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‘Second City Swipes Right’ coming to Englert in Iowa City
Improv comedy troupe looks at online dating scene
It’s surprising how many people have met via dating apps and relationship websites over recent years.
According to Jenelle Cheyne, a whopping 95 percent have met their partner via technology.
Cheyne isn’t a doctor, a therapist or a journalist. The Vancouver native is an improv player with Second City. Less than a month ago, the legendary troupe launched “The Second City Swipes Right,” a tour inspired by how a Tinder user accepts a potential date. It’s coming to the Englert Theatre in Iowa City on Feb. 10 and 11, 2023.
If you go
What: “The Second City Swipes Right” tour
Where: Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St., Iowa City
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10 and 11, 2023
Tickets: $20 to $48, englert.org/events/
Troupe’s website: secondcity.com/chicago-shows/
“The show is about relationships,” Cheyne said from her Chicago home. “It’s about dating. We ask people how they met their partner and then the fun begins. It’s about short-term and long-term relationships. The overarching theme is exploring how those relationships work and what’s funny about them.”
The sample size is small, but 95 percent of those Cheyne has interacted with regarding relationships met via an app.
“I was taken aback by how many long-term relationships started with people who didn’t physically meet each other,” Cheyne said. “There was one couple who said that they have been married for 20 years and they met on eHarmony. How amazing is it that they’re still together?”
“The Second City Swipes Right” features six actors. Cheyne and her peers interact with the audience, but also present an array of sketches.
One is based on the Netflix series “Bridgerton,” set in the Regency era. The sketch is about being in a relationship while in love with someone else. The Second City player guides the audience along.
“The ‘Bridgerton’ sketch is one of my favorites,” Cheyne said. “The audience loves that one, as well.”
Another sketch focuses on a couple with one who goes over the top with anniversary gifts while the other forgets the big date.
“It happens in more relationships than you think,” Cheyne said. “The sketch is something that is more relatable than you think. We have some fun with this.”
What’s most refreshing for the cast is that each show is different, since every night is performed in front of a new audience.
“That’s one of the best parts of this show,” Cheyne said. “It’s always fresh. It helps when you’re performing, since it’s never the same old show. We react to what is happening and we have to pay attention, or it won’t work as well. And it’s fascinating what we learn each night. I’m surprised every night. I still can’t believe the percentage of people who meet on apps.”
So how did Cheyne and her partner meet?
“Not through an app, believe it or not,” she said. “We met through improv. He’s a fellow improviser. We had shows and we performed together. We got together after working together, and we've been together for seven years.“
Cheyne, 31, and her boyfriend are not the epitome of an improv couple, in other words they fail to say “yes and ...” with each exchange.
“We say no at times,” she said. “But we say ‘yes’ often, and the best part is that our relationship is very playful and we have a lot of laughs even though we didn’t meet through an app.”
Cheyne is not the average millennial, since she has settled down. Many people her age are commitment phobes.
“It’s the truth,” she said. “Committing to a person is like a horror movie for so many millennials. And then there is marriage, which is why so many people are reluctant to jump into.”
Aside from the possibility of divorce, the rising cost of the ceremony and its trappings is why so many are reluctant to get hitched.
“Who can pay for a wedding these days,” Cheyne said.
It’s much more affordable to catch “The Second City Swipes Right. ”
“What’s fun about our show is that it’s funny and unpredictable,” Cheyne said. “It’s a good time. Which is what can’t be said about every relationship.”