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January 7, 2011

A couple more thoughts about 'Second City Does Baltimore,' and more SCTV

By now, surely you have your tickets to "The Second City Does Baltimore" (all right, I'll stop calling you Shirley), because you're obviously cool (evidence: you read this blog) and all the cool people are going to want to see this show. You can find  my review of this Center State presentation elsewhere on the site.

Note that most Wednesdays during the run will feature a bonus -- a walk-on by a local celeb. The first was Ed Norris, which, to tell the truth, made me ever so uncomfortable.

I'm all for rehabilitation, but you'd never have guessed during his jaunty time onstage -- being interviewed by cast members -- that he had ever done a different kind of time for tax-cheating and misusing a police fund to help pay for his extra-marital affairs. I mean, we're talking New Jersey-level corruption here, and he's now a great Baltimore celeb because he's got a sports radio show? Hon (imagine Trademark symbol here), I guess this city really is quirky.

Anyway, other guests for the "Walk-On Wednesdays" include Poe the Raven Jan. 19, Marin Alsop Jan. 26, Cindy Wolf Feb. 2, Dan Deacon Feb. 9 and Patrice Harris Feb. 16. I hope those segments will go more smoothly than the Norris one; it just didn't turn out very funny. And I still think it's a mistake to place the walk-on celeb thing after the regular show. That's just asking for an anti-climax.

Anyway, the production does have a lot of offer in the way of laughs. It would be hard not to like the Second City troupers and the way they "do" Baltimore.

As I mentioned the other day, anytime I hear the words Second City, I start thinking about SCTV, a fabulous invention from the Canadian branch of the Chicago-born comic franchise. I couldn't resist posting another little gem from that little network -- a TV commercial for the ages:

Posted by Tim Smith at 9:58 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Center Stage, Drama Queens


My favorite SCTV commercial was for "Yellow Belly," the Western that featured the ubiquitous Johnny LaRue (John Candy) in the title role. Other shout-outs for "What's My Shoe Size" ( ) and Dave Thomas' character Harvey K-Tel ( ). The latter spoofed the shrill & sensationalistic K-Tel Records commercials that were way too common on UHF television throughout the 1970s; the name is obviously a takeoff on actor Harvey Keitel.

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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