Your Chicago comedy calendar for February 22-28

Visiting Chicago this week: Ms. Pat, Broken Lizard, Pablo Francisco, Sam Obeid and Joel McHale.

Ticket alerts! Wanda Sykes will be here on April 9 (tickets) and Maria Bamford on August 19 (tickets).

Dwayne Kennedy released his first EP, Oh  No, It’s Dwayne Kennedy, earlier this month. Dwayne Kennedy was an on-air correspondent and wrote for Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell where one of his many acclaimed segments was lauded by Nerdist as “The Most Intentionally Funny of the Day.” He has also been featured on late night with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien and appeared on Seinfeld and Martin, among many other TV and film credits. You can see him live at Zanies in St. Charles where he’ll be headlining March 31-April 2. In the meantime, I recommend his album of funny, conversational, inspiring social commentary. Find it here.

Ferris Fest was announced last week! The three-day festival takes place May 20-22 and celebrates the 30th Anniversary of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Ferris Bueller is my favorite movie of all time. I’m more of a Cameron than a Ferris, but that’s why I Iove the movie. I need Ferris. Without him, I would drown in a self-made brine of melancholia and worst-case scenarios. The movie is, of course, also a passionate love letter to Chicago and its spirit of making “no little plans.”

The Fest will include a special screening hosted by Richard Roeper at the John and Nancy Hughes Theater in Lake Forest and a Q and A with some of the movie’s stars. Many other events are scheduled throughout the weekend, including a parade reenactment. Get ready to twist and shout! Complete information and tickets to all events here.

This Wednesday is the last Dave Maher Coma Show at The Annoyance Theatre! If you read the calendar, you know for months how badly I wanted to go and the frustration (yet twisted fittingness) of health crap getting in the way. Long story short, I went last Wednesday night. Was it worth the wait? Oh, yes. A thousand yesses. (More below.)

Please confirm all details below before heading out.

Thank you to the hardworking, creative folks who make this all possible. This is only a fraction of the unique, excellent comedy events happening this week, but are my most coveted tickets. If I could do anything and be everywhere, here is where I would go this week.


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: Mike Cronin hosts Deanna Ortiz, Reena Calm, Andy Fleming, Mike O’Keefe and Cameron Gillette. Interview with Mike Cronin here.

Arguments and Grievances at UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. UP’s “Best of Chicago Stand Up” series continues. As entertaining as the “other” debates are this year, they won’t top these. Tonight: Adam Burke vs Dan Freisen(The Best of Times vs The Worst of Times), Kristin Toomey vs Marty DeRosa (I love Lucy vs I love Wrestling), Sonia Denis vs Bobby Budds (City vs Country), Derek Smith vs Kristin Clifford (RL Stine vs R Kelly). Chicago Magazine named Arguments and Grievances the best variety show of 2014.

Tim Slagle Presents Camp Pain at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Tim Slagle hosts comic coverage of the election season. Tim is one of Chicago’s most loved comedians when it comes to political humor whether you agree with his politics or not.



Cocktail Comedy at House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 7:00 p.m. No cover. Comedy showcase at House of Blues’ VIP lounge, The Foundation Room (4th floor). Line-up includes Adam Burke (Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!, Reader’s 2014 Best Stand Up In Chicago) and more TBA. Presented by UPDATE Line-up announced and it’s a great one: Adam Burke, Sean White, Danny Kallas, Jonah Jurkens with DJ Tony.

The Comedy Bowl at Diversey River Bowl, 2211 W. Diversey, 8:00 p.m. A night of trivia games and comedy hosted by Mona Aburmishan. Tonight: Kahlil Wilson, Amy Nico Schwartz, Jerry Tran, Gia Claire.


Laugh Till You’re Winded Documentary Benefit at Fizz Bar, 3220 N. Lincoln Ave., 8:00 p.m. A night of many wows perhaps never to be repeated. Michael Alexander (writer for Arsenio Hall and Jay Leno) and Sameena Mustafa (producer of Simmer Brown showcase) are filming a documentary about the Chicago stand-up scene from the 1970s through the present. They are already far along, but need some additional funding. Tonight’s benefit has an Extraordinary Line-Up! Expected to perform: Kevin Bozeman, Dwayne Kennedy, Pat McGann, Michael Alexander, Tim Walkoe, Preacher Moss, Sameena Mustafa, Ilana Abby Gordon, Bill Gorgo, Cecilia Laird, Tim Cavanagh, Prateek Srivastava, Jimmy McHugh, Bill Bunker and Azhar Usman. Tickets are only $7 in advance, $10 at the door.

