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Lunchbox Live

The cast of a new sketch comedy show The Lunchbox: Live is ready for their debut on Friday. 

Get these three comedians into a room and you’ll overhear some pointed jokes.

One guys suggests a sketch about race and another one tells them to shut up. They hear a ding, and check the group text message on their respective phones. Whatever they’re reading, they reference a “dumb question” and let out a collective laugh.

That’s how it goes when Todd Willhite, Steve Jennings and Anthony Natarelli are around the table.

“That’s how we are able to be creative, by making fun of eachother,” Natarelli, 22, said. “We don’t let any one of us take ourselves too seriously.”

Don’t any feelings get hurt along the way?

“We don’t have feelings,” Jennings quips. “That’s how comedy works.”

But that’s not the only style of funny the group has in store.

Jennings prefers dry humor, with a hint of sarcasm, and tries to not go too far. And Willhite likes to go too far.

“I like to say that thing that no one else will say,” Willhite, 35, said. “I like to cause a reaction.”

They’ll unleash their collaborative comedy on Friday at The Speakeasy in Rock Island with a new sketch show, called The Lunchbox: Live.

Natarelli, who has been a regular on the stage in the Quad-Cities, created the show after seeing a void in the area.

“It’s unique in the sense that it’s the first of its kind in a way,” he said. “It’s a mix of a lot of people’s jokes and voices and different styles of comedy.”

With six writers, ranging from 18 to 38 years old, the subject matter turns out to be diverse as well.

Within the 75-minute show, there are sketches about high school drama, a parody of Netflix’s “Making a Murderer,” shout-outs to Wall Street and Superman and at least one joke about vaping.

“We try to keep it relevant,” Jennings said.

Natarelli and his team of writers and actors have performed in improv groups and stand-up comedy shows, but the sketch show brings its own flavor.

"It's kind of something you'd see on 'Saturday Night Live' (SNL)," Jennings said. "It's a series of thoughtful, scripted scenes that each have their own thing going on." 

The group hopes to make the show a monthly or weekly happening at The Speakeasy. 

"We call it the lunchbox because there's this mix of stuff going on," Natarelli said. "It's a grab bag of obscure, funny ideas with a pinch of social commentary and self-indulgence.”   


Amanda Hancock is a reporter covering food, arts and entertainment in the Quad-Cities (and beyond).