If you’ve had coffee, carbohydrates, or a cold Miller Lite with me, you know that the Disposable Income Freak Show is my only outlet. I’ve convinced myself that putting on a show is the only thing that makes me likable and someone you’d want to hang out with. Spending time with creative/funny/inspiring people is the only thing that gets my schtick hard.
The Disposable Income Freak Show’s content is, at its core, all about how I don’t want to be a piece of shit anymore. I illuminate the ugly and dark parts of myself. Showcasing the other characters in my life that are just as flawed, but trying their best. Misery loves company.
In four years of DIFS, I’ve worked with over 50 actors. So I can tell you with the utmost certainty, they’re the only part of the sketch process that makes it all worth it. I love to them. For more on that, let’s throw it to Emo Donny!
Thanks, producer-mode, unlikeable Donny! Here are the cast and crew you can expect to see crush in DIFS @ the SecondCity.com
Delia Diaz: (Co-Producer, Actor) I met Delia back in Austin in 2015 when she took a sketch class that I was teaching at The New Movement. I don’t have any children, but I imagine the only two reasons you create kids is for the tax break and it’s pretty chill to see something grow from a lil’ person to fokken bawessss. In the less than two years that I’ve known her, I’ve seen Delia go from an excitable, green student of humor. To an excitable producer, director, writer, improviser, and actor who has an absolute understanding of the artform. You have kids so they can do better than you (and for dat sweet tax break), and my comedy daughter will do more than I ever could.
Joel Clifford: (Co-Producer, Actor) You ain’t gonna outwork, Joel. He’s a sketch newbie but dude is learning on the job and paying his dues at the same time. Joel is tenacious but knows when to take moments to process things. He’s actually like one of my favorite people. He is sincere, he listens, and he’s insightful, is caring but would mess someone up if they fucked with his people. He’s the perfect SouthSide, Midwestern-Irish Chicago boy. He’s a great friend, ally and someone I look forward to collaborating on stuff with in the future. He will be the first one after the show that you will walk up to and say “holy shit, you were amazing.”
Matthew Manning: (Director, Co-Producer, Actor) You can’t pick Matt’s brain, his brain picks you. Luckily, 3 years ago he caught a show of mine I was doing in New Orleans, we kept in touch and now, we out here. He knows more about comedy than I’ll know about anything. Up until now, I’ve never let any director have full control over the show. I did with Matt and I only regret not meeting him sooner. He is bringing things out of actors that they never knew they had in themselves. Playboi, is funny too, like funnier than your funniest friend or favorite comic. Undeniably funny. He’s also honest (re: an asshole), supportive and one of my most trusted friends. This show is nothing without him.
Julia Helms: (Actor) Julia is as if a Wes Anderson film wasn’t pretentious and was a person. She’s as much dark and dry as she is bright and overflowing with wit. Ya gurl has a one-minute bit in the show, but it’ll be the one you laugh about hours later.
Corey Wilga: (Actor) My Man! I met this affable, young man in muh improv class. He’s beyond supportive, always in the moment, sneaky funny, and is someone you can depend on. Dude is basically Jim Halpert and y’all will fall in love with him just like you did Jim.
Jon Dale: (Actor) Jon did tech for DIFS at Hell Yes Fest a year ago in New Orleans. When he moved to Chicago it was only natural that I invite this unassuming comedy wunderkind to be a part of the show. He was slated for one sketch, but after table reads, dude’s talent made putting him in a sole sketch a travesty. I could pick this youngin’s comedy brain all day, every day.
Frank Spiro: (Co-Host, Actor) If I were to do a, 17 DIFS actors under the age of 17 list, Frank would make the cut! I don’t actually know how old this baby-faced comedy powerhouse is, but I do know this, his name is gonna matter. Why? Because he’s talented and makes people feel like they matter. His vision and instincts are what will set him apart, but it’s his dedication and fearlessness that will bring him into the mainstream fold.
Jeff Phillips: (Actor) Jeff asked me to stand up in his wedding a year ago. That’s a long way from performing together in college, circa 2002, in our Chicago debut as actors in a theatrical production about the world of black fraternities. Back then and even today, Jeff could do it all and is unafraid of anything creatively. He was the first ever artist, that I’d ever met in my life, to consider me a friend. It meant the world to me. I felt like I could be an artist too. 15 years later, we’re still fucking around on stage, trying to make each other laugh.
Javi Fernandez: (Actor) Javi is somewhat of a comedy soul-mate. We think the same things are funny. I probably went like 5 years in comedy before I met someone like that. He’s more talented than he’ll ever give himself credit for. I’m going to continue to put him in everything I do, so he can realize how fucking awesome he is at comedy/acting. Viva La Raza, Guey!
Amanda Sestak: (Actor) Mandy is a college buddy who I once lent my Ashlee Simpson CD “Autobiography” to. I have still have not gotten my compact disc back, but she has given me something more in return; she’s is reading my words (which are undoubtedly inspired by the emotional depth in AshSimp’s lyrics) on stage and doing it better than I could ever imagine. Mandy is so talented, it temporarily paralyzes us in rehearsals and makes everyone want to up their game. In the sage-words of (ash)LEE-(simp)SON, that has nothing to do with what I’m talking about, “I didn’t steal your BOYFRIEND!”
