Perhaps following the lead of our timid national news media, which seems incapable of independent thought, American comedy has become increasingly toothless, ill informed, and politically irrelevant. With a few notable exceptions (The Daily Show and about 25 percent of SNL’s Weekend Update), most comedy these days leans heavily on the same old sex jokes, pop-cult references, and digs at whichever former ally the Bush administration has decided to scapegoat this week. That’s why I look forward to Amsterdam-based Boom Chicago’s weeklong runs at Second City. Not only does this ten-year-old company perform shows that are faster paced and more technologically hip than any on this side of the Atlantic, its members actually seem to know more about the world than can be learned channel surfing. Their material is peppered with original, thought-provoking observations on politics, culture, and current events. Even though it’s essentially an American troupe, founded by Chicagoans and dominated by people trained in the Second City style, Boom Chicago never indulges in ugly-American isolationist thinking. I can’t wait to hear what they have to say about our escapades in Iraq in their current show, Boom Chicago Saves the World (Sorry About the Mess). The Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 312-337-3992 or 877-778-4707. Through June 29: Thursday, 8:30 PM; Friday-Saturday, 8 and 11 PM; Sunday, 7 PM. On Sunday at 10 PM current and former Boom Chicago members will present an improv jam. Free improv sessions follow the regular shows Thursday at 10:30 PM and late Saturday at 1 AM. $23-$25.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Marco Buschman.