RAVENSWOOD — Four actors plan to be late to every performance they've got scheduled this month.
It's kind of the point.
The hour-long variety show — "Sorry We're Late" — stars Spencer Hamilton, Patrick Bodenhausen, Steve Clark and Johnny O'Mara, and runs every Saturday in August starting tonight at 3701 N. Ravenswood Ave., the home of ad agency Polymyth Productions.
They have a good excuse for being tardy: Each performance, guests will fill in for the show's first few minutes until the actors show up, ready to explain where they were. This week's shtick? The boys, their faces caked in clown makeup, have traveled to a Juggalo gathering.
"We're not there," Hamilton said. "I mean, it starts on time, but we're not there."
"Sorry We're Late" mixes improv with talk show elements, but also features a scripted narrative, audience games and skits that break up the show's plot (it's "like 'The Muppet Show,'" writer James D'Amato said). Each performance is different from the last.
Writer Lizzie Anderson, 23, said the shows feature "sort of whacky people dealing with bizarre situations."
"It became a living cartoon," said D'Amato, 25.
Anderson, D'Amato and the stars also worked with Rachel Newman, 21, and Patrick McDonald, 28, on the show. They all did a bit of the writing, Anderson said, with the actors and comedians pitching their ideas.
"I loved the hell out of it," D'Amato said.
It's "fair to say" the humor is dark, Hamilton said, with the Aug. 10 show centering around friendship and romantic betrayal, with sketches where D'Amato becomes Rahm Emanuel and McDonald gives his take on hyperlocal news.
"Sorry We're Late" started as "a long-running dare" between the stars, who are part of an improv team, Hamilton said, and got serious when writers were brought in.
This week's guests are Pete Huels and Mike Weinberg of Pete's Barber Shop. The performance begins at 9:30 p.m. Admission is free, though donations are accepted.