Your Chicago comedy calendar for February 15-21

Much anticipated comedy news this week: Dobie Maxwell’s memoirs will be published in March. You’re invited to the launch party at Zanies on Wells on March 14 (Dobie’s birthday) which will include a show and a book signing. This will be a story of strength, heart, perseverance and comedy like you’ve never heard. It involves an Outlaw biker dad and drug addicted mom, some game changing grandparents, a catastrophic car accident and a best friend who robbed a bank in a gorilla suit and framed Dobie. Did the FBI believe it? Well, who would hold up a bank in a gorilla suit if not a comedian? The book, aptly titled Monkey in the Middle, is available for pre-order here. Tickets for launch party here.

Many other Chicagoans making comedy news, too. published an interesting article about women in comedy and named Cameron Esposito, who got her start at Chicago Underground Comedy, a voice of her generation. Read it here.

CBS announced that it is developing a sitcom pilot based on the play Superior Donuts by Steppenwolf playwright Tracy Letts. Jermaine Fowler, a very funny D.C. comedian who was just here last month, will star.

Second City announced that it will open the Harold Ramis Film School this fall. It will be the first film school in the world dedicated solely to comedy. If this stirs your dreams, apply here.

Visiting Chicago this week: Civil rights pioneer and comedian Dick Gregory and television writer and comedian Dan Harmon (Community) who brings his podcast Harmontown to the Park West.

Ticket alert: Scott Aukerman announced the Comedy Bang! Bang! Tour, which is due to stop in Chicago on May 20th. You can reserve your seat here.

Starting and ending with Dobie, a few weeks back I mentioned that Dobie organized a talk by Tom Dreesen at The Laugh Factory in January. This uplifting and inspiring afternoon was recorded on video and is now available here broken down into eight shorts.

Please confirm all show details below before heading out.

Thank you to the Chicago comedy community for giving us a city where there are long lists of original events every single night of the year. I’m able to list only a fraction, but these are some of my most coveted tickets this week. If you have an event or news for me to add, please email me at (don’t omit that “w”).



Awkward Phase Book Launch at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 7:00 p.m. A release party for Tyler Gillespie and Claire Linic’s book, Awkward Phase: The Uplifting Tales of Those Weird Kids You Went to School With. They’ll talk about how to turn your humor, be it online or off, into publishable material.

A Fundraiser for Donald Trump (To Get the Fuck Out of American Politics) at Public House Theatre, 3914 N. Clark, 8:00 p.m. For $ 2, you’ll enjoy sketch comedy and dine on the finest and best American cuisine, maybe the greatest of all time: hot dogs and chocolate chip cookies. Either The Donald or a convincing facsimile thereof is scheduled to appear. “All profits will be used to actively campaign against Donald Trump’s presidential effort. Really.”

“Best Night Ever” at the GMan Tavern, 3740 N. Clark, 8:00 p.m. Free showcase produced by Mike Cronin, Sam McHale, Mike Bobrinskoy, Thomas Brady and Dave Losso. Tonight Dave Losso hosts Mike Makings, Allison Dunne, Alex Kumin, Mike Knish, Liz Ziner, Cleveland Anderson and Jason Melton.

Visionaries: A Directing Showcase at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. Four Chicago directors each present a new short piece. See who’s up-and-coming and how different approaches and voices impact what you see on stage. Tonight’s directors: Sarah Ashley, Sarah Cowdery and Katie Klein. With castmembers Jo Scott, Meaghan Strickland, Dan White, Mary Catherine Curran, Chelsea Norment.

The Female Funnies at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. A showcase featuring Chicago’s funny women. Hosted by one of Chicago’s best, comedian Patti Vasquez, who is the host of WGN’s late night show, Pretty Late with Patti Vasquez.


Flat Iron Comedy at Collaboraction Theater, 1579 N. Milwaukee, 3rd Floor, 7:30 p.m. Features rotating house and guest improv teams plus stand up, music, storytelling and other artists. Free, but donations are appreciated and go to performers.

104th Mainstage Revue: “Fool Me Twice, Déjà Vu” at The Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. Directed by Jeff-award winning Director Ryan Bernier. The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones calls this show “exceptionally funny.”

