Funny Old Broads comically aging
Think there’s nothing amusing about
A longtime stand-up comic, a recent sit-down comic and a pair of witty singing comics hope to change your mind. The women, calling themselves the Funny Old Broads, will share their humorous perspectives on getting older at Gorilla Tango’s Skokie Theatre on Thursdays to Aug. 8.
Skokie native Caryn Bark came up with the concept. Bark is a seasoned veteran who toured with her one-woman show, “Diary of a Skokie Girl,” and has appeared on Lifetime Channel’s “Girls’ Nite Out,” HBO and Comedy Central. She also has performed at comedy clubs across America.
“I wanted to do something with other women — an over-50 thing,” Bark said. The other women she chose were comic Robin Riebman and the duo of Pam Peterson and Jan Slavin, who perform parodies as the Boomer Babes. Beckie Menzie is the musical director.
Bark and Riebman were sorority sisters at the University of Illinois. About a year ago, Riebman took the stand-up plunge — sort of.
“I turned 60 last year and I decided to do something I’ve always wanted to do, which was make people laugh on stage,” Riebman said. Through the years, she focused on being a third-grade teacher and a mother, and noted, “You need a sense of humor for both of those things.”
Riebman, who grew up in Skokie, emphasizes that she is not a stand-up comedian. “I call myself a sit-down comic because I’m too old and too tired to stand up,” she said. “I pretend that I’m sitting around a dinner table with my friends and talking.”
She has performed about a dozen shows since her comedy debut and all were sold out.
At the Skokie show, each of the women will do their own bit and then they will perform together. “Every show will be different because we all have so much material that we can change it around a lot,” Bark said.
“I’m emceeing it,” she added, “which is really going to be fun for me because I used to emcee a lot and I haven’t in a long time.”
Bark noted that her comedy has always been about her life. “When I was raising kids, it was about that,” she said. “Now I’ve started doing material about getting older.”
Aging has changed Bark’s perspective, she said. When she sees that TV commercial about the woman who has fallen and can’t get up, she’s not thinking about emergency call buttons. “I’m looking at the woman in the commercial and thinking, ‘She looks pretty good. I wonder if I could wear my hair like that,’ ” Bark said. “I wonder if I went to school with her older sister.”
Riebman said she is very pleased with the title Bark came up with for the show. “The good thing about that name,” she said, “is that we’ll never grow out of it. We could be performing when we’re 92 and hopefully we’ll still be Funny Old Broads.”
Myrna Petlicki is a local freelance writer.