Your Chicago comedy calendar for February 29- March 6

We all know Donald Trump’s first act as president will be to appoint Satan to the Supreme Court where he will promptly be confirmed by the Senate, including the four horsemen of the Apocalypse recently voted in claiming to represent Maine, New Jersey, Arizona and the Ninth Circle of Hell.

We’ll turn sad and frightened eyes to the likes of Chris Christie who will hold the prestigious new cabinet post of Lord of the Fries or Prime Rib Minister or if we’re particularly unlucky, Vice Vice President. David Duke will conveniently be appointed ambassador to Neptune.

You must go to comedy shows now because (1) it’s the only way to survive this year’s hellish election season and (2) the world is ending.

Shows announced this week and scheduled to take place before said world’s end are Iliza Shlesinger at The Vic on April 23, Kevin James at the Chicago Theatre on June 16, and Weird Al Yankovic in Aurora on July 2 and Merrillville, IN on July 3.

For graphic novel/comic book fans, Daniel Clowes will be at Quimby’s Bookstore on March 30.

Visiting Chicago this week: Gilbert Gottfried, Vanessa Fraction, Ian Bagg, Emily Heller, Zoltan Kaszas, Robby Hoffman and Olivia Haidar.

Did you watch the Oscars? If so, you saw Chicago improv alum Adam McKay win with Charles Randolph for their screenplay adaptation of The Big Short. Among the people Adam McKay thanked were iO founders, Charna Halpern and Del Close.

Following is my wishlist for this week if I could be anywhere and go everywhere.

Please confirm all details below before heading out.


The Five Star Comedy Showcase at The Four Star Lounge, 2666 N. Halsted, 8:00 p.m. Hosted by David Gavri. Featuring AJ Lubecker, Steve Rinaldi, Shannon Noll, Darius Kennedy. Headliner: Vince Acevedo.


Hell of a Show at North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. Presented by Junior Stopka, Dale McPeek and John Margelewski. Featuring Cleveland Anderson, Ray Holleb and Justin Golak.

Happy Birthday, Night Stalker at Gallery Cabaret, 2020 N. Oakley, 8:00 p.m. “In 1998 Chris Damen had a correspondence with The Night Stalker Richard Ramirez. He has kept the letters and on the Night Stalker’s fourteenth birthday Chris will be hosting a one-off comedy show. Join Chris as he reads the letters in-between some of his favorite comics in the city. Scheduled to perform will be Sean White, Kristen Lundberg, Andrew Halter, Kristin Ryan and Toler Oswald Wolfe.”


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). “Have a drink, grab a bite, and enjoy a night of uncensored, unapologetic comedy featuring Marty DeRosa, Anthony Bonazzo, Drew Frees and 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. Wednesday night, too.

Secrets Lies and Alibis Comedy Show ProducersSecrets, Lies & Alibis at Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln, 8:30 p.m. Comedy inspired by audience members’ secrets. Featuring Azhar Usman (“American’s Funniest Muslim” by CNN, Opened for Dave Chappelle 50+ times, MTV, Funny or Die), Natalie Jose (Last Comic Standing, Sadsacks and Wisecracks), Sammy Arechar (RIOT Fest LA, Standup Standup), Amanda Lynn Deal (Secrets, Lies & Alibis, Ego Trip Club), Becca Brown (School of Rock, iO).

Follow Secrets, Lies & Alibis on Facebook to get the “Secret of the Day.”

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.” Shows throughout the week.

Chicago Underground Comedy at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:00 p.m. Original comedy home of Cameron Esposito, Beth Stelling, TJ Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, Dan Telfer. Classic Chicago showcase known for groundbreaking comedy.


Ego Trip Club at Bru Coffee, 1562 N. Milwaukee, 7:00 p.m. Tonight’s theme is “love” and it will be tackled by Abby Stassen, Steve Gerard, Brad Groesch, Brandon Kirkman, Rodescu Hopkins and Toronto’s Robby Hoffman. Hosted by Amanda Lynn Deal.

Emily Heller at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:00 p.m.


Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks, 9:00 p.m. Martin Morrow hosts Marty DeRosa, David Drake, Calvin Evans, Jim Flannigan, Robby Hoffman and Rob O’Reilly.

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.”


Special Showcase at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 7:00 p.m. Five minute solos hosted by iO creator and director Charna Halpern.