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.” Check site for additional show times throughout the week.

Chicago Underground Comedy presents Comedy Secrets at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:00 p.m. Audience members must take a vow of secrecy. What’s revealed here stays here. “This is a comedy show celebrating secrets, sadness, and self-loathing. Over-sharing is caring.” Hosted by Stephanie Hasz and Andy Fleming.

This month features secrets from Matt Drufke, Cleveland Anderson and Shannon Noll, a comedian panel of Marty DeRosa and Nate Burrows and stand-up from Kristen Toomey.



Flat Iron Comedy at The Salon 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.

10xNine at Uncommon Ground, 3800 N. Clark, 8:00 p.m. Nine people, comic and non, ten minutes each. “First kiss” is the theme of this storytelling evening. Hosted by Lauren Huffman.

Supply & Demand at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. Featuring Jeff Arcuri, Rebecca O’Neal, Mickey Housley, CJ Sullivan, Caitlin Checkeroski and more TBA.

[LAST PERFORMANCE] The Dave Maher Coma Show at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. NOT TO BE MISSED! This show ran in late fall and returned in January. Tonight is its last night and if you miss it, you miss an original and brilliant comedy experience. Dave Maher’s one-man show is about how he went into a diabetic coma and almost died, was taken off life support and eulogized on Facebook. Then he recovered. What does life look like on the other side of the unfathomable? He’s here to tell and holds nothing back. Despite the physical travails, this is a comedian in top form. The evening is reflective, relatable, moving, honest, blunt and interactive. And very, very funny. The audience gets to ask questions and he is fearless in his answers. I won’t say what an audience member asked him when we were there because it was so intrusive my view was he shouldn’t answer. (He polled us about whether he should answer). His decision: yes, he should. He’s a comedian and the best comedy is not only funny and original, but honest. He is exponentially all of these things. You’ll also learn eulogy don’ts.

Ms. Pat at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. Ms. Pat was a finalist and one of the highlights of the 2015 season of Last Comic Standing. She has an extraordinary personal story, too. Read it here. She will be at Zanies in Chicago through Saturday. Please check site for additional show times.


Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks, 9:00 p.m. Kristen Toomey hosts Adam Burke, Ricky Gonzalez, Danny Kallas, T. Murph, David Philips and Joey Villagomez.

Trios at iO at 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:30 p.m. “While David Pasquesi is away for work, TJ Jagodowski will hold down the fort with a new show named “Trios”, starring TJ Jagodowski, Emma Pope, Bill Bungeroth. Featuring Julie Nichols on keys and a yet to be named bassist and yet to be named saxophonist. Trios explores the interplay between two trios. A threesome of musicians and a threesome of improvisers.”



Pablo Franciso Interview on Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio at  your place, 8:00 a.m. Steve Touhy interviews Pablo Francisco who has more energy than all the caffeine in Starbucks. Hoping for some impressions, too.  Listen wherever you are by following the link or downloading the app.

Laugh Factoria at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 7:00 p.m. All Latino line-up with  Joey Villagomez, Gwen La Roka, Mona Aburmishan, Danny Kallas, Abi Sanchez and more TBA.

Pablo Francisco at The Improv, 5 Woodfield Rd., Woodfield Mall Store K120B, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. Shows through Sunday. Check site for details.


I Shit You Not at Township, 2200 N. California, 8:00 p.m. Michael Sanchez and Seth Davis host an evening of embarrassing true stories with Paul Thomas, Tyler Snodgrass, Reena Calm, Sonia Denis, Paul Farahvar and Brandon Kirkman.

Broken Lizard at Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave., 8:00 p.m. Comedy troupe Broken Lizard created and starred in the movies Super Troopers, Club Dread, Beer Fest and the upcoming Super Troopers 2. Interesting fact: they formed their improv group as students at Colgate University. Back then, they called themselves Charred Goosebeak and Colgate University’s improv troupe is still known by that name.

