Watching TV inspires his one-man show
By Randall G. Mielke For Sun-Times Media August 2, 2012 10:48AM
Chicago-based comedian Mike Toomey will perform TV & Me at Fox Valley Repertory in St, Charles on Aug. 4. | File photo
‘TV & Me’
♦ 8 p.m. Aug. 4
♦ Pheasant Run Resort & Spa, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles
♦ Tickets, $32
♦ (630) 584-6342
Updated: August 2, 2012 4:57PM
Little did comedian Mike Toomey know that watching a lot of television when he was a youngster growing up in the late 1960s and early 1970s would eventually result in his one-man stage show “TV & Me.”
“The show is research that I unknowingly did all of my life,” said the 49-year-old Toomey, a Chicago-based comedian who grew up in Carol Stream and now resides in New Lenox. “When my comedy show first started it was more like stand-up jokes about TV. Now ‘TV & Me’ is more of a full presentation and a thread woven through it.”
Fox Valley Repertory will present “TV & Me” on Aug. 4 at Pheasant Run Resort & Spa in St. Charles.
In the stage presentation, Toomey journeys back to the television shows of the ’60s and ’70s. In the show, he relates how his childhood television watching has shaped his adult life. Toomey also shares his unique observations about his favorite programs and their characters. The multimedia presentation features more than 200 slides and sound bytes, plus Toomey’s impersonations of TV celebrities.
“As a kid, my passion was watching TV,” said Toomey of his early research. “I could not wait to get in front of the TV set. They only had five channels back then, so once I became familiar with a show, I’d see different ways to look at things and I memorize the lines.”
Toomey always wanted to be a stand-up comedian, so at 18 years of age he started performing his act.
“At 18 years old I didn’t have life experiences in common with people in the audience, so starting out I did impersonations and the act went well,” Toomey said of his early days in the business. “But as I developed as a comedian, I did more mature material. And I also found that audience members were getting younger and they could not all relate to the old TV shows. So I created this show that is ‘nothing but old stuff.’”
Toomey, who does about 40 celebrity voices in “TV & Me” such as Andy Griffith and Adam West as Batman, considers himself a comedian who does impersonations.
“I do an array of jokes of characters saying things that they might not necessarily say,” he said. “I also do observations about things that made me wonder. The comedy in the show comes from observations and familiarity. I want people to say, ‘I always thought that too.’”
And although the show is scripted, Toomey does not mind straying from the script to get a laugh.
“I never rule out improvisation or ad libs,” he said. “There is an order of what I do with the show, but if I go off script, it is more fun for me. The show is never word for word.”
And when Toomey bonds with audience members, he finds great fulfillment.
“For this show, which is near and dear to me, there is no better feeling in the world than knowing when you really made a connection with the audience,” He said. “I want to see smiles on people’s faces and lots of people nodding in agreement.”