On what Second City actor Joey Bland called “the most surreal day of my life,” former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich made a guest appearance at the Saturday night production of “Rod Blagojevich Superstar,” a satirical play that mocks Blagojevich’s political career.
The day was surreal for Bland because he plays the role of the hair-obsessed Blagojevich and performed his act in front of the real former governor. Television reports said Blagojevich sat stone-faced through much of the performance, but occasionally laughed during the play’s more over-the-top moments.
“It’s bullshit,” a grinning Blagojevich reportedly told the audience when asked what he thought of the show.
Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones wrote that “the real version of the indicted and disgraced title character offered a brief but rich snapshot of his increasingly theatrical personality.
Blagojevich only showed up at the start of the Navy Pier show, and in the improv set at the end. But he still found time to recite a portion of the St. Crispin’s Day speech from “Henry V,” shill for his wife’s reality TV show set in the jungles of Costa Rica (“If you can vote for her, please do”), invite the cast of this “fictional show” to dinner (“we’ll be serving tarantulas”), indict the “football” hairbrush used in the Navy Pier show as “too small,” and get off a few gags.
Blagojevich and the cast members weren’t the only ones getting laughs that night. At one point, an audience member cracked a joke at Blagojevich’s expense.
“What are you reading right now?,” asked Bland, searching for material. “Transcripts,” muttered one fellow in the audience, perhaps less amused than some at the main act in the ring.
And then there was the following nugget, shared by NBC 5 Chicago News reporter Lauren Jiggetts.
“On a totally random note, Blagojevich introduced a friend of his that was in the audience,” Jiggetts said. “That person was Fabio, the man that’s graced many a romance novel. We’re not quite sure what the connection is there.”
So here is my question: When Fabio first saw the former governor appear on stage, did he exclaim, “I can’t believe it’s not Blago!” before realizing Rod was the real deal? (Yeah, that was too easy, but somebody had to make the joke.)
UPDATE: Second City Vice President Kelly Leonard tweeted this message on Twitter early Sunday morning: “FYI – Fabio wasn’t at the show – that was Rod’s friend – pretty good joke on his part, I must say…”
In other words, we were fooled by Rod again …
* * *
Curious about the show “Rod Blagojevich Superstar”? I saw it in late April. Click here to read my review.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter Monday through Thursday for live updates about what Patti Blagojevich and the other quasi-celebrities are up to on “I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” I’ll also continue to post nightly episode recaps of the show here on The Bread Line as long as Patti is still on the show.