Fuzzy and Erica

| No Comments


Tonight, the perfect and wonderful Fuzzy took me out on a Mystery Date. He asked me to hold the date over a month ago, and I had no idea what he had in store for us. It was so exciting! So often we have to work at night, or have rehearsals, or have shows, so we rarely get to just GO OUT and enjoy an evening and a nice dinner in a fun restaurant. So I picked him up from work, and I guessed a million places I thought we might be going to. I was wrong on all of them, which was even more exciting.

We had 3 stops in our evening, the first of which was to a "doodle date" with Jana Kinsman of Doodle Booth.  She was lovely and we had a nice conversation and now Fuzzy and I have this freaking adorable new piece of art for our home! It is the sweetest thing ever--I love that Fuzzy thought of this. Plus, look how cute and sincere his little eyes are in the drawing. Also, those are my trusty black tagua nut earrings, and I haven't worn them in a while. I pulled them out again today and thought "well, sorry, other earrings, but I'll be wearing these again for a while." So now they are captured in a portrait.

Thanks, Jana, for the amazing art, and thank you Fuzzy, for the wonderful gift!

This week's shows!

| No Comments

There are lots of events happening this week!

Tuesday night, Oct 21, at 7:30pm
Potluck! A Smorgasbord of Ideas!
I have 6 minutes to talk about anything I want. This has been very difficult for me to decide, since I always want to talk about everything.

Friday night, Oct 24 at 10pm
Don't Spit the Water 10 Year Anniversary Show
Whaaaat? 10 years? That is crazy. I'll be donning the ole Cutie Bumblesnatch vest and rocking some Good Vibrations in this reunion/ Farewell to Paul Luikart show.

Saturday night, Oct 25th 7pm
Gapers Block Presents 20x2
Fuzzy and I will both be appearing in this evening of exploring and answering the question "How do you do?"

Hope to see you there!

Last Days

| No Comments

Tomorrow is the last day of our fundraiser for our amazing TV show Steve Gadlin's Star Makers. If you have an extra dollar or 1000 to send towards our campaign, it would be very appreciated.

Today is also the closing day of a beloved Chicago institution, Hot Dougs. If you aren't from here, just google Hot Dougs and you will find many media articles and heartfelt tributes from all who love the food and Doug Sohn, who is just about the nicest guy you will ever meet. It is a little sentimental today, reading about the goings on of the final day, and so I will just post this photo taken the week that Fuzzy and I got married in July of 2006.

At Hot Doug's

Thank you, Doug, for everything you brought (and will continue to bring) to the great city of Chicago.

Daily Inspiration

| No Comments

Los Angeles Feline Film Festival

| No Comments

A few months ago, my buddy Steve, aka the Cat Drawing Guy, asked if I wanted to accompany him to the LA Feline Film Festival in September. Steve was to be one of the VIPs of the festival, along with internet sensation Lil Bub. This was essentially the same thing as someone asking if I wanted a million dollars. Needless to say, I was in.


I flew out late Saturday night. I officiated a wedding earlier in the day, and had to deal with plane delays, but made it to California at about 3am Chicago time, so I was beat. We got up early the next morning for breakfast and to head to the festival to set up. Along the way, we saw another celebrity cat:


(Felix, looking like he's doing Sasha's "be cool" walk if "we have a fire" in Don't Spit the Water.)

We got everything set up and ready to go for a day of commerce. I would sell the drawings, t-shirts, etc, and pet all the cats, while Steve would draw the cats on the spot. We had a good system.



Once we were set up, I looked across the way, and saw a very familiar face. "There's Lil Bub" I said, and Steve was like "Oh, let's go meet them." So we did.


Her owner/Bub's Dude/ Mike Bridavsky was super nice and real and let me pet Bub and take some pictures of her. I surprisingly didn't cry.



She was so soft and sweet.


She told some secrets to Steve.


We also met other celebrity cats.


Aragon, who plays Lord Tubbington on Glee.


Tara the Hero Cat.


Dusty the Klepto Cat.

Cats were welcome at the festival, so many people brought their kitties with them in bags or on leashes. Like these:





(Yes, this cat is wearing deely-bopper sunglasses and sitting like that)



The festival was also an adoption event, so many shelters were there hopefully pairing numerous kitties with their new homes.


(This was taken before all the people arrived. The adoption kitties were very popular.)

There were also tents of other merchants selling their cat wares. I saw so many things that Parker would have loved (costumes, toys, treats), but not so much for our tiny old little Latte. I got her some treats.


We were slammed all day. The place to sell cat drawings is, by far, a cat festival. And I don't think it was an exaggeration to say that I was in my own personal Heaven. We met so many amazing people, and so many amazing cats. I felt very at home at a cat festival.

