Your Chicago comedy calendar for October 12-18

EPIC Fest kicks off this week! It’s the Edison Park Infectious Comedy Fest which runs from Tuesday, October 13 to Sunday, October 18. If features some monster Chicago comedy greats, so be sure to check it out. Three of the Fest’s headliners kindly took time for an interview here.

Later this week, Chicago favorites Dan Telfer and Brian Posehn visit Beat Kitchen in a perfect double bill.

There are two shows coming to an end. You won’t want to miss either of them: Defiant Thomas Brothers and Funnyman. Defiant Thomas Brothers’ last show is on October 23. Funnyman, starring Tim Kazurinsky and George Wendt ends on October 25.

Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio has an interview with Marz Timms on Wednesday morning. He is known for his stand-up, his improv AND as the voice of Jax in the Mortal Kombat video game. He’ll be opening for Jeremy Hotz at the Improv later this week.

“Funny Ha Ha” returns. It’s a chance to meet some of the personalities who make this such a creative town. Last but never least, the famed Lincoln Lodge, which launched many a comic, is holding a fundraiser. The Lincoln Lodge is a not-for-profit dedicated to Chicago comedians (and to paying them!) and deserves all the support it can get.

Speaking of support, support the weekly showcases! Each one confirms that Chicago is the comedy capital of the world.

As always, if you have an event you would like me to add now or in the future, please email me at

Please confirm all details in case anything has changed and also because by the end, I was lying on the floor in a dead faint. This calendar covers only a fraction of Chicago comedy, so definitely look at venues’ complete listings.

Thank you for stopping in. If you liked this post, please share it and help spread the word. I’m also on Facebook at Comedians Defying Gravity.

Thank you to the Chicago comedy community. There’s not another city in the world where all this is possible.


“Unlock Your Creativity in 90 Minutes or Less” featuring Brian Babylon at Chicago Ideas Week at Venue SIX10, 610 S. Michigan, 7:00 p.m. Brian Babylon “on crafting the perfect joke.” Panel also includes a mathematician, a songwriter and other artists. Sold out as of this writing, but CIW encourages checking in close to the event. Additional tickets may be released. Brian will be on Windy City Live this morning at 11:00 a.m.

“Sadsacks and Wisecracks” at High Hat Club, 1920 W. Irving Park Rd., 8:00 p.m. Weekly showcase hosted by Natalie Jose. Natalie is a cast member of Chicago Underground Comedy, starred in the OWN network’s My Life is a Joke and was one of the great Chicago comedians on Last Comic Standing this summer.

“100 Proof Comedy” at Comedy Sportz, 929 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. Showcase this week features Diane Arden, Shannon Noll, Sam Gordon, Mike Timlin, Amy Sumpter.

“Snapshots” with Kevin Naughton at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Comedians talk about what makes them snap in our world of idiocy. Expect varying degrees of volume and intensity.


EPIC Fest at Moretti’s Ristorante, 6727 N. Olmsted Ave., 8:00 p.m. Edison Park Infectious Comedy Festival kicks off its seventh year. This festival, which runs through Sunday, October 18, is truly epic. Check out the entire line-up of Chicago comedians who have appeared on every late night show, Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me,  Last Comic Standing, Seinfeld, Comedy Central … the list goes on and on.  Not to be missed. Kelsie Huff, Tim Barnes and Marty DeRosa, three of the Fest’s headliners, were kind enough to speak with me here. Tonight’s line up: Marty DeRosa, Ali Clayton, Tom Garland, James Zekis, Miles Hendrix.

“BOSS Ladies Night” at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m.  “Hosted by Amy Haeussler and Kristen Tallon, BOSS is a weekly all-female variety show celebrating Chicago’s most talented female improvisers, stand-ups, storytellers, musicians, performance artists and more!”

Chris Thayer at @North Bar, 1637 W. North, 8:00 p.m. Chris Thayer writes with Pete Holmes and has appeared on You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes. He has also been counted in many “best of” articles, including Splashlife’s “30 under 30 comedians to watch,” Funny or Die’s “The funniest dudes” and’s “Funniest Tweets.”

“Seven Deadly Sins” at Café Mustache, 2313 N. Milwaukee Ave., 8:00 p.m. “Performers tell stories on theme of a seven deadly sin or its virtue … storytelling, narrative essay, monologue, comedy, creative fiction, excerpt, poetry, bad memories, therapeutic rants, confessions and more!” Line-up: Sean White, Dana Jerman, Natalie Jose, Elizabeth Gomez, Angela Vela, Archy Arch J.

104th Mainstage Revue at The Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. Directed by Jeff-award winning Director Ryan Bernier. Shows throughout the week.

