Posted Online: Jan. 04, 2012, 5:13 pm

Blacklist takes its 'Shots' at Speakeasy

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Photo: Gary Krambeck / staff
Members of the Q-C improv comedy team, The Blacklist.
The Blacklist, the Q-C's "adult" improv comedy troupe, is adding another intoxicating item to its entertainment menu with "Shots 'n' Giggles," a new 10 p.m. Saturday show at The Speakeasy, 1818 3rd Ave., Rock Island. The format debuted last month and will be part of the first Saturday show of each month, Blacklist founder George Strader said this week.

The 16-month-old comedy team usually opens at 9 p.m. Saturdays with a stand-up comedian from Chicago, St. Louis or elsewhere in the region, and then at 10 does "100 Laughs," its improv show at which the Blacklist sees how fast they can get 100 laughs from the audience.

"Shots 'n' Giggles" is a "hybrid of our short-form improv show meets the debauchery of college drinking games," Mr. Strader said. "We built this specifically for this audience, the 21-plus audience. We're not family-friendly."

With suggestions and on-stage participation encouraged from the audience, Blacklist members are penalized or rewarded with alcohol as the evening progresses, which makes the quick-hitting improv more challenging, Mr. Strader noted. "I'm 31 years old, and I can't drink like this as much as I used to.

"Our audiences are demanding to be part of the show," he said. "Our Blacklist audience really likes it. We're forcing it to integrate the audience as much as we possibly can."

The troupe has doubled in size after its first year, to 18 current members, and will add new show formats in the near future, he said. Admission to the R-rated shows is $10, and food and drinks are available for purchase.

-- Jonathan Turner