by Eric Stearley
Thursday Night Blues is back in action Feb. 13 as Chicago native Tim Cavanagh takes the Eagles Theatre stage at 7:30 p.m. B.I.S.C. B.O.Y.S. will continue the series on March 13, followed by Michael Palascak on April 17, but Cavanagh’s show will be the first in the series of the comedic performances as the winter comes to an end and a (hopefully) warmer spring begins.
Cavanagh grew up on the south side of Chicago. This makes him a white sox fan, which he says, “nobody chooses to be…you’re born into it.” Growing up, Cavanagh says he didn’t have much of a problem with bullies, because of two very useful skills, which he still possesses.
“I’ve always used humor. That’s how I survived as long as I have,” said Cavanagh. “I’ve been able to be funny, and I can run fast, so those are two really important skills that I had growing up, so I didn’t have any bully problems.”
Cavanagh graduated college with a degree in philosophy, which, in his words, “prepared me for…nothing.” He got a job teaching religion at an all girls’ catholic high school, a job that he says his humor helped with, but comedy was not something that Cavanagh saw in his future.
Cavanagh always saw himself “going into music as a singer/songwriter/ offbeat song kind of thing.” He got his start in performance playing on stage at his parish’s guitar mass.
“The serious songs that I wrote were really pretty awful, but fortunately, I also wrote funny songs, and people seemed to like those,” said Cavanagh.
“I wanted to perform,” said Cavanagh, “but I didn’t know that standup comedy was going to be the way.”
One night in 1979, while still teacher at the catholic school, he went to an open mic night at Zaney’s, a comedy club in Chicago. He didn’t have any jokes written, bringing only his guitar and the humorous songs that he had been working on.
“They really liked it and within a week, they were paying me,” said Cavanagh. “I came home and I told my wife, ‘I guess I’m gong to be a comedian.’ She said ‘I’m not sure I like comedians,’ and I said ‘I’m not sure I do either,’ but it all worked out.”
Eventually, Cavanagh landed a set on The Bob and Tom Show through an Indianapolis club called The Comedy Connection. They liked him so much, he played 11 songs during his first appearance, eventually becoming a weekly guest on the show. His “one-minute song” segment continued for nearly three years. Currently, he does a segment on the show called Tim Cavanagh’s Cavalcade of Celebrity Birthdays, a less musical, stand-up style series of jokes about...well…you know. For a preview of his comedic stylings, his next installment can be heard on the Feb. 13 broadcast, the morning of his performance at Eagles Theatre.
As far as the show that night, Cavanagh says that over the years, he’s moved more toward standup, but will still include a good amount of music in the show, including many of the hilarious songs for which he is known. He says it’s a great comedy show for people who may not be comfortable with the crude humor that tends to dominate the adult comedy clubs.
“They’re going to see a show that’s funny, and they won’t feel like they need to take a shower right afterward,” said Cavanagh. “I don’t write that nasty kind of stuff, but the show’s not for kids. Will they hear any swearing? Probably not, but they just won’t be very entertained if they come to the show. Kids won’t know what the heck I’m talking about. I’m writing for adults.”
As his show is the day before Valentine’s Day, he encourages couples of all types to come out for a fun and funny evening. He says that men and women seem to like his show equally well, and it’s not a show that will make a new couple “squirmy and uncomfortable.” He promises, “over $7 in prizes will be awarded during the show.”
Whether you go for a chance at the bounty of prizes or just for a few good laughs, the comedy starts at 7:30 p.m. and Tim Cavanagh is sure to get this year’s comedy series off to a sidesplitting start.