Tom Rhodes at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Tom Rhodes has starred in his own sitcom, Mr. Rhodes, and in multiple television specials. He does stand-up around the world and was a travel writer for The Huffington Post. HP named one of his stories, about doing stand-up in Ireland, one of the top ten of 2011. He brings comedy to every medium and is also known for his popular podcast, Tom Rhodes Radio, named “Best Newcomer” by the Onion A.V. Club when it began. Shows throughout the week.

Chicago Underground Comedy at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. Tonight’s line-up: Martin Morrow, Kristin Clifford, Chad Briggs, Derek Smith, Ashley Huck, Bobby Condon.


Marz Timms interview with Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio, 8:15 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Chicago-based actor and comedian Marz Timms speaks with Tony Carr and Steve Touhy. Marz is a nationally touring comedian who performs both stand-up and improv. He is the creator of the comedy troupe Pimprov. Marz opens for Jerely Hotz at the Improv this weekend.  Tune in to Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio online or download the app and listen anywhere!

Tom Arnold at “Cultural Icons: You know the headlines. Now learn the truth,” Chicago Ideas Week, Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, 4:00 p.m. Best friends, partners, spouses talk about their relationships with famous people. Tom Arnold talks about his relationship – nope, not with Roseanne –  with New York Times journalist David Carr. Also featuring Hunter S. Thompson’s former assistant and a journalist who discussed Bohemian Rhapsody’s meaning with Freddy Mercury.

According to the CIW site, this talk will be live-streamed by ABC7 Chicago.

“Funnyman” at the Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, 1:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

EPIC Fest at Edison Park Inn, 6715 N. Olmsted, 8:00 p.m. Epic comedy continues. Tonight’s line up: Pat McGann, Ronnie Ray, Natalie Jose, and Aaron Sutherland. More TBA.

“Drunk Science” at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. The science behind the shenanigans. Hosted by Sean Flannery.

“Flabby at the Abbey” at The Abbey, 3420 W. Grace, 8:00 p.m.  Showcase produced and hosted by Ricky March.

“The Social Takeover” at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. A panel of comedians will take over your Facebook page and social media. After it’s over, you may have to move with no forwarding address, but you will have made lots of memories. No worries. Volunteers only.

Tom Rhodes at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m.

“Comedians You Should Know” at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., 9:00 p.m. Line-up TBA. Showcase title says it all.


Jeremy Hotz interview with Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio. Tune in between 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. to hear Tony Carr and Steve Touhy interview Jeremy Hotz, who is headlining at The Improv tonight and through the weekend.

Jeremy Hotz at The Improv, 5 Woodfield Rd., Mall Store K1 20B, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. Canadian Jeremy Hotz is a multi-award winning comedian who has appeared on Late Night with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and starred in the Comedy Central mini-series Married Life. He loves to talk about misery. His last tour was called “Magical Misery Tour,” but actually made audiences very happy. More shows throughout the weekend.

EPIC Fest at Emerald Isle, 6686 N. Northwest Highway, 8:00 p.m. Tonight’s EPIC line up: Jeannie Doogan, Justin Golak, Felonious Munk, Ricky Gonzalez, Kristen Toomey.

Jeff Richards at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. Jeff Richards has been a cast member of both Saturday Night Live and MADtv, one of only two comedians to stake that claim. (Taran Killam is the other.) His comedy has also been featured on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Comics Unleashed.  The evening will feature Adam Burke (Chicago Reader’s “Best Stand-Up” 2014, Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me) and is hosted by Abi Sanchez.

“Soul Brother, Where Art Though?” at Second City, 1608 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. The e.t.c.’s 39th revue covers the ups, the downs and the scares of modern life from technology to the miscreant voices in our heads to peanut allergies. Come, let it resonate!  Shows throughout the weekend.

Geoff Tate and Emma Arnold at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. Cincinnati comedian Geoff Tate has appeared on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham and is a regular on Doug Stanhope’s shows Getting Doug with High and Doug Loves Movies. He has a podcast, Afternoon, Everybody which is devoted to Cheers. Emma Arnold is from Idaho. She is a comedian, author, film festival producer, Moth Story Slam runner-up and a beekeeper.  

“Just Dickin’ Around” All Ladies Showcase at Hydrate, 3458 N. Halsted, 8:30 p.m. The JDA showcase has top-of-the-line Chicago comics and is “a women-run, queer-friendly showcase that provides a safe, supportive space with a positive energy for our performers and guests.” Enough reason to go, but also: free pizza!

Tom Rhodes at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m.

“Stag./Dog/Meridian” at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:30 p.m. Meridian, one of iO’s top Harold teams, with guests.

Stand Up Stand Up at The Crocodile, 1540 N. Milwaukee Ave., 9:00 p.m. Weekly showcase acclaimed by and The Chicago Tribune.

