“I’m psyched to come back to Chicago, make sure everyone knows that. Start with that,” Steve Rannazzisi requests. It’s a valid request though: As star of FXX’s Chicago-set fantasy football comedy “The League” and tonight’s headliner at Zanies Chicago (1548 N. Wells) — and at Zanies Rosemont (5437 Park Place, Rosemont) Feb. 6-7 — the New York native is an honorary Chicagoan. “It’s probably my sixth or seventh time coming to Chicago,” he says. “[But] I’m at a different place in my life right now. I just had two boys and I’m struggling with disciplining and parenting and making sure they’re decent human beings. So there are a lot of examples of that [in my comedy].”
Chicagoans are equally psyched to have him. “[Chicago] fans feel ownership of the show in a way, and rightfully so,” he says. “There’s a special feeling — they always support me and want me to do well. So I try to get [here] as often as I can, the people are fantastic.” He laughs and adds, “They’re smart, which is different from a lot of cities.”
The sizable fan base (Rannazzisi has more than 105,000 Twitter followers) still comes as a shock to the comedian, even after six years playing Kevin MacArthur on “The League.” “We knew we were making each other laugh [on set], but we didn’t know if it was going to be funny to everyone else,” he says. For the seventh and final season, which airs this fall, Rannazzisi — who also writes for the show — has a plan for how he’d like the beloved series to end: “I envision everyone dying in a horrific situation — probably a fire — that Rafi [Jason Mantzoukas] causes,” he says. “You think we’re all dead and then Rafi surfaces with me in his arms and says something like, ‘We’ll never die; we’ll live forever.’ ”
I go to Gibsons [1028 N. Rush]. It’s where we hang out on the show. It’s one of my favorite places to destroy food.
Working with Christina Applegate was probably one of the highlights of my career. She has a photographic memory. I did like 12 episodes of ‘Samantha Who?’ and I’ve never seen anything like it. The year I did it she was struggling with breast cancer and she was a producer on the show — it was a single-camera show shooting, like, 30 hours a day. This woman is a superhero and she memorizes all these lines that just got handed to her. Meanwhile, I’m a big, super fat dumb-dumb who can’t make her day just a little bit easier by getting the scene done.
I can’t play myself right? Seth Rogan, is he around? He’s funny. Do I have to go see this movie? I’m not going to be supportive of it, I’d like to play myself, but I’d reluctantly go see Seth Rogan play me in a movie. [The movie’s tagline would be:] ‘These are true stories I made up.’