Jim Bennett has the key ingredients necessary for brilliant comedy: an obsession with all things political and ADD. A graduate of iO under Del Close and Second City’s Conservatory program, he has written and performed 6 revues with GayCo Productions, and an additional revue, ‘Weddings of Mass Destruction’ produced by Second City Theatricals. Bennett has performed at countless festivals and corporate gigs. He has appeared in comedy film shorts including three, ‘Baby Time Share’, ‘Old Maid’ and ‘Summer Sex’ that screened at festivals nationwide with premieres at OUTFest. In addition to writing sketch comedy, he writes speeches, scripts and sometimes produces programs for major events in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. And in the past, 2001 to 2005, Jim was the host of Windy City Radio, the voice of Chicago’s LGBT community, on WCKG-FM. Bennett holds an M.B.A. from the University of Illinois and a B.S. from Illinois State University and, since December 2000, has been holy unionized to the brilliant scientist, Dr. Terry Vanden Hoek, making him GayCo’s resident expert on long-term relationships. So far, so good!
John Bonny (Founding Ensemble Member)
Ed Garza (Founding Ensemble Member)
Martin Garcia (Director/Touring Performer)
John Loos is an actor, writer and director based in Chicago, IL, but he swears he’s not copying Andy. He has performed on two NCL ships for Second City at Sea, the Jewel and the Pride of America, which was great for him because he loves water and buffets. He trained at the iO Hollywood, iO Chicago and the Second City writing and music improv programs. He performs regularly with Laugh Out Loud Theater (Schaumburg, Il), performed in the 8th season of Maine’s singular comedy theater ImprovAcadia, is an ensemble member of GayCo Productions, and is an original cast member of the long-running underwear fashion show known as Skinprov. As a writer, he has written for many sketch comedy shows, including his two-woman show Jody’s Turn to Cry and GayCo’s The Audacity of Nope, and has written three one-act plays performed at the Annoyance. His true claim to fame, however, is writing and directing the first musical about killer queefs ever produced, called Earthqueef (Annoyance Productions). Other directing credits include his three one-act Annoyance plays and Gayrilla Warfare, the debut sketch revue from gay-straight sketch group The Alliance. He also loves his Xbox more than he can describe in words.
Jamie Newland hails from the great, gay-friendly state of Vermont. He graduated from Tufts University where he first started acting. In Atlanta, he studied improv and was an ensemble member at Whole World Theatre. In Chicago, he has graduated from Second City, IO, and the Annoyance, and perfomed improv all over Chicago. He has performed and written sketch comedy with his own groups Asterisks and NIXON.
(Resident Director, GayCo Productions)
1965 – 2006
Jim Zulevic, GayCo Productions Resident Director, died on January 7, 2006. Zulevic, a native Chicagoan, was an accomplished actor, director, improviser and writer. And Jim was funny…really funny. Jim Zulevic, a white, straight, irish catholic, south sider would not seem like the most likely director for a group created to promote the gay agenda. But he was perfect. As a director, he guided with an open hand; welcoming the opportunity to work with a group bringing a specific perspective. When asked in a recent interview about working with GayCo, he said “it’s probably not a bad idea to have someone like me who comes from a more objective place… having a different view on things can be good. I like doing that stuff a lot. I don’t need to do a show that’s an extension of a frat house. I like to learn new stuff as much as the next white, hetero male guy. Wait…let me rethink that last comment.”
Between 1999 – 2005, Zulevic directed two GayCo film shorts and five revues with an uncanny ability to make gay comedy universal. When cast member, Mary Beth Burns, brought in ‘Lesbian Death Bed’, a musical number featuring singing cats lamenting love without sex, Zulevic added two frat guys ‘across the street with binoculars’ shocked at the lack of action in the women’s bedroom.
GayCo, and for that matter the gay community itself, lost a great friend and leader. Jim Zulevic was a good guy that was passionate about civil rights and social justice. He knew that comedy gave underdogs a voice and that even the silliest of scenes have the potential to expand the narrowest of viewpoints.