Parlour Car at Bar DeVille, 701 N. Damen, 9:00 p.m. Free weekly showcase produced by Adam Burke, Stephanie Hasz, Matty Ryan and the Puterbaugh Sisters. Chicago’s talented comedians plus unexpected guests from around the country. Check site or Twitter for line-up.

“The Wiggle Room” at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 9:30 p.m. Comedy/burlesque brought to you by Michelle L’amour (Burlesque Hall of Fame) and hosted by Adam Burke. (The Reader’s Best Stand-Up in Chicago (2014), Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me.)


“Messing with a Friend” at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 10:30 p.m. Susan Messing’s guest tonight is Second City’s Dana Quercioli.


“Funny Ha-Ha” at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 6:30 p.m. A line-up of Chicago originals: Steve Gadlin of  Steve Gadlin’s Starmakers and I Want to Draw a Cat for You (as seen on Shark Tank), the kates’ Kelsie Huff, author Rebecca Makkai, Pop Goes Alicia’s Alicia Swiz, filmmaker Steve Delahoyde, Schadenfreude’s Kate James.

The Defiant Thomas Brothers at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 7:30 p.m. Must see these winners of HBO’s Aspen Comedy Festival’s “Best Sketch Group.” Second to last show tonight. Don’t miss it!


“The Day Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Nearly Killed Me” at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 7:30 p.m. “In 2010, Angie McMahon was six months pregnant. She organized the Rally to Restore Sanity in Chicago … In 38 days she got $ 25,000 donated, permits from the city, and a Jumbotron. 7,000 people showed up to the event and about 4,000 left before it ended (but not before each and every one of them screamed at her for various reasons). This is her story.”

Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy at the Peoria Civic Center, 201 S.W. Jefferson, Peoria, 7:30 p.m. Two of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour’s stars reunite for their “We’ve Been Thinking Tour.” Jeff Foxworthy’s signature bit is “You might be a redneck if …” But don’t let the flashy good ole boy humor dissuade you. This comedy succeeds on both sides of the Mason Dixon Line.

EPIC Fest at The WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 8:00 p.m. Epic weekend ahead. Tonight’s line up: Tim Barnes, Lara Beitz, Michael Larimer, Lance Allen, Tony Valle. For 10 p.m. show, see below.

The Lincoln Lodge Showcase at Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. One of Chicago’s most classic, longest running showcases. Performers have included Hannibal Buress, TJ Miller, Cameron Esposito, Amy Schumer, Natasha Leggero, Kristen Schaal, Janeane Garofalo, Marc Maron and Fred Armisen. Comedians range from the nationally known to the future nationally known.

Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio at PT’s on 66, 113 E. Baltimore St., Wilmington at 8:00 p.m. Your headliner Russ Williamson came to Chicago in 2005 to do comedy and landed on Chicago Fire, Boss (with Kelsey Grammar) and on the big screen in Contagion.  Hosted by Matt Drufke. Featuring: Joe Degand and Kat Rybarski. Free show.

Jeff Richards at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m.

Jeremy Hotz at The Improv, 5 Woodfield Rd., Mall Store K1 20B, Schaumburg, 8:00 p.m., 10:15 p.m.

“Funnyman” at the Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, 8:00 p.m.

EPIC Fest at The WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 10:00 p.m. Late, but still epic: Junior Stopka, Erica Nicole Clark, Andrew Halter, Claire Swanson, Dave Metz.

Cleatis Allen Jr. and Princeton Dew at Jokes and Notes, 4641 S. King Dr., 8:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

 Tom Rhodes at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m.


Lincoln Lodge’s Lodgetoberfest at Young Camelot, 2733 W. Hirsch, 6:00 p.m. Fundraiser for The Lincoln Lodge. Support this Chicago comedy imperative which seeks to attract the city’s and country’s best comedians and to pay them, despite being a not-for-profit organization. If you support Chicago comedy, this is a great way to show it. Evening features music, comedy and prizes.

Tom Rhodes at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 7:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m., 11:15 p.m.

Jeremy Hotz at The Improv, 5 Woodfield Rd., Mall Store K1 20B, Schaumburg, 7:00 p.m., 9:15 p.m.

Jeff Richards at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m.

“Funnyman” at the Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, 2:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m.

“Mind-Boggling Variety Show” with Andy Gross at The Genesee Theater, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan, 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Andy Gross is a comedian, magician and ventriloquist who can throw his voice far and accurately. Jay Cutler could learn something. 

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 last week released his third album, Ocean of Panic, which immediately rose to the top of the charts.


“Blackout Diaries” at High Hat Club, 1920 W. Irving Park Rd., 8:00 p.m.

Junior Stopka at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. Even judge Norm McDonald was angry when Last Comic Standing let Junior Stopka go this past summer. “Never had seen a comic who looked or sounded like Junior” is what he said. Junior Stopka is a Chicago original and a favorite. The Chicago Reader said he “brings his ‘A game’ to every show” when it named him Best Stand Up Comedian in 2010.