Then, early the next morning, we were on a flight back to Chicago. My second time in California was way too short. But it was nice to get home to my own little kitty and to my amazingly sweet husband.

I'm grateful to Steve for the invitation, and to the festival for hosting.  It was a long day, but an awesome one, and one I will never ever forget.


Check out this LA Times feature and video, with a cameo by one of Steve's drawings!

Promo for a 5K

| No Comments

Today I had the weirdest sensation--I opened one of several promo emails for 5ks that I get, only to find this image:

Harvest Hop.png

WHAA?? I know those guys!!  I was confused--target marketing? Or DID EVERYONE GET THIS IMAGE?!?!?!

I always try to look energetic in photos with the hopes that one day I will get used in marketing AND IT FINALLY WORKED!!! And I love the Nature Museum, so all the better.

I think Fuzzy put it way better on his blog, though.

Let's Put Weird Stuff on TV

| No Comments

Because we at Blewt! can't sit still for over 5 minutes, today we've launched an epic fundraising campaign for a 26 episode second season of Steve Gadlin's Star Makers. We are going big this go round, filming in a state-of-the-art studio and potentially pitching to television buyers from all over the world. It's no secret that this show is amazing, and it is a project I am incredibly proud of. We are using this kickstarter to not only get support from our friends and family, but also secure larger advertising sponsors.

Take a look at our video, won't you?

There are lots of things in the world that need your support. And yes, this is just a silly comedy show. But the world needs to laugh, and we all need a reason to smile. So please take a look at the page and consider donating.

Thank you!

Comedy. Life.


In April of 1999, I decided to move to Chicago to pursue comedy. My move date was going to be May 2000. I spent that year hustling--I visited several times, lined up 2 jobs, registered for classes, found an apartment, made friends. Somewhere in there, my friend Jason Chin recommended me for a documentary that was being produced about 4 improvisors in various portions of their careers. Jason was one of them, as well as the lovely Rachael Mason and some guy named Jason Sudekis. And I was person #4--the newcomer. Since I didn't live in Chicago at the time, I conducted my casting interview over the phone. One of the producers, a guy named Steve, called me, and we had a hilarious chat about comedy, art, life and our shared love of the movie Waiting for Guffman.

Sadly, the project fell through a few months after my arrival, but I stayed in touch with Steve. He invited me to sit in with an improv group he was putting together. I did. That group (The RIngmasters) performed for just a little while, and then turned into a different group at the Playground Theater (Pastor of Muppets, which I didn't join at the beginning, but would later on).  Steve was a brilliant thinker and would often put together a night of spectacle. One night, he put together a mystery improv team, Shuddupyaface--we were each given codename (of African American actors--I was Agent Jackson) and we were to show up to the theatre but not mention to anyone that we were performing. He called us one by one to the stage where we performed together for the first and last time. The only kicker was that there was almost no audience at the theatre that night, so if you weren't in one of the other 2 established teams performing, it was correctly assumed you were in the mystery team. It was a super fun night.

There were video projects and other one-offs here and there. Along the way, I met some other guys that Steve went to college with--other comedians with the same sensibilities. In October 2004, Pastor of Muppets famously signed up for a sketch show slot for 4 weeks, and then didn't write one. Steve and his buddy Paul threw together a concept for a gameshow that they would host along with another friend Bryan as timekeeper. They posted auditions for weirdo variety act style comedians, and I of course signed up. Shortly before auditions were to be held, Steve emailed me saying that all but 3 people canceled their audition slots and asked what my bits were going to be. I described them to him, and was cast. And just like that, we put on Don't Spit the Water. After a few limited run engagements, the show ran weekly for years, and took us to SC, NYC, LA and even on TV with our own half hour pilot.

With the start of that show, the official comedy group of Blewt! was formed. Among many other things, we've produced a prank web series (Silly Funny Goof Gang), a standup showcase (Blewtenanny), a weird conceptual show starting Jared Logan and Kumail (The Demon Who Never Appeared), a Kenyan-penned melodrama (The Nairobi Project), a call-in cable access talk show (Talkin' Funny), 8 seasons of a super amazing hit talent competition judged by hyper-intelligent apes from the future (Impress These Apes--season 8 just wrapped last night--crazy) and a performance showcase television show (Steve Gadlin's Star Makers). On the side, Steve launched a stick figure cat drawing company called I Want to Draw a Cat for You and went on to score a deal with billionaire Mark Cuban on the show Shark Tank. We've had numerous members of Blewt! over the years, all awesome. Some have moved onto LA, some have moved on to their own creative projects. At the core, though, is Steve, Paul, Bryan, Fuzzy and myself.  We're a great team. We are constantly creating and putting more and more weird out into the world. TimeOut Chicago once called the creation of Blewt! one of the top 10 best moments in Chicago comedy in the 2000-2010 decade. Being in one of the biggest comedy cities in the world, that is a huge compliment.