It’s Really Very Gay at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. “This themed sketch revue brings gay and straight people together as they go through life, learning something about each other and about acceptance along the way. From song and dance to uncomfortable encounters to universal experiences of love, this hour of comedy is sometimes awkward, sometimes endearing and always very gay.”

Chicago Underground Comedy at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. Birth place of groundbreaking comedy. Original comedy home of Beth Stelling, Cameron Esposito, Dan Telfer, TJ Miller, Kumail Nanjiani and many more. Come see the current extraordinary cast and the always stellar line up.


Flat Iron Comedy at Collaboraction Theater, 1579 N. Milwaukee, 3rd Floor, 7:30 p.m. Features rotating house and guest improv teams plus stand up, music, storytelling and other artists. Free, but donations are appreciated and go to performers.

The Second City’s Game Night at The Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. Calling all game show Fanatics! I’ve been a Price is Right fan since it was half an hour and hosted by Bob Barker. True story: once I went backstage at The Price is Right and was horrified to learn that a lot of those magical games of bling are made of painted plywood. But next time it aired, I was back to believing it’s all magic.

Dave Maher Coma Show at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. Dave Maher’s one-man show about what happened when he was in a coma and eulogized on Facebook. Second-to-last show!

Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks, 9:00 p.m. Tonight is hosted by Marty DeRosa. Featuring Brian Aldridge, Matt Drufke, Drew Frees, Martin Morrow, Deanna Ortiz and CJ Sullivan.

Laughs in the Lounge, 6920 N. Glenwood Ave., 9:30 p.m. Free showcase. Donations accepted. Tonight Marla Depew hosts: Jessica Besser-Rosenberg, Kat Herskovic, Ashley Huck, Eric Lewis-Baker and Jeremy Owens.



Open Bark Night: Comedy for Dog Lovers at Chicago Party Animals, 1133 W. Fulton Market, 6:30 p.m. Hosted by Patty Vaccarella. Appearances by Seth Davis, Maggie Jenkins, Melissa Richelle and Thomas Bottoms. A night of dog tales and tails. Dogs welcome if they’re on-leash and ok with being a non-raucous audience member.

Do Not Submit Old Town at The Sedgwick Stop, 1612 N. Sedgwick, 7:00 p.m. “A series of free open mics around Chicago where people from all walks of life and backgrounds can come together each month to connect through the sharing of personal stories in a safe, supportive environment free from pressure, judgment, or a cover charge. No experience is necessary to participate. All are welcome to speak or simply listen. Everyone has a story to tell, and we want to hear yours.” Hosted by Lauren Huffman and Kevin D’Ambrosio.

Marty DeRosa at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. Marty DeRosa has provided some of my favorite answers in an interview. Check it out here.

Two Fell Into The Cuckoo’s Nest at The Public House Theater, 3914 N. Clark, 8:00 p.m. Written and performed by Timmy Barron and Heidi Cheek, this sketch show just received a very favorable review from the Chicago Tribune. Nina Metz said it “just may be the strongest comedy show to come out of the Public House Theatre …”

“Just Dickin’ Around” All Ladies Showcase at Hydrate, 3458 N. Halsted, 8:30 p.m. “A women-run, queer-friendly showcase that provides a safe, supportive space with a positive energy for our performers and guests.” Free showcase, free pizza. Co-produced by writer and comedian Krista Atkinson.

“Transparent” with Kellye Howard at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 9:30 p.m. Kellye Howard has appeared on Last Comic Standing, NickMom Night Out and Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious. She was also one of the stars of the OWN Network’s My Life is a Joke. Her one-woman shows have had wonderful reviews, so here’s a chance to see another hit.

Messing with a Friend at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 10:30 p.m. Susan Messing improvises with another talented comedy personality every Thursday night. Tonight’s guest: actor and comedian Lorena Diaz who is also one half of the sketch duo Dominizuelan.


Defiant Thomas Brothers at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 7:30 p.m. DTB are back after their appearance at the prestigious North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival. If you’re a fan of Steve Martin or Peter Sellers or Key & Peele or the best of SNL, you’ll love this evening and want to go back for more.

