The weekly “Improvised Double Dare” show at ComedySportz Theatre will be serving up a heaping pile of nostalgia Sunday, along with whatever messy concoction they decide to spill on the house improvisors.
Marc Summers — host of the popular 1980s and ’90s Nickelodeon kids game show known for incorporating slime, eggs and mashed potatoes into challenges — will guest-host the sold-out show at the Lakeview theater. What exactly his responsibilities include, Summers isn’t entirely sure. But he was so excited by the opportunity, he insisted on doing it for free.
“If I can help young performers, why not?” Summers said over the phone Monday. “When I started my career, there weren’t a lot of people who would go above and beyond the call of duty to make things happen. I’ve had a pretty good career. Things are fine. I’m sort of paying it forward.”
ComedySportz house team member Maureen Winston first reached out to Summers via Twitter. Once Summers knew when he would be in the Chicago area next (he will celebrate friend Charlie Blum’s 25th anniversary as talent booker at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, Ind., this weekend), he was able to commit to a date.
“Improvised Double Dare” features eight ComedySportz house team members split into two teams of four. They compete in improv, trivia and physical challenges, occasionally with the help of the audience.
“We’ve had marshmallows thrown on stage, balloons filled with confetti, a big ball pit and everything from pumpkin pies to erupting volcanoes made of mashed potatoes,” said “Improvised Double Dare” director and ComedySportz ensemble member Tim Whetham. “I’m on the committee to come up with the physical challenges for when Marc Summers is here, and we’re going overboard with the kind of mess we want to create.
“In the beginning we didn’t have a big audience, and it was easy to do physical challenges around the theater. But the show has been evolving and capturing an audience. We find that a lot of people are coming from the suburbs and bringing their children.”
Since “Double Dare” came to an end, Summers has had much of his success with Food Network, hosting “Unwrapped” and “The Next Food Network Star” and being an executive producer on “Restaurant: Impossible” and “Dinner: Impossible.”
Still, he gets approached often about his past life. While at a barbecue during the South Beach Wine & Food festival in Miami Beach, Summers said the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models on hand recognized him and told him they were “Double Dare” fans. Pop punk band Good Charlotte asked Summers to reprise his most famous role in its “Double Dare”-themed music video for “Last Night.”
“It’s fun to be a bit of a celeb to a certain age group,” Summers said.
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Improvised Double Dare
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: ComedySportz Theatre, 929 W. Belmont Avenue
Tickets: Sold out, comedysportzchicago.com