Deck the Hallmark – A Fun Holiday Parody

(L-R) Sarah Lo, T.J. Thomas, Karla Serrato, Mitchell Fain, Morgan Van Dyne, Tina Arfaee. Photo by Timothy M. Schmidt.
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The winter season is my favorite time of the year. The festivities, the decor, and most importantly, the movies. You have your Hollywood films, the ones you watch every year; and then you have the ones that seem to premiere the whole month of December on your favorite TV networks and sometimes even become classics. Many follow the similar plot lines of love, family, with some magic sprinkled in. While so predictable, I can’t help but get sucked in to watch.  And I love it. 

These movies having the ability to grab my attention almost every weekend made me wonder what I would experience at one of The Second City’s seasonal shows;  Deck the Hallmark: A Greeting Card Channel Original. While I had attended sketch/improv shows, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I can say that I did not leave disappointed. 

(L-R) Sarah Lo, Karla Serrato, Morgan Van Dyne

Deck the Hallmark: A Greeting Card Channel Original returns to UP Comedy Club after the play’s smash run in 2019. Directed by Carisa Barreca, this holiday movie parody describes itself as, scorching send-up of the beloved holiday films that warm our hearts, wear out cliches, and keep former child actors employed. It’s all your favorite holiday “classics” in one place, trope’d out and presented by a cast fit for the 21st Century. The show features actors Tina Arafee, Mitchell J. Fain, Sarah Lo, Karla Serrato, TJ Thomas, and Morgan Van Dyne with musical direction by Lisa McQueen and stage manager Shannon Golden-Starr. New material for 2021 was written by Barreca, Edgar Blackmon and Marla Caceres.  “Deck the Hallmark will be an experience, a spectacle, and a new Second City tradition we share with our audiences for years to come.” says director and Second City alumna Carisa Barreca

Mitchell Fain

This spoof included improv with participation from the audience, a heroine, the romance, the token small town, a mysterious figure, and musical numbers with even a montage! You can’t have a holiday film without a montage to a popular tune. It’s just the rules right? It was fabulous, hilarious, and joyful. A great time, with a fantastic cast, make sure to check it out. Whether you love or hate the holiday movies, this show fits the bill and laughs are included. 

Schedule: Playing through January 2, 2022. Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm, Sundays at 3pm and 7pm

Tickets start at $39; or 312-337-3992


Covid Protocols: All patrons must provide proof of complete Covid-19 vaccination and wear a mask for the duration of their visit unless actively eating/drinking

Location: UP Comedy Club, 230 W North Avenue, Chicago

Photos by Timothy M. Schmidt


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