Sam Obeid at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. Shows also Friday and Saturday. Please check site for additional times.


Just Dickin’ Around at Hydrate, 3458 N. Halsted, 8:30 p.m. All genders showcase. “A women-run, queer-friendly showcase that provides a safe, supportive space with a positive energy for our performers and guests.” Also free pizza! Co-produced by comedian, writer and ChicagoNow blogger Krista Atkinson. Tonight’s line-up: Hosted by JDA co-producer Marla Depew. Featuring Jeff Arcuri, Scott Duff (JDA member), Colby Kennedy and Philip Kolas.

“Parlour Car” at Bar DeVille, 701 N. Damen, 9:00 p.m. Chicago’s talented comedians plus unexpected guests from around the country. New City named Parlour Car “Best Comedy Night” of 2015. Adam Burke is on tonight’s line-up and more TBA. Check the site in the days before the show.

Special Showcase at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:00 p.m. A showcase of five-minute solo performances hosted by iO founder Charna Halpern.

Messing With A Friend at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 10:30 p.m. Susan Messing improvises with another talented comedian. This is a show where the improvisers seem to morph fully from character to character before your eyes. Believable and magical at the same time. Also a little bit dangerous. Tonight’s guest is Empire’s Antoine McKay. Interesting fact: Antoine McKay studied acting under Uta Hagen and began his career at Second City in Chicago and Detroit. He is a Chicagoan.



Funny Ha-Ha at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 6:30 p.m. The “literary humor reading series.” Tonight: Mark Bazer, Rebecca O’Neal, Christopher Piatt, Willy Nast, Leonard Pierce, Steve Delahoyde and Claire Zulkey.

PythonProv Featuring Spiny Norman at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 7:00 p.m. A show featuring the students of comedian, author and teacher Kim Howard, who has traveled with and written extensively about Monty Python. Free show.

Defiant Thomas Brothers at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 7:30 p.m. 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. Interview with Paul Thomas and Seth Thomas here.

Sarah Barnhardt: “This is the Worst” at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 8:00 p.m. A solo sketch comedy show by a winner of Second City’s 2015 Mary Scruggs Works By Women Festival. Saturday night, too.

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.”

Joel McHale at The Genesee Theater, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan, 8:00 p.m. The star of Community has Chicago roots – his dad grew up here. Another notable Joel McHale appearance this week: as Tad O’Malley in the new X-Files’ season finale on Monday, Feb. 22.

Vamp Comedy Cabaret at MCL Chicago, 3110 N. Sheffield 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Tonight: Matthew Van Colton withJeff Bouthiette. New City named Vamp “best atmosphere for musical comedy.”

Kellye Howard at Jokes and Notes, 4641 S. King Dr., 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Kellye Howard has been featured on Comedy Central, WGN, Fox (Laughs) and NBC (Last Comic Standing). She was also one of the stars of the OWN Network’s My Life is a Joke and has created many critically acclaimed one-woman shows, including Transparent, now playing at The Comedy Bar on Thursday nights. She is known for her relatable and buoyant storytelling about everyday life victories, doubts and struggles. Tonight is hosted by Jay Deep and features Tara Terry.

SLAMDUNKtion at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 9:00 p.m. The best of best sketches from “The Destiny’s Child of Comedy.”

Funeral Party at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, 10:30 p.m. Sketch comedy group Schmoon takes a comedic, honest look at “how we react when we’re forced to deal with unfortunate circumstances. Do we stay optimistic in the face of tragedy? Do we choose to distract ourselves? Do we crumble to the floor and cry? In this show, we’ll pull back the curtain and examine when a character’s emotions don’t quite match up with the god-awful circumstances they’re up against.”

Lola Balatro and Pimprov at CIC Theater, 1422 W. Irving Park Rd., 10:30 p.m. Pimprov is comedians improvising as pimps who are improvising. Lola Balatro is a comedy-rock band of comedians, but what they might not admit is they’re rock stars for real. Lola Balatro is Paul Thomas, Cork Kangas and Jeff Madden. Interview with Lola Balatro here and here.



