Three Questions with a Bears Fan, Episode VI: Christopher Denham, Star of Stage & Screen

| April 6th, 2020

He’s worked with Mike Nichols. (Image 1, Charlie Wilson’s War.)

He’s been in a Best Picture. (Image 2, Argo.)

He’s done a Broadway two-hander with Al Pacino. (Image 3, China Doll.)

But now his career reaches a new height as he’ll answer three questions on a blog.

I used to admire Chris Denham from afar, as a fan who’d seen his work on the stage in New York. Then he married one of my best friends – marrying into one of my favorite families on earth – and now I get to admire him off-stage as well. He’s a great dude, a mediocre husband and I’m sure he’s a good father but I’m not qualified to make that judgement.

DBB: You did Charlie Wilson’s War with Mike Nichols and Shutter Island with Martin Scorsese (who I assume you can now call “Marty”). I assume those were very different kinds of sets. So stylistically, what kind of football coaches would those two guys be? 

Denham: Nichols and Scorsese were more similar than different. They were both storytellers on set – raconteurs. Lou Holtz comes to mind. Neither was a screamer. Both of them dressed impeccably. Does that make them the Tom Landrys of cinema? Both men were cerebral. Well prepared. Storyboarding the shots (game-planning) but allowing the actors to call audibles and scramble. I’m stretching this metaphor too far. 

DBB: I first became aware of you when I saw you in Master Harold and the Boys on Broadway in 2003. (When I do my South African accent I’m still doing your South African accent from that shows.) I have argued Broadway theatre – with the huge crowds, celebrities in audience, stage door experience – is the closest the arts come to professional sports. Was that your experience at all?

Denham: Yes, doing a Broadway show approximates the adrenaline, the sheer rush of live sports. I mean, anything can happen. It happens right in front of you. Right in your face. Literally. Doing that play with Danny Glover, I accidentally threw a wet rag into the first row, into the face of an unsuspecting old lady. It was such a big rag. It completely covered her face. The best part was she just threw it back on stage and everyone clapped. I did Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore and this damn cat is supposed to walk onstage at the end. Occasionally (it tended to be Wednesday matinees), the cat would just saunter offstage and walk into the audience. People would just go nuts and start clapping and cheering insanely. It was amazing actually. It reminded us what theater can do that film and TV can’t do. It’s participatory.

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Three Questions with a Bears Fan, Episode I: Reverend Dave

| March 4th, 2020

The following the first of many pieces in a new conversation series, Three Questions with a Bears Fan. There was no other choice to kick this off other than Reverend Dave. If you don’t know who he is, go back and listen to the dozens upon dozens of “sermons” and “Reverend’s Rants” he provided over the years. He’s a jerk. But he’s our jerk.

DBB: You are a Bears fan. You are also my friend. If you were offered the Bears winning the 2021 Super Bowl in exchange for my developing a non-terminal illness like scabies, would you make that deal?

Reverend Dave: You’re my friend, I would let you develop scabies in exchange for a few free Old Styles at the Goat. Scabies isn’t permanent. I would make that deal in a heartbeat. Hell, remember that moment of euphoria when Hester returned the opening kickoff in that Super Bowl? I would give you alopecia to relive that moment again, much less an actual Bears’ Super Bowl win that I’m old enough to remember.

(Later, an email.)

I just remembered! When I came back from Cameroon I had this nasty looking bug bite on my arm. My girlfriend at the time was convinced it was some terrible tropical disease and to show her it was nothing I rubbed it on her arm. Welp, I was wrong. It was ringworm. She was pissed. 

Id say her getting ringworm was worth the laugh I still get from that story. So there is little non-lethal I wouldn’t subject you to for a Super Bowl win. 

DBB: You have a child now. Did having a child make you like the Bears less? You know, because of “perspective”?

Reverend Dave: Nope. I don’t get the whole having a child changes your whole perspective on life thing. I love my daughter, she’s awesome, doesn’t mean I suddenly like cheap domestic beer or Bears football any less. There’s a much greater chance me liking my daughter less in the future. I mean, I can’t like the Bears less than the Jimmy Clausen game, but my daughter is just starting a lifetime of opportunities to do things to make me like her less. 

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