cool guys” named Doug and Tony.

A Musical Ode To An International Relationship Gone Amiss

We thought that the strained relationship between Mexico and the United States had been picked apart, analyzed, and parodied from every angle imaginable---until now. Nuñez kills it as a mustachioed Mexican guitarist who wails and strums forlornly as “he” looks back on his once-solid relationship with his former lover, Lady America. Any doubts you’ll have about being #TeamMexico will immediately disappear once the guitarist points out that the U.S. took Mexico’s cuisine and “turned it into f—king Taco Bell”---definitely a deal breaker.


A Silent But Sweet Look At A Decades-Long Friendship

Believe it or not, one of the strongest and most poignant sketches in Everything Is Great Again contains no talking whatsoever. Nuñez and Pornel star in the sketch as two women who have been friends since childhood. Accompanied by a sentimental piano tune, we get to see the two ladies go from making mud pies and stuffing bras to doing shots in a university dorm room and getting married. Though there were no extravagant punchlines or running jokes in the sketch, (unless you count Nuñez and Pornel’s recurring celebratory finger guns) it nevertheless showcases everyone’s amazing acting abilities and reminds us all of the power of friendship.

Audience Participation That Actually Pays Off

Inviting audience members on stage and/or taking audience suggestions can sometimes be iffy. But because the Second City Toronto audience is always pretty on the ball, the crowd participation thing actually works really well. In one sketch, an audience member is invited on stage to fill in as an airplane pilot and must decide what to do when their plane ends up flying above Russian territory. In another, the crowd must give song title and topic suggestions to radio host “Rosalind Mocha” (Pornel) and up-and-coming musician Zane Blazer (Hyland). The best part? Near the end of the show, you actually get to hear Blazer perform the song you helped him write.


Tons Of Ideas For your Next Inspirational Quote Tattoo

“Canadians aren’t polite, we’re passive-aggressive,” “life is a can of mixed nuts,” and “Jack Astor’s is for basic-ass bitches” are just a few iconic one-liners that we’re strongly considering getting etched onto our skin the next time we pass by a tattoo parlour.  But underneath all the sass are a few lines that are actually pretty moving--- even though it comes at the very end of the show, Nuñez’s declaration that “it’s ok to be afraid, but you can’t let our fear control you” elegantly sums up what the ensemble, arguably, has been trying to say for almost two hours. They’re also important words to hear when everything is, unfortunately, not so great.

Everything Is Great Again is now running at The Second City’s Mercer Street theatre in Toronto every Tuesday to Sunday night until June 30. Buy your tickets now