If I Were Living in Chicago…

| May 19th, 2010

There’s no way I wouldn’t be attending this.  If any of you decide to go, please send me reports.

‘Da Bears Movie Dat Wasn’t,’ Wendt, Mantegna and Ditka added to da’ Just For Laughs

by Chris Jones

Coming ‘atcha, once again from the heart of Chicago, the Super Fans. It’s been a bit of a dry spell, (da’ Bears!) and a certain team from a certain city (da’ Bears!) has failed to run roughshod over the competition, but listen up. The Super Fans are back for a live performance as part of this summer’s Just For Laughs festival.

“Da Bears Movie Dat Wasn’t” will be a live reading of a never-produced screenplay, to star George Wendt, Joe Mantegna, Robert Smigel, Bob Odenkirk, Richard Roeper (as a narrator) and Mike Ditka (as Himself).

DitkaThe story: Da’ Bears have been sold, and the beloved Soldier Field is to be converted into all luxury boxes for the rich. And here’s the thing: This really was a screenplay, written back in the mid-1990s by Smigel and Odenkirk for Paramount based on characters from the “Saturday Night Live” sketch, said Smigel after the announcement Tuesday. It never got made. Tickets for the one-night-only reading June 19 at the Park West go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday at www.ticketmaster.com.

“It’s an expansion of the world of the Super Fans,” Smigel said. “We get to meet their families, their kids, their wives, go to church with them.”

Smigel said he got the original inspiration for the Super Fans characters from coming to Chicago as a New Yorker in the ’80s. He took himself to a Cubs game and noticed all the things that were better about seeing a game at Wrigley versus in New York, he said. “For one thing, I looked out at the bleachers and saw all the people in the quote-unquote ‘crappy’ seats having the best time.”

From there, it was just spending time in sports bars soaking up the atmosphere. “I saw a lot of guys in loud T-shirts wearing the aviator shades, sporting the walrus mustache modeled after Ditka — which I believe came to be an emblem of virility at the time.”

The show will also include Super Fan sketches and a Q&A session with Ditka; it’s billed as a benefit for the organizations Have Dreams: Helping Autistic Voices Emerge and the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund.