Review: You’ve Heard of Dinner Theater, Now Make Way for Brunch Theater—With Clowns

The article and photos are by Bruce Kong.

Brunch continues to play a dominant role in the daily meal system, as a combined breakfast and lunch, it’s a blend of ingredients that brings people to the table for a special meal. It’s about experiencing new tastes, enjoying the comfort of friends, or if you’re like me, sitting in the sun with a mimosa in one hand and a Bloody Mary in the other.

It can be bland or tedious, and sometimes change is a good thing. That’s where chef Evan Richter and his team of talented “clowns” come into the picture.

Hot Clown Company introduces Chicago to a wonder of sparkling drinks, a tasty menu and a live show containing fun-filled episodes of comedy. It’s not bizarre by any means, but rather it’s shedding light on a riveting brunch experience like never before.

The show takes place at an art center called Clash on Clark; the first floor is a restaurant named My Buddy’s, and the second floor is an intimate room with tables, chairs, and a stage where the magic happens.

As I sit down, a server with a fluffy red ball nose arrives at the table with orange juice in one hand and champagne in the other and poured me a generous glass. I know immediately that I am going to enjoy everything.

The show begins with lights dimmed and three individuals wearing chef coats, chef hats and fluffy red ball noses. Then, the host greets his audience as he introduces us to the afternoon event—educating us briefly on brunch and emphasizing its importance to the performance.

Each scene makes you laugh and redirects your attention to the menu.

My personal favorite, “Charcuuuuuuuuterie Board” (yes that’s how they spell it on their menu), consists of the server, Giuseppe, slowly entering from behind the side curtains with salami, cheese, crackers and lettuce sitting on top of a thin, lengthy plank. He holds it over his head; the audience laughs and sits in awe of how mobile Giuseppe is—holding the plank of food while serving his guests.

Chef Richter and his team are in sync when it comes to putting a show together, and while it’s not improv, they certainly know how to respond to audience members who throw out phrases that are not a part of the act.

It’s not just comedy at its peak either. There is a reason why every chair in that small, intimate room is filled, and it has to do with innovation. For instance, I learn that you can bake a cake on stage without an oven.

All it takes is mini Ziplock bags of flour mix, water, butter, a silver spoon and a lighter in your pocket—if you have a spare plastic cup, then you have your mixing bowl. 

You take all your ingredients, mix them in the plastic cup, and you get cake batter. But that’s not the innovative part; what happens next is you take your spoon, heat the bottom with your pocket lighter, and sizzle on a bit of butter. Take a dollop of plastic-cup cake batter, cook it on the spoon, flip it and you have “Cumm’s Cakes”!

Be forewarned, because when you heat a spoon from underneath, it doesn’t look like you’re cooking up cake–it looks like you’re cooking up heroin. This is exactly what chef Evan intended to portray; he inserts a bit of dark humor in making Cumm’s Cakes.

But the fun didn’t stop there. Bloody Mary comes on stage and takes over. Think of this as your typical exorcist scene where a demonic spirit possesses the actor. This may explain why the menu specifically said, “We do NOT serve Bloody Mary.” It all ties together now.

Long story short, Bloody Mary takes over, chef Evan and his team exorcise her, and everyone has a happy ending. It is gory, entertaining and thrilling. In case you’re wondering, no, we didn’t get to drink Bloody Marys in the end.

You might think that brunch at a restaurant or cafe is your ideal dining style, but attending a Hot Clown Brunch is worth your time and money. The food is decent: scrambled eggs, tater tots, pancakes and fruit are always delicious. However, there isn’t anything innovative about the meal that chef Evan and his team cook (except for the cakes). But one thing is for sure, you can’t top a live show.

Hot Clown Company will host their next show on Saturday, September 9, from 12 to 1:30pm; doors open at 11:45am, at Clash on Clark, 4416 N. Clark St., Suite 2, above My Buddy’s.

Bruce is a native Wisconsinite who moved to Chicago in January 2023. He focuses on food writing and restaurant reviews, but looks to branch out and write for other topics of interest when the moment presents itself. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2022 with his BFA in Writing and ApplIed Arts.

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