Marty DeRosa at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Tattler Tales Stand Up Showcase at American Legion Tattler Post #973, 4355 N. Western, 8:00 p.m. Free showcase. This month features Reena Calm, Nathan Simmons, Dane Arden, Mary Runkle and Chris Sanders. Hosted by Ross Hamilton.

Long form improv show at The Comedy Clubhouse, 1462 N. Ashland, 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. One audience suggestion each for three teams followed by three performances. What is long form improv? “The product is usually a piece that has realism and comedy and takes the audience through a roller coaster of emotions and laughter until they find themselves cleverly at the beginning.”


Marty DeRosa at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

You’re Being Ridiculous at Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse, 7:30 p.m. Two requirements for this storytelling event: stories must be funny and true. Tonight: Lily Be, Nestor Gomez, Archy Jamjun, Jeff Miller, Jeremy Owens,Allison Shoemaker, Amy Sumpter, Kris Vire, and Claire Zulkey.

Sirens at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 7:30 p.m. The country’s longest-running all female improv ensemble takes on life’s foibles in all their beauty and awkwardness. Saturdays through April 9.

Mike Brown’s Night of Comedy at Clancy’s Public House, 2542 Portage Mall, Portage IN, 8:00 p.m. Headliner: Patrick O’Hara. Featuring: Crystal Intini as Rookie of the Month and Paul Sciarra Jr., Joe Degand, Dylan McKee, John Osborne, Hunter McKee.


Harmontown Chicago at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 8:00 p.m. “What is Harmontown? It’s awesome. It’s unique. It’s one of a kind. It’s something only Dan Harmon (creator of Community and Rick and Morty) can do. It’s a different show every time. Playing Dungeons and Dragons? It’s happened. Dan Harmon freestyle rapping? Yup, that too. Calling Chevy Chase from stage? Happened…more than once. Getting super personal with an intimate audience? Always.”


All Women’s Improv Jam at The Crowd Theater, 3935 N. Broadway, 5:30 p.m. “… a different all-female improv team teaches a workshop for 30 minutes (warm-up games, two-person scenes, initiations, listening, etc.) then an hour jam. Every woman that attends gets to play! It’s $5, workshop at 5, jam at 5:30 PM! Afterwards everyone gets food and drinks at Holiday Club, located directly up the street. Open to women of all improv levels …”

An Evening with Dick Gregory at The Legacy Event Venue, 11901 S. Loomis St., 7:00 p.m. Dick Gregory got his first break as a comedian at Chicago’s Playboy Club in 1961 when he was booked as a replacement for Prof. Irwin Corey, a white comedian. His career took off, he left his day job as a postal employee, moved to Chicago and by 1962, he was a national headliner and popular TV guest. He used his success to further the civil rights movement. He also became a number one bestselling author and a write-in presidential candidate in 1968. He has continued to be an influential social critic in every decade and was named one of the greatest stand-ups of all time by Comedy Central. Tonight he will talk about current events, including Bill Cosby and Ferguson. Some discount tickets still available on

The Nerdologues at 1917 N. Elston Ave., 7:00 p.m. There will be stand up, sketches and songs in this Fourth Annual Fan Fiction February show, plus a dramatized He-Man script reading. Featuring Aaron Amendola, Bill Bullock, Caitlin Costello, Chris Crotwell, Katie Utke and Cher Vincent.

Mom Genes Presents: Heartbreak Hotel at 2257 Irving Park Rd., 8:00 p.m. This month features “crazy break up stories” by Allison Dunne, Elizabeth Gomez, Jesse Laika Nicolaus, Kate Milton Mauldin, Arish Singh, Heidi Butler, Rishika Murthy and Rachel McCartney. Headliner: Emily Galati (Last Comic Standing semi-finalist). Free show. Donations accepted and go to performers.

Take It or Leave It at iO , 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:30 p.m. Ahh, unsolicited advice. Sketch comedy about taking it and leaving it and whether you should punch those people hard or kiss them, grit your teeth, glare, or pulverize. I’ve never figured it out myself. This evening could help.

Kevin Mullaney’s Wall of Crazy at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 9:00 p.m. One night only. Audience suggestions will raise possible conspiracy theories which will then by cracked and exposed through improv. A literal wall of truth will be tacked together and rise before your eyes.


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