With our 10 year DSTW anniversary approaching and the last season of Apes behind us, I've been thinking a lot about life and comedy and my life in the performing arts world. I have my hand in a lot of projects--I dance, I choreograph, I write, I perform, I direct. I am often full of anxiety and self-doubt. But these last 9 weeks of Apes has been something else--comforting. Being back with Steve, Paul, Bryan & of course Fuzzy is like going to a reunion of family or old friends. It's like going home. It is easy, and it is fun. I laugh so hard with those guys. Working with the same group of people is really a gift--we know how each other works and how to get the best product. We've laughed a lot lately with taking on this last Apes--we used to fight and argue over the smallest details, but now when someone makes a suggestion, the rest of us are like "yeah, that sounds good." As Steve said "We're all so old and agreeable now." Steve, Paul and Bryan are all fathers, and we all have different priorities in life, but we all love to create something stupid for the enjoyment of others--"Comedy to Delight and Confuse," as the Blewt! tagline says.

Sitting on the panel with the other Apes is one of my favorite things. There's no pressure to be stand-out funny up there--we just inhabit these characters and riff off of each other. A spectator last night told me that while the show is focused on the contestants and their performances, one of the joys of watching the show is watching the Apes interact with each other, because of our comfort level and camaraderie. I love that.

Every moment in our lives helps make us who we are today. We are a summation of experiences, and each person we meet enhances our lives in some way. I realize how amazing it is, when talking to people about Blewt! and our shows, to say "I've been working with Steve for over 14 years." I am grateful for all the crazy ideas he has come up with over the years and for all the opportunities I've had to work with him on those projects. I'm lucky to be able to say that he is one of my closest friends.

The world needs to laugh, and it's a gift that I get to help make that happen. I can't wait for what's next.


Oh yeah, we did another Triathlon

| No Comments

Hey yo, no bigs, it was the 2014 Chicago Triathlon this past weekend, and we did it again. These things are kind of old hat now for us, I guess. Funny how this used to not be our life, but now it totally is. Its something that I enjoy and do just to do--not to compete at or anything--just to get that rush. And the amazing thing to me is that we are now MASTERS of the event. Not once did I get nervous for it this year, even though I was super undertrained for the bike and run portions of it. I had been on my bike I think 3 or 4 times total since last year's tri, and even though I was doing the Sprint, they added some undisclosed distance on the course. But it was great from start to finish. Even being awake at 3am.


(my number was 6896, which is also a number when upside-down, so that was confusing)

Fuzzy competed in the Triple Challenge again this year, which is all 3 distances of the Chicago Tri. He blogged about it all here! (pics from the SuperSprint, with bonus Zach, here!) His first start wave on Sunday was 6:15am, and mine was 9:48am (the Sprint and International race order was smartly switched this year), so I had oodles of time to kill before I started. Luckily, they implemented all sorts of awesome new things in this year's event, such as the Sprint transition area being open from 6:30-8:30am. BRILLIANT. It was awesome for a number of reasons: 1) when we were there at 5am to set up, the racks for the Sprint were wide open, so I had my pick of spot 2) When Fuzzy got out of the water, I had time to leisurely go back to my transition, drop stuff off, & recheck my gear 3) the port-o-potty situation was WAY better than usual. I never had to wait more than 3 minutes, instead of the usual 20-25, which is BRUTAL when you are a multiple-pees-before-events kind of person like me. So I watched Fuzzy go in the water, then saw my friend Dominique take off, then chatted with my friend Roger (who was also doing the Sprint) while following Fuzzy through the course (and bragging about him). The water looked terrible with waves, but he rocked it, and then I cheered on Dominique through her swim. I ate some food, went to transition, then got ready for my event.

I was SUPER trained on swimming this year, due to the Point to LaPointe, so I was just excited to get in the water. I was in a weird mixed start wave that was literally Women 35-39, Men 20-24 and Men 20 and under. So there were children in our wave. Bizarre. I heard a lot of folks say they were nervous, but me? I was just ready.

