You know what we need right now? A good laugh. We’re bombarded daily by disturbing news, while enduring dreary weather. That’s why Forest Park’s Brandon Prosek and Monica Berns are reviving their Faux Pas Comedy Shows. The first will be Wednesday, June 8, at Lathrop House Café, 26 Lathrop Ave., in their new backyard bar area. Seating is at 6:30 and the show runs from 7-8 p.m.

Brandon and Monica are only booking professional comedians for Faux Pas and the June 8 show is no exception. The headliner is Tyler Fowler, who performs at Zanies and is releasing a TV comedy special in 2022. Katie Meiners, another Zanies veteran, is also on the bill and the show will be hosted by comic Sharup Karim. Tickets are $10 online at Eventbrite and $15 at the door. Best of all, the show will be a fundraiser for the Forest Park Theatre, which produced Shakespeare in the Park last year and will do so again this summer. 

This is the second go-round for Faux Pas, a play on FoPa. Prior to the pandemic, the pair put on comedy shows at Doc Ryan’s and drew crowds of 50-75. Their goal is to bring high-quality comedy to town. Fortunately, the Chicago area is crawling with comic talent. 

Attending comedy shows first brought Brandon and Monica together. They were drawn to little-known comedians who were still hungry for success. They also attended open mic nights, where the performances could be disappointing. Even when the comedian wasn’t funny, they admired their courage for trying. Monica overcame her own stage fright to perform a successful set at an open mic. 

Brandon also does stand-up. He writes “clean” humor, which can be more challenging in getting laughs. (Fowler also does exclusively clean material.) Brandon is a writer of comic books and a playwright. For an accountant who works from home, he has an impressive array of creative outlets. 

Monica also works from home and pursues creative endeavors, like producing a reality TV show in 2015. She is a member of the Forest Park Arts Alliance and wants to bring more performance art to town. There’s no substitute for attending live performances. There is a sense of distance, watching comics on TV, that make them less funny.

Plus, “We need a break from everything!” Brandon declared. After a long, dark winter of staying indoors and staring at screens, he wants to provide an escape for live audiences. He also wants them to be safe. That is why the outdoor bar area at Lathrop House is ideal for their shows. 

Following the June 8 show, they will be hosting Faux Pas Comedy Shows on July 13 and Aug. 10 at Lathrop House. They see these shows as a win-win for the community, because the proceeds support local theater. Lathrop House is also donating a percentage of their food/drink sales to benefit Forest Park Theatre. 

I can attest that seeing live comedians is far superior to watching their TV specials. My son Mark and I watched a special featuring Mike Birbiglia and didn’t crack a smile. Then we attended his show at Steppenwolf Theater. He was not only hilarious but touched on darker themes. I was emotionally spent and laughing at the same time.  

I grew up wearing out comedy albums. My high school, St. Ignatius, produced Bob Newhart and John Mulaney. They were planning to team up with George Wendt for a show benefitting the school but the pandemic canceled it.  

So the Faux Pas shows are carrying on a wonderful tradition. Laughs for a great cause.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.