When David Spade takes the stage Wednesday for the first of two nights at the Chicago Improv in Schaumburg, it will be just 10 weeks since his Range Rover spun in a three-car accident on Sunset Boulevard. Though he cracked a rib in the wreck, he says he’s recovered enough to “do a nice C+ act” in the ‘burbs.
“The doctor said my talent levels are reading very low since the accident,” the comedian cracked. “That’s normal, though.”
Before his 1990-96 run on “Saturday Night Live,” where he goofed on celebs during the “Hollywood Minute” segment and played a flight attendant dismissing passengers with “Buh-bye!,” and his supporting roles on “Just Shoot Me” and “Rules of Engagement,” Spade got his start as a stand-up. He’s never stopped working the mic, both on big theater tours with Adam Sandler and other pals, and in solo club shows like this one.
“I just do stuff about my life, about dating and how I’m trying to take [manhood] pics now. Just basic stuff,” he previews with a laugh.
When: 7 p.m. March 15, 7 and 9:30 p.m. March 16
Where: Chicago Improv, 5 Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg
Tickets: $44 plus two-item purchase
What he doesn’t do is politics. “If you’re pro-this or anti-that, I always feel like you’re going to lose half the crowd. They’re gonna be annoyed,” he said, a belief reinforced by the recent clip of an angry Donald Trump fan throwing a glass at comedian John Caparulo midshow.
“Of all people, Trump probably brings up more ire, if that is a word, than anyone,” Spade said. “I’ve talked about Obama a little bit, or Hillary, or Bush, and no one really cared. But right now it is so dicey out there that people get more mad than I’ve ever seen. Just in regular life! Forget about a club. …
“You can incite laughs by saying, ‘What the f— is with this guy?’ And then everyone yells. But unless I’ve got a good, smart point — which I usually don’t — I skip it and go to stuff that actually works for sure.”
Next week’s shows mark his first at the Improv, and Spade admits he got a late start in appreciating Chicago, having seldom ventured out of state while growing up in Arizona. That changed when he arrived at “SNL” and met iO and Second City alum Chris Farley: “He was from Wisconsin and always talked about Chicago, and that sort of got me into it. And I remembered the Blues Brothers were from there.”
Working with Farley on “SNL” and in two movies, including the beloved “Tommy Boy,” gave him a sense of the city’s comedy traditions that was reinforced by other funny Chicago-trained folks including Tim Kazurinsky (his co-star in “Police Academy 4”), Tim Meadows and Tina Fey.
“You guys squirt ’em out like Play-Doh,” says Spade.
At NBC’s Studio 8H he also briefly overlapped with Chris Kattan, soon to break new ground as the first “SNL” alum to compete on “Dancing With the Stars.” But don’t expect Spade to follow in his friend’s foxtrotting footsteps.
“I’m so fragile and flimsy,” said Spade, who aches not just from the cracked rib but also from neck problems dating back to a backflip gone bad at a high school talent show. “And I’m not that good at it. As long as there’s literally anything else going on, I will do something else.”
But he’ll be watching. “If Mr. T goes all the way I will be shocked,” Spade said. “But happy.”
Until that new season starts up March 20, he’ll stay busy keeping up with Nick Viall and his harem — and you can watch. Spade has been doing live commentary about each episode of “The Bachelor” alongside famous friends including Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz, and streaming it on Facebook Live.
“It’s a work in progress, but I think there’s something there,” Spade said, adding that one episode “had over a half a million views. That’s tough. It’s like a two-hour show! It’s so long! But there’s something to watching someone watch it and talk like you’re watching it with them. And we’re just trying to figure it out. It’s fun. Definitely fun.”