It is a little depressing to see a twisted soul like Timothy Edward Mason, hilarious and slightly freakish earlier this year at SketchFest, now reduced to just another guy doing the same old tired Second City schtick. Mason’s previous sketch troupe, Brick, has been disbanded for a few years now, but their reunion show at SketchFest in January was brilliant and strange and full of unpredictable moments. Also, it was very, very funny. The same can not be said of “Campaign Supernova,” the thirty-first revue currently occupying Second City’s e.t.c. stage like a warm beer on a humid night (Matt Hovde is the director). Too much feels like a retread of a retread, including a sketch with spliced dialogue that is an almost exact rip-off of something Brick did with far better results. There is a slow jamz ode to R. Kelly’s incessant lyrical rhyming and trial delays, and while I like what it’s aiming for, it never quite comes together and it needs more work. A few sketches point to something verging on originality. The new cast members—four out of the six—make the strongest impressions of the night. Tom Flanigan, with his easy-going vulnerability, mines something fresh from PowerPoint and Peter Frampton. Laura Grey does an old-fashioned mime routine that it is actually quite ingenious—even when her victim, a member of the audience, doesn’t see or understand what’s being mimed, Grey remains in character and plows forward anyway with a sweetness bordering on hostility. Megan Grano does the strongest character work as a ball-busting, no-nonsense-spewing, Suze Orman-type financial adviser: “I just saved you $23 million—and a shitty relationship!” she informed someone in the front row. Veterans Amanda Blake Davis and Andy St. Clair are likable if forgettable, though St. Clair has a nice rapport with the audience as he wanders through the theater. Good thing, because it helps smooth over the numbing been-there, done-that moments. (Nina Metz)
At Second City, e.t.c., Pipers Alley, 1608 N. Wells, (312)642-8189. Open run.