I missed the “Blood Moon” because by the time I heard about it (yes, under a rock), it was over. It felt like when you hear about a show of bucket list proportions after it’s sold out or left town. In the spirit of preventing further epic disappointments, here are
twelve thirteen* shows you should secure now. It’s too early to list them on my Comedy Calendar, but not too early to buy tickets. I predict they’ll sell out soon.
1. Saturday, October 17: Brian Posehn and Dan Telfer at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 7:30 p.m.
Brian Posehn is a comedic triple threat, known for his stand-up, acting and writing. His work includes Mission Hill, Mr. Show, The Sarah Silverman Program and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. He is also the co-author of graphic novels and of Hollywood Said No! with David Cross and Bob Odenkirk.
Dan Telfer is from Chicago’s south suburbs and began his career at Second City and Chicago Underground Comedy before moving to L.A. He is now an Emmy award-winning writer on @Midnight and this week released his third album, Ocean of Panic. He has been stopped on streets around the world by fans of his viral video, “The Best Dinosaur.”
2. Wednesday, October 28: Luncheon with Norman Lear at The Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson, Blvd., 11:30 a.m.
The creator of Sanford and Son, All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons and Mary Hartman Mary Hartman talks about his life in television.
3. Thursday, October 29: Jay Leno at The Genesee Theater 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan,7:30 p.m., and …
Friday, October 30 at The Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora, 8:00 p.m.
Two rare opportunities to see this true titan of comedy.
4. Friday, October 30: Aasif Mandvi at the Chicago Humanities Festival, Thorne Auditorium, Northwestern University Law School, 375 E. Chicago Ave., 8:00 p.m.
The Daily Show correspondent discusses his book No Land’s Man. This program is sold out, BUT there are still two possible ways to get a ticket. Call (312) 494-9509 to be added to the wait list (which will close when it reaches capacity). Or if you’re in your 20’s or 30’s, consider the Shortlist Package for young professionals which includes a ticket to this event.
5. Friday, October 30: David Sedaris at The Auditorium Theater, 50 E. Congress Parkway, 8:00 p.m.
David Sedaris often shows up early to chat with fans in the lobby.
6. Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31: Kristen Wiig at The Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport, 8:00 p.m.
Kristen Wiig comes to the Music Box for opening weekend of her latest film, Nasty Baby and for a Q and A.
7. Saturday, November 7: Patton Oswalt at the Chicago Humanities Festival, UIC, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd., 8:00 p.m.
He is known for his stand-up comedy and for his multiple film and television roles (Ratatouille, Bojack Horseman, The Goldbergs, Veep), but his cinephilia made him a bestselling author. Patton Oswalt will discuss his books Silver Screen Fiend and Zombie Spaceship Wasteland with former NPR host Alison Cuddy who is now the Associate Artistic Director of the Chicago Humanities Festival.
8. Sunday, November 22: Steve Martin and Martin Short in “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life” at The Rosemont Theater, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont, 7:00 p.m.
Forget?! Unlikely. Steve-Martin-Short in an evening of stand-up, music, film clips and conversation about their lives in comedy.
9. Friday, December 4: Bridget Everett at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln, 10:00 p.m.
One of the happiest things I’ve ever been able to do was seeing Bridget Everett at the Funny or Die Oddball Comedy Fest. She was the only not-yet-a-household-name on a bill that included Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari, Jeff Ross, Jay Pharaoh and Nick Kroll. I was amazed to see audience members leaving in the middle of all those comedians’ sets to get snacks and drinks and what-have-you. But not during Bridget Everett. There is nothing I can say and no video I can post to do justice to the way she burst onto the stage at Tinley Park and took 18,000 people by storm. If people got up, it was to cheer.
Her act is a music/comedy hybrid and I promise you that she is beyond your best imagination, a unique and positive comedic force like no other. Her voice rivals Janis Joplin. The lyrics are NC17. Her audience interaction left everyone breathless and one man shoeless.
Googling Bridget Everett will not suffice. You have to see her in person.
Her appearances include Inside Amy Schumer, 2 Broke Girls, Sex and the City, Trainwreck, comedy festivals around the country and Montreal’s Just for Laughs. Her Comedy Central special Gynecological Wonder is available on demand. Describing one of her New York City performances, The Village Voice called her the “most exciting performer in New York City” and reported that, “the room [lost] its collective mind” which is a good description of what happened at Tinley Park, except that it was no room, it was a freakin’ gargantuan amphitheater.
10. Thursday, December 10: Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport, 8:00 pm.
Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher were each developing successful comedy careers when they met at an open mic in Chicago. They have since moved to L.A., become engaged, and continued their meteoric rise both individually and as a couple. Cameron has appeared on The Marc Maron Show, on his WTF podcast and on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson where his other guest, Jay Leno, called her “the future of comedy.” Earlier this month, Gary Marshall cast her in the 2016 release Mother’s Day with Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts.
Rhea is a frequent guest on Kumail Nanjiani’s X-files Files and on Dan Harmon’s Harmontown. Rhea and Cameron are co-hosts of the popular podcasts, Wham Bam Pow and Put Your Hands Together. They also frequently tour together as they will this winter. The rest of the country is fast learning why they are much loved in Chicago. Their loyal fan base here is sure to snap up every ticket long before they arrive.
11. Wednesday, December 30, 7:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m. and Thursday, December 31, 7:00 p.m.: John Oliver at The Chicago Theater, 175 N. State St.
Additional show already added. Tickets seem to be selling fast to see this former Daily Show Correspondent and host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight.
12. Friday, November 6-Saturday November 7: 5th Annual Chicago Comedy Film Festival, at The New400 Theater, 6746 N. Sheridan Rd.
Check out this year’s line-up. It sounds like tickets to several screenings are already selling fast. Alum films in the video above.
13. Friday, November 6: John Cleese at The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 7:30 p.m. Oh no I didn’t leave John Cleese off the original twelve! Subconsciously, I just didn’t want to figure out how to spell Athenaeum. I can’t think of any other explanation. He is as fabulous in person as on stage as on the small screen as on the big screen. He comes to Chicago as part of his Not Dead Yet: John Cleese has written a book! tour. Definite candidate for all tickets selling out soon.
Only problem : the Q and A.The audience asked nice friendly questions.It’s much better for Eric and me if people ask mean-spirited ones.OK ?
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) October 2, 2015
Thank you Sarasota ! Very good first show – three separate standing ovations.Wondering if any London newspapers sent someone to pan it !!
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) October 2, 2015