Jamie Sandomire: (Actor, Songwriter, Singer, Dancer) But like for real, what can’t Jamie do? I kept throwing Jamie more responsibility and she just kept coming back with “yes chef.” She took so much stress off the show because whatever needed to be done, she could do it. If I was a gambling man, which I am #ReigningFantasyChampionOfMyFantasyHoopsLeague, I’d draft her first overall. Versatile, a great teammate and comes up big in the clutch. Shooters shoot. She’s da real MVP of DIFS.
Alexandria Moorman: (Actor) I asked co-producer Delia if she knew any dynamic actress. Without hesitation, she said Alexandria. She is an acting assassin. She came into our table read and transformed the dull lit, duller-carpeted room into another world. Her scenes will be showstoppers.
Anthony Sullivan, Jr: (Actor, Dancer)- So like, Anthony is legit. He’s magnetic and has that “it”-factor, as in “IT” clown because he’s gonna kill all y’all with his charm and talent. Just clownin’, Anthony was a late addition, but is an integral part in the show’s most important scene. Spoiler Alert: he’s gonna wow you.
Michael Hermann: (Actor, Script Printer) Mike makes me laugh with his facial expressions alone. His energy is infectious. He’s one of these guys who is “blue” when shooting the poop emoji, but is black & white when it comes to being a human being. Love real talking with him, and watching him grow on stage. Mike is straight up funny.
Jeremy Meador: (Actor) Jer is the person who in a group text that says they’re coming out tonight in some proposed plans and you’re all like, “Fuck it, I can watch Ozark another time, I’m going out.” He’s naturally funny and someone I would pay to hang out with. This is his first foray into sketch comedy, but as long as I’m still living, it won’t be his last, as I’m going to bug him the rest of my life to work with me on every project.
Wilson Murphy: (Actor) I know Wilson, like how most Chicagoans know other rando people, he’s a buddy of my buddy and we play Trivia together. Question: Who obliterated my expectations during table reads the most? Answer: Wilson. It’s impossible to think of this show without Wilson’s presence. Like, I started writing new stuff with him in mind as the lead, that’s how good he is. We’re lucky as shit for him to take a chance on DIFS and y’all will be the ones to cash in on watching dude do his thing.
Eliaz Rodriguez: (Guest Actor, Artwork, Brother) Eli helped shape the show in the beginning and continues to be a guiding force in everything I do. We started a sketch comedy group together 9 years ago and we will finally be sharing the SecondCity.com’s stage together. Thank you, Eli. For always being there. See this marvelous filmmaker on the October 7th show.
Jeff Whitaker: (Guest Actor) I met Jeff in Austin. He was a driving force of a successful sketch show at The New Movement. My initial instinct, because of my insecure and defensive nature, was to make what he did a barometer of my own success. Thankfully, I grew up once I met the dude. He’s so fucking supportive, a dynamo actor, badass writer, and was a great friend, in a time that I didn’t have many in the Lone Star State. He resides in LA now, but you can catch Hollywood Whitaker at the September 30th show.
Douglas Heinz: (Guest Actor) I have to convince Doug E. Fresh to stay here in Chicago. There are a million creative projects that I want to do with him. He’s effortlessly funny. I saw him on stage once, when he was just starting out as an improviser and just thought he was something special. I go back and forth on where Doug is funniest, on or off stage? Last year, in New Orleans while performing DIFS, we stayed up ‘til 7 am drinking cracking each other up, then we woke up at 10 am and kept cracking each other up at rehearsal. So the answer is, Doug is the funniest always. Get at ya boy September 30th.
Shout out to Mom and Dad, still supporting their 34 year old son’s dreams. I will always strive to make you proud. Thank you, Gabe, Ricardo, and Javier Ponce. Thank you, Joe Steppy. Thank you to everyone over the years who listened to me about this hacky show premise and helped me made it what it is today.
The New Movement crew in Austin and NOLA who smash dat fukkin leik buddon on my social media post–especially Chris Levi, Kyle Berthusen, Steph Childress, Alex Kone (who really helped take the show to the next level), Greg Moreano, Arielle LaGuette, Clayton Cook, Patrick Nesse, Amy Jordan, Julia Salas, Chance Garcia, Mike Lazarowitz, Henry Linser, Yamina Khouane, Chris Sebilia, Taylor Richardson, Chris Trew, Brock LaBorde, Tami Nelson and everyone who’s jumped on a DIFS stage with me–without y’all, I would have never went for it.
Finally, to the cedar tree to my koala-self, this show is a love letter to you.
Thank you, Sarah, for your ceaseless support, understanding, patience, kindness, and for being a well of inspiration. Your hard work and dedication to everything you approach in life makes me aspire for more. There is no one, in the history of my life, who’s made me laugh more than you. And in my future, there is no one I want to make laugh, for the rest of your forthcoming history, than you. I’d quit trying to make you laugh, if your laugh didn’t do a number on me like it does.
You make the concept of beauty tangible, and something I’ll never let go from my grasp.
In closing, I’m so grateful and proud of my friends and what the hard work has created. This is “making it” for me. Get them tickets now, because after word gets out how good this crew is, they’ll all be gone. Most Saturday nights are forgettable by dawn, but this one is one you’ll be thinking about months from now when you’re having a coffee, carb or cold Miller.