Jonah Saesan and LanDis Frederick are veterans of two different branches of the U.S. armed forces. After being discharged in 2015, they started processing their experiences in the military through sketch comedy, which has culminated in their first two-person show. Lasting 60 minutes, the program covers topics such as the difficulty of forming meaningful friendships within the rigid parameters of Army and Navy environments, the questionable quality of cuisine on the base, and the challenges of reacclimatizing to civilian life.
Not So Lethal Weapons
Through 4/23: Sun 7 PM, Second City Beat Lounge, 230 W. North, 312-337-3992, secondcity.com, $25
Framed by video trailers sending up the Black/white buddy duo referenced in their show’s title, Saesan and Frederick cycle through about a dozen short skits that showcase their general likability but lack of range. There’s not a moment during the running time I felt like I was watching anything but two large men in fatigues and combat boots trying their best to be funny. The idea in sketch comedy, as opposed to stand-up, is that performers play characters other than themselves, rather than just telling their (hopefully) humorous stories. To criticize these guys for seeming good-hearted and sincere feels like punching down, and I have no doubt that making people laugh about their very real and challenging life experiences is cathartic; but in the end, it felt like an hour of stories best told to friends and loved ones rather than strangers.