Faced with the possibility of a strike, Chicago Public Schools teachers could use a boost, Lilly Allison figures.
So Allison, who’s a part-time comedian as well as a fine arts teacher at Rogers Elementary in Rogers Park, will host “Back to School: CPS Stand-Up Showcase” on Sunday at the Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave. She and six other CPS employees will offer comic takes on their experiences working for the city’s schools.
“There’s a lot of anger and high emotions going on right now among teachers,” Allison says. “This is a nice, lighthearted take on being a teacher.
“The material almost writes itself. Students say a lot that is cute and sweet or funny. So this is about sharing those moments that are usually unseen by other adults.”
Allison hosted the first CPS Stand-Up showcase in April as part of her A Lil Annoyance Stand Up Show series. The show was such a hit, she says, she wanted to do another one before the school year begins. The show will also feature a school-supplies drive.
“So much happens where you can’t believe you’re the only adult witnessing this,” Allison says. “There was one time a little boy rushed up to me concerned because another student ‘had a crack in his butt.’ It’s amazing comedy gold.”
Allison likens the show to a teacher’s lounge, where teachers can escape from being the only adult all day to vent about their jobs, though they’re still careful to watch what they say.
Jun Sung, a program director for an academic partner of CPS who’s performing in the show, says he draws his material from his own observations and the education system in general.
“I’m very much supportive of” the Chicago Teachers Union, Sung says. “And I do a few jokes making fun of the district leadership and particularly our wonderful mayor and governor. Of course, you worry about contracts, being funded and some blowout, but mostly in comedy you want to be able to say anything.”
Scotty Filine, who teaches physical education at Chalmers School of Excellence in Douglas Park, says he’s excited to make light of the challenges faced by CPS teachers right now.
“I’m looking forward to getting other people’s comedic take on all the issues in CPS right now,” he says. “If you can’t laugh at certain things that are going on right now, we’d all go crazy.”
The “Back to School: CPS Stand-Up Showcase” is at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Annoyance Theatre’s mainstage, 851 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets are $5, free for CPS teachers.