Couple is crazy for comedy
Hollie and Steve Himmelman
9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10
Gorilla Tango’s Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave.
(773) 598-4549; www.gorillatango.com
Updated: November 8, 2012 6:13PM
Two self-proclaimed crazy people are preparing to share their perspectives on life at the Skokie Theatre.
The couple — stand-up comedians Hollie and Steve Himmelman — performs as The Meshuganas, although they come across as a very sane couple who just enjoy making people laugh.
Hollie and Steve have been self-producing their comedy shows through Himmelmania Productions for two years but took on the Meshuganas moniker just this year.
Each of the comedians performs a separate set.
“I do a lot of different topics,” Hollie said. “I talk about family. I talk about husbands, my childhood. One of my bits is growing up in Skokie. Anything that I think I can turn into a humorous piece.”
Hollie recalls her early years in Skokie as “a simple, relaxing, warm time in my life.” However, at that time, the village was a very different place than it is today. “When I was growing up,” Hollie said, “Skokie was so Jewish that even our pet pig kept kosher.”
Steve’s humor is based on mocking everything. “When I did shows in the ’70s, my show was called, ‘Leaving No Turn Unstoned,’” he reported. “The key to my comedy is misdirection. I lead you somewhere and I take you somewhere else.”
Hollie began taking acting classes at area schools about eight years ago. “One of the schools offered a class in stand-up,” she said. “After the first class, it caught me and I said, ‘I found it.’ I’ve been enamored with it ever since.”
Hollie has been performing stand-up for about five years. She has appeared at Zanies’ Fun Female Show, Gorilla Tango in Chicago and the Blue Bayou in Chicago, among other places.
Steve’s comedy roots go back much further. “I started doing some stand-up in 1975,” he related. “I was involved in the Twin Cities Amateur Stand-Up Comedian Contest. The owner of the club was Rodney Dangerfield. I was runner-up to Louie Anderson in 1975.”
After doing some roasts, Steve decided to concentrate on his career as a trader. He is currently an investment banker but is also performing whenever possible.
Hollie is concentrating most of her energy on comedy writing and performing. “And I’m a mother to our three dogs,” she said. “They never grow up. That’s what I say about husbands, too. Steve says he’s the only one ever in the doghouse.”
Although they aren’t on the stage at the same time, Hollie and Steve are definitely a comedy team.
“We write independently but if I’m writing and I need to hone in something, I can go to Steve and say, ‘What do you think this needs?’” Hollie said. “He’ll say, ‘I think you need to go in this direction,’ or he might throw something out there that gives it a heightened punch line. It’s really helpful because he understands how a joke is written and how to evoke that laughter.”
Steve said it’s great living with another comic because, “It’s like a shared hobby and that’s a good thing.”
As for the name the two comics chose for their act, Steve related, “One of the things I tell people in the audience is, ‘If you don’t know what a meshugana is, it’s the same thing as marriage. It’s crazy!”