Everybody gets their start somewhere, and for a lot of comedic actors, that place is and has been Chicago’s improv comedy scene. In this video, we look back at a time when 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, playing the roles of Carol and Mike Brady in Annoyance Theatre’s production of The Real Live Brady Bunch.
In 1991, Jill and 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, 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 modest success as well. Jill Soloway went on to write for television, including Grey’s Anatomy and the Emmy-nominated Six Feet Under. Her sister and co-director, Faith, 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.