Comedian, actor, musician and cannabis farmer Jim Belushi and his Board of Comedy return to Macomb County on Saturday with their make-it-up-as-you-go approach to improv comedy.
Younger brother of the late John Belushi, the 65-year-old entertainer has assembled a group of fellow jokesters who take topics suggested by the audience and use them as the basis for comedic scenes.
Earlier this week, we spoke with Belushi. Here are five things to know about the Saturday night performance:
1) Getting started: Belushi said the idea for a Board of Comedy show came to him when he went to see his son Robert in a two-man improvisational show and was invited onstage. They had such a good time together they did at a second show at a college.
“I said to myself: We should do this and go on the road with this. I got some people together, formed a company and we’ve been doing it ever since. Now we’re getting sold-out shows and stand O’s. We do about 50 shows a year,” he said.
2) What to expect: Musical director Trey Stone, a jazz pianist, may start with some music, followed by the harp-playing Belushi, who does about 15 minutes on his own before bringing out the rest of the troupe. Belushi, an alumnus of “Saturday Night Live” and Chicago’s Second City, has an ensemble of comedic actors including Larry Joe Campbell, Joshua Funk and Megan Grano. The other ingredient is the members of the audience and their spontaneous suggestions.
“The audience knows you’re not watching a prepared show,” he said. “You know we are making it up as we go — it’s a theater experience, a communal feeling. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard deeper or louder laughter in my life.”
A few audience members are invited to come onstage to be part of the show. There’s only been a handful of times when the bit fell flat — when someone from the audience just froze.
“And that was good for a laugh,” he recalled.
3) Local angle: Grosse Pointe Park native Megan Grano is part of the ensemble and Belushi expects some of her family to be in attendance at the show. Now a resident of Burbank, Calif., Grano studied journalism at the University of North Carolina and has worked on numerous TV shows and films, including “Bridesmaids,” “Weeds,” “Family Guy”