Second City ALGORITHM NATION OR THE STATIC QUO Review – Topical & Punchy

Second City ALGORITHM NATION OR THE STATIC QUO Review - Topical & Punchy, RECOMMENDED by Alexis Bugajski as a Best Play Pick

We should all be scared about Facebook using our personal data. That is, unless you’re going to see Second City’s newest mainstage show ALGORITHM NATION OR THE STATUS QUO. Under the premise of being “sponsored” by Facebook, this show has “mined” all of the audience members’ data so we know we’re programmed to like it. So no need to be scared, just embrace it!

Second City Starts off Topical

Second City has a variety of shows under in its lineup where some try to keep things light and focused on witty jokes and punchlines.

ALGORITHM NATION is not that show.

Before the show even begins, it starts with a hot take on a hot topic. We know there’s been some issues with Facebook’s privacy as of late, so why not make it the cause for this show? Our pre-show announcement lets us know to turn off our cell phones and sit back and enjoy the show because the Facebook algorithm has curated all the content of the show just for us based on what it knows we like!

And the opening does not let up on the political gas pedal. After a barrage of gunfire where the entire cast are casualties, we’re taken to a “woke” dinner party, followed by a rally for white women for Trump.

All of these sketches feel like they are worthy to be the opener for Saturday Night Live as they have, in this writer’s view,  the same flair for satire on today’s political landscape.

Life’s Funny Moments

Sure, ALGORITHM NATION has its share of political jokes, but interspersed between the Mike Pence dance number and the awkward Jewish/Palestinian Uber ride, the cast performs sketches that capture some life moments and put their hilarious spin on them.

(L-R) Tyler Davis, Ryan Asher, Emma Pope, Nate Varrone, Kimberly Michelle Vaughn, Jeffrey Murdoch. Photo by Todd Rosenberg
Tyler Davis. Photo by Timothy M. Schmidt

How awkward is it when a bride gets left at the altar? Well how about we kick that awkwardness up a notch and the DJ just finds out at the reception. But don’t worry, Kimberly Michelle Vaughn masterfully fights through her tears as she gets down to the Cha-Cha Slide.

Those high school friends who clog up your newsfeed with their latest sales pitch? Ryan Asher and Emma Pope are those over-exuberant promoters in real life and we feel we can all relate to their beauty product/weight loss promotions that will surely change your life!

And don’t even get Nate Varrone and Tyler Davis started when it comes to azaleas vs begonias because these garden flowers will come to blows if necessary.

The cast does a superb job carrying their sketches and landing the punchlines as the audience is rolling in their seats during each one. In addition to these sketches, there’s a variety of other improv forms that make their way into this show like some audience interaction, a song or two, and improv games.

Jeffrey Murdoch. Photo by Timothy M. Schmidt
Emma Pope. Photo by Timothy M. Schmidt

ALGORITHM NATION is probably the best fit for those who are more left leaning with their political views, but even if you lean more to the other side, there’s still a lot of content to laugh at. It might not be the best fit for those who prefer to keep politics at the door, but this show is a fun night out for some laughs in this Facebook dominated day and age.


Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read — Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.

Watch this video showing the TOP PICK PLAYS of 2019


Ryan Asher
Tyler Davis
Jeffrey Murdoch
Nate Varrone
Emma Pope
Kimberly Michelle Vaughn


Matt Hovde
Vinnie Pillarella
Craig Taylor
Andrew Alexander
Steve Johnston
D'Arcy Stuart
Jen Hoyt
Alison Riley
Jeremy Smith


Tuesday - Thursday @ 8:00 p.m.
Friday - Saturday @ 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
Sunday @ 7:00 p.m.


Second City Mainstage
1616 N. Wells St.
Chicago, IL



Check for Half-Price Deals from Hot Tix:

Tickets are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online through the Second City website (

Photos: Todd Rosenberg, unless otherwise indicated

Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago

Alexis Bugajski Photo: Liz Lin

About the Author

Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.

Editor's Note:  Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski

Share this:
  • 3

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *