Family Circus

Reuniting with your family during the Holidays isn’t always a joyous experience: You and your siblings may be all grown up now, but you still bicker and scrap at the dinner table like when you were pimply 12-year-olds. Your mother (bless her soul) gets sloshed on boxed wine, and your father (unable to cope) retreats to the garage muttering obscenities. At this point, even the dog wishes he could run away and join the circus.

Yup, your family is dysfunctional with a capital D. But dysfunctional isn’t always bad. At least you’ve got character. With a little bit of focus -- and some help from improvisational comedians -- you might even be able to laugh at the whole mess. Help is on the way, courtesy of Chicago’s Second City Improv Group. The troupe, which launched the careers of sketch comedy geniuses Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, is adept at turning debauched, audience-suggested scenarios into witty and hilarious satire. So just imagine what they could do with your raw family holidays material! Head down to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale) Friday or Saturday night for Second City’s Dysfunctional Holiday Revue. The half improv, half sketch comedy show will spoof everything from Christmas carols to holiday shopping, and is sure to help you and your family learn to cope together, or at least laugh it off. Tickets start at $25. Call 954-462-0222, or visit
Fri., Dec. 14; Sat., Dec. 15, 2007

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John Linn