Everybody gets started somewhere, and for a lot of comedic actors and producers, that place is and has been Chicago’s improv comedy scene. In this video, we look back at a time when Jill Soloway (creator of Transparent, which just won the 2015 Golden Globe for Best Television Musical or Comedy and writer for Grey’s Anatomy and Six Feet Under), Jane Lynch (now well known as one of the regular actors in the Christopher Guest mockumentaries and for her role on Glee) and Andy Richter (comedian and Conan O’Brien sidekick) were relative unknowns in Annoyance Theatre’s production of The Real Live Brady Bunch.
In 1991, Jill and sister Faith Soloway were watching a rerun of The Brady Bunch with Annoyance Theatre founder Mick Napier when they hit upon an idea: Wouldn’t it be funny to take scripts from episodes of the Brady Bunch and act them out live on stage? The resulting theatrical series was a surprise hit in Chicago, and went on to have successful runs in New York and Los Angeles. Shooting for THE 90’s, Skip Blumberg caught up with the Soloways and the cast and crew in New York while they rehearsed at The Village Gate nightclub in Greenwich Village.
Of the people Skip recorded, Jill Soloway, Jane Lynch and Andy Richter certainly rose to the greatest prominence in the years that followed, but some of the other cast and crew have achieved success as well. Faith Soloway is now a folk-rock musician and comedian. Becky Thyre, who played Marcia, has appeared in shows such as Weeds, Arrested Development, and Parks & Recreation.