I Attended Yelp Goes to Hogwarts with the Drinking Cup
On Tuesday, June 6, I headed over to Lakeview, a neighborhood of Chicago, to attend the Yelp Elite event: Yelp Goes to Hogwarts with the Drinking Cup. It was a night of revelry, alcoholic butterbeer, House pride, and utter irreverence.
The show took place at Under the Gun, a tiny improv theater on the second floor of a building a few blocks away from baseball stadium Wrigley Field.
Jeremy Adler — who gives tours of the U Boat at the Museum of Science and Industry for his day job — is the showrunner and host for the House Cup at Under the Gun. He’s a Ravenclaw who’s run two previous iterations of the House Cup as well as been an ensemble member since March 2016. Yelp’s Chicago community director Alex Shebar fell in love with one of the House Cup shows and asked if Under the Gun would be interested in hosting a Yelp Elite event.
Under the Gun jumped at the opportunity to work with Yelp for this event, as this was the perfect way to showcase the theater to the Chicago community. Under the Gun is a walk-up improv theater that specializes in the pop culture comedy genre. Appropriately, some of its other shows are “Sext in the City” and “Save Ferris: The Unofficial Sequel to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” All the performers are incredibly talented and enthusiastic, and spending a night surrounded by laughter and comedy was spectacular.
The House Cup was a spin-off of another Under the Gun show called Wizengamot, which was a Harry Potter-themed debate night. The Wizengamot ran from August 2016 until December 2016 and covered topics like “Was Albus Dumbledore a Good Headmaster?” or “Which Death Eater Would You Be?” That was the impetus of the House Cup show, which also took on different, interactive, entertaining elements.
The House Cup is a Harry Potter game show and drinking show. While the Yelp Elite event was a little different than normal, it followed the same preliminary steps. Once audience members arrive, they are Sorted into their Houses. Then they get stickers with their House mascot as well as one drink ticket they can use to purchase a non-alcoholic or alcoholic butterbeer. The House members in the audience work with the prefects on stage to get the House Cup at the end of the night.
On stage were Jeremy, four improv performers who took up the roles of House prefects, two Ministry of Magic officials who judge the prefects, and a Muggle Liaison who awards House points to the audience members. The event was part comedy show, part trivia, and part audience participation. They had a few themed drinks that night: alcoholic butterbeer (made up of Disaronno amaretto liqueur and cream soda), the Dirty Weasley (Jameson and ginger ale), and Voldmalort (a shot of malort).
The rest of the theater was set up with rows of chairs that audience members sat in. Each row had tables with the House Cup write-in slips, but the first row was the best spot in the house. My friend Laura and I ended up getting seated at the very front, which was a fantastic vantage point.
Throughout the night, the Muggle Liaison walked around the packed house, holding out a red Solo cup for us to drop our write-in slips. That red Solo cup was hilariously named the Red Solo Cup of Fire (I died every time the judges shouted that out throughout the night). Points were awarded based on Potter wear, participation, and general contribution to the mood of the theater community. And my, the entire house was packed. House capacity is 90 and the final headcount for the night was 73. It was definitely crowded, which made for a super intimate time. The audience members were made up of rabid Harry Potter fans as well as those who grew up alongside Harry Potter but weren’t as absorbed in the fandom.
The winner of the night was Ravenclaw. Hufflepuff — who had previously won six of the 19 of these Drinking Cup shows — came in at a close second. After Tuesday, Adler reported that the standings are: Hufflepuff – 6, Ravenclaw – 6, Slytherin – 5, and Gryffindor – 2.
Adler was really happy with the turnout. He said, “Our show is most fun when there is a dedicated and excited audience. The audience for the Yelp show was definitely that! From people cheering on their Prefects and fellow House members, to the two people who yelled “Shut up!” in response to a insult aimed at Ron Weasley, the audience was passionate and engaged. We have so much fun on stage every week and are looking forward to the rest of our run!”
I wholly recommend everyone check out the House Cup show. And maybe one of its many, many other shows that Under the Gun performs. The House Cup will be performed every Saturday in June and July, 7:30 p.m. at the theater (956 W Newport Ave, Chicago, IL).