CHICAGO — One half of the duo behind Wicker Park’s “The S--- Show Comedy Showcase” is packing her bags and heading to L.A., but the oddball show plans to go on in Chicago and even find a second home on the West Coast.
The show, hosted at the Shambles bar every last Friday of the month, will give a bittersweet sendoff to Ever Mainard as she hosts with fellow comedian Rasa Gierstikas for the last time (at least for the foreseeable future). The two began working together about three years ago while not at their day jobs, back when the show was an open-mic night.
They expect this Friday's show to be full of old friends, newcomers, plus booze that could flow even more freely than usual, Gierstikas said.
The "S--- Show" was so-named "because more or less, we were noticing everything at the bar was constantly going wrong," Gierstikas said.
"We’d show up, and one night we wouldn’t have a microphone, or we wouldn’t have sound for the microphone or the music wouldn’t work" Gierstikas said. "Or Ever and I would get drunk and put Silly String all over each other. It just got to be rowdier than it should have been."
Plus, the hosts are known to continually imbibe beer and liquor throughout the show.
In May 2012, the two "got burnt out" with the open-mic, Gierstikas said, and decided to reincarnate the show in its current variety format.
It's one that includes a mix of stand-up comedy with character acting, prize giveaways, audience participation and a man who dresses in a hot dog costume (Keith Paesel) and gives out free shots of Fireball Whisky, a sponsor. Gierstikas and Mainard bring on rotating comedians for each performance and keep things unpredictable, fast and loose, they said.
"It's like you’re at a fun house party," Mainard said of the vibe.
In a major milestone, the "S--- Show" made the lineup for June's Just for Laughs comedy festival among big names like Seth Meyers, Russell Brand and Bill Maher.
Gierstikas and Mainard took the show out of its bar home and played to a crowd at Stage 773, where audiences were unsure of what to think of their offbeat routine at first, they said.
Eventually, they got the crowd going, and by the end some "were stomping their feet and losing their s---," as Gierstikas put it.
"That was a very successful experiment," Mainard said.
The festival got the two thinking that the show could work beyond its original setting. When Mainard found an opportunity to go to L.A., she leaped at it, but she promises she'll be bringing the "S--- Show" with her.
Gierstikas plans to helm the Chicago show, and Mainard will have to find a venue in L.A. They haven't yet thought of replacement co-hosts, though they have floated the idea of featuring guests for each show.
"The hard part is going to be to find someone who’s going to fill out her shoes," Gierstikas said.
Rasa Gierstikas and Ever Mainard's last "S--- Show" together (for now) takes place at The Shambles, 2050 W. Division St., at 8 p.m. Friday.