Many people recognize the name and face of John Belushi, star of “Saturday Night Live,” “Animal House” and “The Blues Brothers,” who passed away in 1982. But equally as funny and talented is John’s brother Jim.
Jim also starred on “Saturday Night Live,” which spurred a successful career in television, earning an Emmy nomination along the way.
Belushi brought his talents to the stage at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Sunday, but he didn’t come alone. With Belushi was The Board of Comedy, an improv group featuring Megan Grano, Joshua Funk and Belushi’s “According to Jim” co-star, Larry Joe Campbell, as well as Trey Stone playing the piano.
The evening began with Belushi singing a Blues Brother song and offering up a few jokes before diving into improv with his crew.
The show consisted, like most improv shows, of several games that the actors were to play with suggestions from the audience.
The first game was a classic. Audience members were asked to create characters for the actors to play, as well as to provide context and conditions for the story. This particular act took place in a dispensary and featured Funk playing a cop, nervous to be in the dispensary with his ex-stripper wife, played by Campbell. The act was a bit cheesy, but Belushi made a joke about the audience making poor suggestions, which, to be honest, was a fair comment.
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The following game consisted of the audience suggesting quotes from songs, movies and bumper stickers for Stone to write on index cards and scatter around the stage. The actors would play out a scene in a jewelry store, working the quotes into their conversation.
The third game — and easily the most entertaining — was an act called “The Three Tenors.” The men in the group took to the stage with Italian accents to sing songs to various people in the audience, often making sexual jokes. While the act was hilarious, the singing was also impressive, making it all the more enjoyable.
The show wrapped up after a mock-political debate in which two actors had to act out words suggested by the audience, attempting to mime them well enough for their partners to guess, while also arguing politics.
Although the show was unusually brief, it offered several good laughs and an opportunity to see a comedy master do his thing on stage — an opportunity that not many get.
Arts & Entertainment Editor Nate Day can be reached at email@example.com or 970-748-2932.