Players to Be Named Later, at the Griffin Theater. As you might suspect from the bad pun in the title, the Players to Be Named Later are a group of Second City wannabes. Five of the seven cast members have studied at Second City, are studying there now, or currently teach there (Brian Posen).
And they’ve all learned well. Their imaginary-object work is good. Their characters are perfectly within Second City tradition. Men come in three varieties–nerds, cracked professionals, and wisecracking pals. Women come in two–girlfriends and wives. And the show is structured like a Second City show: it’s a series of unrelated sketches separated by blackouts.
But it’s not very funny. The sketches are overwritten, the repeating bits are way too predicatable, the jokes–many of them about women who prefer assholes and nice guys who finish last–are just plain lame. And what’s worse, the cast know their material’s bad. So they overact like mad, telegraphing their flaccid punch lines and grinning madly when they have nothing to say.