I loved the swim. It was my favorite part. I think I did well--there were a ton of people holding onto the wall and on their backs trying to keep afloat, but I was smooth and steady. My offical swim time was 22 minutes, but that time includes a leisurely walk to transition, getting out of my wetsuit, and a stop to the port-o-potty. So I think I was out of the water actually in 17-18 minutes. I wish there was a timing chip on the Swim Out. Then I ate some food, sprayed some sunscreen and was out on Lake Shore Drive. The bike was fine--it was windy and hard, but fine, and I did it in like an hour 10. While biking back, I saw Fuzzy biking out, so I knew he had made his 10:15am wave time. It made me breathe a bit easier.

When that was done, I drank some water, and took off on the run. I think I walked about half of it, but I am ok with that. I had been on a 5 mile walk with Claire a few days before, and knew I could walk the whole thing if needed, but ran as much as I could. I had some nice chats with some nice people, drank some gatorade, enjoyed the spray water mists throughout the route, then finished on my own without any fanfare. I finished in about 2 1/2 hours, which means it was after noon when I crossed the finish line. The spectators were thinned out (though the ones that were there were AWESOME and SO supportive and wonderful), and the announcers likely didn't even see me coming in and didn't call my name (they were talking about the sponsors when I crossed.) I got my metal and my gatorade, then hung out in the chute and waited for Fuzzy to finish a little bit later. I was so proud of him when he did.


So yeah. It's a thing we did. And I am proud of us.

Another fun thing is that Dominique won an entry to another tri in Willmette on September 14th and gave it to me, so I have another one in 2.5 weeks. And I will likely chill out and zen out and enjoy that one, too. Cause that's what we Gerdeses do.

Official Results Here.
Ranked 1249 in swim, 1980 in bike and 2036 in run out of 2132. Not too shabby for a gal like me.

More Apes Press!

Jason Heidemann of the Chicago Tribune included Impress These Apes in his column this week about the loss of Robin Williams. 

Excerpt here:

Standup Scene: Take a risk in honor of Robin Williams

By Jason Heidemann, Special to the Tribune

AUGUST 20, 2014, 1:10 PM

I was on my way to see a comedy show last week when I learned of the death of Robin Williams. You can say many things about the standup of Williams. His style was manic, intelligent, at times deeply personal and almost always highly physical. He was a comic bull in a china shop. He was political, a great impressionist

and a master ad libber. But what I'll miss most are the risks he took onstage. "You're only given a little spark of madness," he once said. "You mustn't lose it."

Williams was fearless. I think about this going into tonight's "Impress These Apes" challenge.

"Apes" is an eight-week show in the form of a talent competition judged by a panel of hyper-intelligent apes from the future (played by comedians). The annual two-month event happens Mondays at ComedySportz in Lakeview and is the brainchild of Blewt! Productions, the folks behind the Chicago-based game show competition "Don't Spit the Water."

Each week, the contestants are tasked with a challenge they must perform in front of a live audience and tonight their task is to perform a five-minute standup routine with a twist -- each has been assigned their own heckler whose job it is to derail their set. Talk about needing to be fearless. Comedian Shannon Noll is a comic who I last saw at the Laugh Factory's queer-themed "Chigayco" show. When comedian Tiffany Puterbaugh starts lobbing slurs her way, Noll handles them admirably. "I hate cross dressing children," shouts Puterbaugh in attempt to mangle a joke about a food truck with the words 'children crossing' written on the side of it.

Without missing a beat, a whip-smart Noll acidly replies, "Oh my God, you would've hated me as a kid."

The highlight is a ferocious Amy Sumpter who admirably beats back heckler Ramona Mourir by totally engaging her while still making direct eye contact with her audience. "I was scared out of my mind," Sumpter says later. "I found out about Robin Williams right before I left for the show [and] was super sad. But then I had a moment where I thought, 'what would Robin do? He would kick ass.' So that is how I decided I would handle my heckler."

Full Story: http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/comedy/chi-standup-scene-take-comic-risk-story.html


Keep reading! The next most recent entry was Modet Dance Collective Breakdancing Workshop! or you can visit the Archives

Erica Reid

Erica Reid headshot by Elizabeth McQuern


Upcoming Shows

Recent Comments

  • Leigh: Of all the things I saw while in Chicago, you read more
  • Lance: Erica, sounds like it's been a journey! You are so read more
  • Anonymous: I'm so glad you wrote this, and I'm so glad read more
  • mom: GREAT!!!! I am so proud of you!! read more
  • mom: I almost put "Red Right Hand" but you beat me read more
  • Claire: These KICK ASS! And so do you! read more
  • mom: Looks great! Can't wait to see some more! read more
  • Erica: Yay! Thank you guys! You're the best!!! xoxoxoxooxooxo e read more
  • Carrie Miley : Whoa!! So I didn't miss it! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! Geez you read more
  • Jean: Here's hoping you squeeze in some fabulous birthday hi-jinx, read more