Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Moth flutters in

The Moth is "a highly acclaimed New York-based storytelling series in which people from all walks of life share real, first person stories on stage before a live audience."

I first caught their act years ago in Aspen, Colorado at the late, great U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, where such storytellers as erstwhile Letterman foil Teri Garr, noted metrosexual Greg Behrendt, Chicago monologuist turned HBO star Jeff Garlin, Sex and the City writer Michael Patrick King and former White House press secretary Joe Lockhart presented true tales from their own lives. It was bracing stuff, by turns funny, moving and riveting, and they played Aspen for several years running.

They also presented an impressive slate of comedians who set aside their usual comedy material to tell stories about their own most memorable moments. For example, Michael Ian Black recounted a road trip he took just after college in a van with fellow members of The State as their show was becoming a hit on MTV (the mission: "to fuck our fans"). Kirk Fox opened up about his failed marriage to Clint Eastwood's daughter Alison ("She wanted to marry her father, and so did I"; as the couple is breaking up, Clint calls Kirk a son of a bitch, and he thinks, "Clint called me son!"). Mike DeStefano, meanwhile, told the harrowing, deeply personal story of his own struggle with drug addiction recovery.

I am fortunate enough to visit New York City from time to time, and I have since caught The Moth at one of their regular haunts, the New York Public Library. Over time I have become acquainted with some of their directors and staff.

A few years ago, when The Moth launched a national tour, they were nice enough to invite me to help plan their first-ever Chicago show. It took place in April 2007 at the rock club Metro, where Andy Borowitz, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, Jon Langford, Jonathan Ames and Amy Dickinson did a great job.

But that's all history. Here's the breaking news:

The Moth is returning to Chicago. Work is underway on a live stage show, not just a one-off this time but a limited series running monthly. Details will be announced shortly.

But first, to prime the pump, they're hitting our airwaves. Over the next five weekends their new program, The Moth Radio Hour, will air nationally on NPR, including locally on WBEZ 91.5 FM. It airs here at 7pm Saturdays and 5pm Sundays from August 29th to September 27th. Tune in and enjoy.

If you're not in a city where it's airing (click here for cities, stations, dates and times), point your browser to any of a number of NPR affiliate websites, such as, where you can stream it live. You can also hear some entertaining Moth tales by visiting

Try it, you'll like it.

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