Simmer Brown Comedy at Bughouse Theater, 1910 W. Irving Park Rd., 7:00 p.m. Featuring: Sherman Edwards (HBO, TBS Just for Laughs, Reader’s Best Stand-Up) and Xavier Lamont (Chicago Comedy Film Festival, Whiskey Journal) with a “SURPRISE Special Guest We Cannot Legally Name (Conan, Last Comic Standing, America’s Got Talent)” and music from rapping violinist LIL SHARP (Saturday Night Live). With performances from Simmer Brown producers Prateek Srivastava (NBC Stand Up For Diversity Finalist, Opened for Maz Jobrani, NPR) and Sameena Mustafa (Asian American Comedy Fest).

Special reception at 7:00 p.m. for pre-paid ticket holders only. Show begins at 8:00 p.m.

The Kates at The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln, 7:00 p.m. A night of stand-up in a bookstore with the excellent Kates. Chicago comedy + Chicago independent bookstore = night of favorite things. Featuring Terri Falvey, Kelsie Huff, Mary Rose O’Connor, Liz Kaar, Helen Schweitz, Lauren Kreiser, Melody Kamali, Adrienne Gunn, Michele Alley. Hosted by Elizabeth Gomez.

Two Hour Comedy Hour at Gallery Cabaret 2020 N. Oakley, 7:00 p.m. With AJ Lubecker and more TBA. AJ is the creator and host of Funked Up Friday at The Laugh Factory and the youngest person to anchor the famous club’s 10 p.m. Friday time slot.

You’re Being Ridiculous at Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse, 7:30 p.m. Featuring Randall Colburn, Lindsay Eanet, Rob Grabowski, Diane Kastiel, Brenna Kearney, Jeremy Owens, JH Palmer, Alisa Rosenthal, and Scott Whitehair.

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.

The A.V. Club Presents Bell Hop at Virgin Hotels Chicago, 203 N. Wabash, 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. This monthly show is being filmed tonight for NBC’s Seeso and, unfortunately, is sold out. It is also becoming legendary. The line-up is always top notch and expecting the unexpected is expected. If I happened to be in the area at the time, I’d for sure be showing up to see if there’s any way to get in. In the future, I’ll try to post about these shows in advance. Hosted by Matt Byrne and Ian Abramson.  UPDATE 2/24: Limited number of additional tickets to both shows have been released.

The Yeah Buddy Awesome Time Comedy Show at Brainstorm Comics, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., 8:30 p.m. Tonight: Junior Stopka (Last Comic Standing), Jason Melton (YBAT!), Michael Timlin (Comedy Expo), Philip Kolas (Minneapolis), Odinaka Ezeokoli (Congrats On Your Success), Gnar Gnar Shredtown (Shithole). Hosted by Dave Losso (YBAT!). Free show. Donations accepted.



New Country at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., 6:00 p.m. This new comedy drama was written by and stars Mark Roberts. Mark Roberts, who is from Urbana, began his career as a stand up comedian. His credits include appearances on The Tonight Show, Seinfeld, Friends and Fresh Prince of Bel Air, co-executive producer and writer for Two And A Half Men, executive consultant for The Big Bang Theory and creator of Mike & Molly. Through May 14.

Still Not Friday: Special Oscar Viewing Party Blowout at Two Brothers Roundhouse, 205 N. Broadway, Aurora, 6:30 p.m. The evening starts off with a comedy show at 6:30 and continues with an Oscar viewing party and comedians providing live commentary at 7:30 p.m. With Xavier Lamont (Killing Poe), Collin Bullock (Awkwards Moment podcast) and Marty DeRosa (SNF regular, Comedians You Should Know co-producer, Wrestling With Depression).

Tuxedo Cat Comedy at 1935 W. Thomas St., 7:00 p.m. Free showcase, but donations are appreciated and go to the performers. Tonight: Keith Paesel, Sonia Denis, Deanna Ortiz, Mike Bobrinskoy and TCC producer Rebecca Fass. Plus surprise special guests. Hosted by TCC producer Sean White.


Broad Squad at Skylark, 2149 S. Halsted, 8:00 p.m. Headliner: Natalie Jose. With Casey Larwood, Ruthie Lichtenstein, Kahlil Wilson and Blake Burkhart.

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