Second City’s excellent ‘Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting)’ reminds us we can have it all … if we just reassess our expectations

Mary Sohn and Tim Baltz in Second City’s “Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting)”

It’s been a long time (months, really) since I’ve actually teared up in the theatre. Who’d have thought it would happen during a Second City revue?

I’m not talking tears of laughter — I’m talking genuine, misty-eyed tears triggered by tender, true moments of emotion.

The waterworks happened during a seemingly innocuous scene between Tim Baltz and Mary Sohn, set up like so many other Second City sketches: an awkward blind date. The sassy single woman seems a blind dating pro. The man is an oh-so-awkward systems analyst whose deep social phobias force him to rattle off clumsy things from pre-written note cards.

As such things go, they learn they’ve much more in common than thought, and the two forge a unique, healing connection.

Look, I’m not explaining it well here, but trust me: it’s such a sweet little scene, it’ll melt your heart while also making you laugh, but — and here’s the important thing — not at expense of the integrity of the scene.

And this is why I enjoyed Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting): it’s clever, silly and funny, but not overworked. The past few Second City revues I’ve seen have tried way too hard to earn a laugh, with smirky lead-ins by the actors or the “louder/faster” approach of selling a sagging sketch.

And very few of these sketches are clunkers, with many of them dealing with the idea that the pie-in-the-sky American dream can be ours … if we just lower our expectations a bit and, well, settle. Then there’s one random sketch involving two bumbling police officers looking to solve a petty crime which manages to humorously point out both our shockingly poor observational skills and our collective penchant for jumping to (racially driven) conclusions.

These four actors, Aidy Bryant, Brendan Jennings, Jessica Joy, Michael Lehrer, Baltz and Sohn, make a cohesive ensemble. While they each approach jokes in different ways, they manage to keep the tone of the entire evening from going off the rails into “OMG AREN’T WE SO FUNNY!” land. Which I appreciate deeply. At relatively young ages, they’re comfortable in their own comedic skins, which makes this revue one of the best I’ve seen from Second City in some time.

Oh: they can also sing. In four-part harmony. And the tunes (with able accompaniment by Jesse Case) are both clever and bitingly funny. As one lyric goes: “If Jesus doesn’t sing on your album, why are you thanking him for your Grammy?” THANK YOU.

“Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting)” plays through August 31 at Second City e.t.c. Dates are subject to change. More info here >

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