EPIC Fest at The WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 8:00 p.m. Epic line up tonight: Marty DeRosa, Dwayne Kennedy, Mike Sheehan, Darius Kennedy.

Cleatis Allen Jr. and Princeton Dew at Jokes and Notes, 4641 S. King Dr., 8:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

EPIC Fest at The WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 10:00 p.m. Late night epic: Dwayne Kennedy, Ronnie Ray, Mike Sheehan, Darius Kennedy.


“Sunday Morning Stories” at Second City, 1608 N. Wells, 10:00 a.m.  For new and seasoned storytellers with opportunities for storytellers-to-be. Second City says: “Watch the show, then sign up to perform at a future date.” Note: more serious than other Second City events, but you can count on the good storytelling to connect and uplift. No doubt there’ll be humor, too.  Please click to learn how to sign up for a slot. Hosts: Kevin D’Ambrosio, Justin Flowers, Lauren Huffman, David Slattery, Billy Sullivan and Ranjit Souri who is the creator and executive producer of the show. Technical Director: Zach Stinnett

“Sunday Morning Stories” is followed by …

“The Sunday Morning Open Mic” at Second City, 1608 N. Wells, 11:00 a.m. Please click to learn how to sign up for a slot. Hosts: Adam Bowman, Kevin D’Ambrosio, Justin Flowers, James Knowles, Val Jencks and creator and executive producer, Sanjit Souri. Technical Director: Zach Stinnet

The Therapy Players at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, 2:00 p.m. One performance only! “Professional psychologists by day, they’ve been performing together as an improv troupe since 2013 at mental health conferences as well as theaters and clubs. Their revue “Phobia Shmobia” won a standing ovation at the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, and they brought down the house at the International Society for the Study of Self Injury, where they performed at the happy hour. In July, they beat out 15 improv troupes to win the Collider Improv Competition at Theater Momentum. Their appearances in Oak Park and Evanston have repeatedly sold out in advance, so don’t miss their first appearance at Stage 773!”  The big question: will my insurance cover it?

 “Funnyman” at the Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, 2:30 p.m.

Improv Nerd at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, 5:00 p.m. Jimmy Carrane interviews actor, director, writer and teacher Irene Marquette.

EPIC Fest’s All-Irish Show at The Curragh, 6705 N. Northwest Highway, 7:00 p.m. The EPIC at the end of the rainbow: Kelsie Huff, Adam Burke, Jim Flannigan, Sean Flannery, C.J. Sullivan.

Jeremy Hotz at The Improv, 5 Woodfield Rd., Mall Store K1 20B, Schaumburg, 7:00 p.m.

Jenny McCarthy’s “Dirty, Sexy, Funny” at The Genesee Theater, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan, 7:00 p.m. Comedians Tami Pescatelli, Lynne Koplitz, Paula Bel and April Macie join Jenny McCarthy to laugh about “the funny female facts of life.” Not for the kids.

“Improvised Kurt Vonnegut: A New Novel Every Week” at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 7:00 p.m. Kurt Vonnegut with some comedic license taken. Prior reading not required.

Dave Huntsberger at @North Bar, 1637 W. North, 8:00 p.m. Dave Huntsberger is part of the podcast Professor Blastoff with Tig Notaro. He is a regular on Doug Stanhope’s Doug Loves Movies and has been a guest on Marc Maron’s WTF.  His new podcast Space Cave premiered in September and has already earned an enthusiastic review from the A.V. Club. Also featuring the Puterbaugh Sisters and Kevin White.

Comedy of Chicago Showcase at Henry’s, 18 W. Hubbard, 8:00 p.m. A showcase curated by

“Tribulation: The Musical” at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. An irreverent, apocalyptic look at a post-Rapture world and what happens to your desk job when the Book of Revelations comes true.

“Mom Genes Gets Spooky” at 2257 Irving Park Rd., 8:00 p.m. The monthly “Mom Genes” showcase presents a character by Kristin Clifford, stand-up by Kristin Ryan, Rebecca V. O’Neal and David Philips. Headliner: Reena Calm. Hosted by Kristin Ryan, Carma Nibarger and Alexandra Tsarpalas.  “There will be terrifying tales of online dating, being late on rent, and other spoooooooky topics.”

Tom Rhodes at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m.

“For Those Who Can’t” at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 9:00 p.m. “A celebration of Black Lives through comedic and dramatic storytelling, spoken word, improvisation and sketch performed by a diverse and talented lineup. Hosted by Maya Haughton and Allison Reese.”



I’d love to have you as a subscriber. Please type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam, spam, spam, spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Leave a Reply