"Everyone I admired came out of Chicago," Chicago comedienne Sarah King confides on a sunny afternoon at The Coffee Studio, a new cafe in Edgewater. "Gilda Radner, Amy Sedaris, Catherine O'Hara." A gifted, hardworking performer, King took her cue from her idols, moving to Chicago where she ended up interning at The Jerry Springer Show. After parlaying her internship into a lucrative job as associate producer, King used her savings to travel before throwing herself into the Chicago improv scene.
After performing with Second City's small theater as well as Improv Olympic, King wrote and produced her show, "Mama Truth: Open Mic for Open Souls." Once she experienced the singular thrill that comes from performing her own work, she was inspired to create "Good Crazy/Bad Crazy," extended through June 26 at the Apollo Theater.
For now, King supports her craft through film and commercial work and freelance promotional gigs, but in the future she hopes to be able to make a full-time living as the triple threat she is: comic, writer, actor.
So why the Jerry Springer Show?
I had to do it because my parents wouldn't let me move to Chicago unless I had a job within my degree, which was Radio/TV/Film. I lied to them and told them I would come back to Texas, but I knew that I was staying here. Once I saved money and had it on my resume I was like, 'I’m getting the fuck out.'
What the best Chicago-related advice you've ever given or received?
Stick to your strengths. I really try to pride myself on always going there. I try to find what's really at the core of my experience or a character's experience. I think some comedians can be too guarded, people in general are afraid to appear you know, like a nerd or too vulnerable or not bright enough or too sexual. I'm not afraid to be brutally honest.
What's your favorite Chicago hidden gem?
I'm trying to think of my favorite dive bar. Rose's. You gotta go. It's by the Apollo, and I've been going there after shows. It's owned by a Polish Lady in her 60s or 70s named Rose and she bartends. Or the Oakwood. Both are stuck in the '70s, early '80s and that's another reason why they're amazing. Oakwood is on Montrose and I think it's Greek-owned. Fabulous.
If I came to your neighborhood, where would you insist I visit?
Hopleaf is so friendly always and the food is amazing and obviously the beer selection is overwhelming—in a good way. For brunch, M. Henry is the place to be. Also Svea. You can't beat that.