Congrats on Your Success at Uncharted Books, 2620 N. Milwaukee, 7:00 p.m. Free showcase plus free beer from Powell’s Brew House. Charlie Rohrer hosts Congrats on Your Success’s Bill Bullock, Deanna Ortiz, Toler Oswald Wolfe, Olivia Haidar (visiting from LA), Andy Fleming and headliner Marty DeRosa.

Ian Bagg at The Improv, 5 Woodfield Rd., Woodfield Mall Store K120B, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. Ian Bag was one of the top five finalists on Last Comic Standing in 2015. He is known for his crowd work. Interesting fact: he originally intended to become an explosives engineer. Shows through Sunday. Check site for details.


The Kates on Broadway at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. Chicago’s all female stand-up showcase is produced by Kelsie Huff. Featuring Kelsie Huff, Mona Aburmishan, Caitlin Checkeroski, Gwen La Roka, Amy Sumpter, Alexandra Tsarpalas , Shira Wilson, Ariana Freeman and more TBA.

Attic Comedy: Talk Nerdy to Me at The Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted, 8:00 p.m. “Featuring our patented “Attic Talk”, where we take a subject from the audience and have the comics pick apart the topic like a free form talk show.” Featuring Kristin Clifford, Jim Flannigan, Brandon Keiffer, Ed Towns.

Zoltan Kaszas at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. Shows also Friday and Saturday. Check site for additional times. This Budapest-born comedian has won awards at The Seattle International Comedy Competition, The San Diego Comedy Festival, San Diego’s Funniest Person Contest and The Rockstar Energy Drink Comedy Throwdown.


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

Kill, F*ck and Marry at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 9:00 p.m. “A series of unconventional love stories” featuring performances by sketch groups ProDunktion, Pure and Weary, Sisterwives. And storytelling and stand-up by- Greg Callozzo, Danii Gallegos, Emily Hock, Elise Jordan, Erin Lann, Tanner Munson, Saliha Muttalib, Allison Reese, Catherine Savage, Claire Swanson. Thursdays through June 30.

Chigaygo! At The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 10:00 p.m. Chicago’s gay and gay-friendly showcase featuring Scott Duff, Rebecca O’Neal, Rachel McCartney, Sam Gordon, Kelsie Huff and more TBA.


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 from character to character before your eyes. Believable and magical at the same time. A little bit dangerous, too. Anything can happen. Tonight’s guest is Jen Ellison.


Ian Bagg Interview on Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio at your place, commute, or office, 8:40 a.m. Tune in when Tony Carr and Steve Touhy interview Last Comic Standing finalist Ian Bagg who performs at The Improv this weekend. Follow the link or download the app.

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.

House of Laughs at Access Chicago Realty, 2256 W. North Ave., 7:30 p.m. Free event. Hosted by Kelsie Huff. Featuring Calvin Evans and Adam Gulley.

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.”

Gilbert Gottfried at Zanies, Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles, 8:00 and 10:00 p.m.


Vanessa Fraction at Jokes & Notes, 4641 South King Dr., 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Vanessa Fraction is an actor and writer known for her work on Def Comedy Jam, Mike Epps Presents, The Mo’Nique Show and Barbershop 2.

Vanessa Fraction Def Comedy Jam from Vanessa Fraction on Vimeo.


Damon Williams at Riddles, 5055 W. 11th St., 9:00 p.m. Shows also Saturday night. Check site for details. Damon Williams is a nationally touring headliner, member of the Kings of Comedy tour and one of the funniest guest hosts on Windy City Live. In this radio interview, he talks about growing up in Chicago, early work in the drug trade and leaving it behind, fatherhood, Chicago comedy and working with Bernie Mac and Chris Rock. Added interesting fact: the radio host conducting the interview is his son.

The Boys. We Make It Worse at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 9:00 p.m. A night of improv with Susan Messing, Rachael Mason, Craig Uhlir, Norm Holly and Ryan Archibald. These are some of the people who have made the Chicago improv scene internationally famous.

Funked Up Friday at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 10:00 p.m. A night of comedy, music, audience participation and all things unexpected with AJ Lubecker. Please check out our interview here.



Two Hour Comedy Hour at Gallery Cabaret 2020 N. Oakley, 7:00 p.m. The line-up is usually announced a few days before the show, so check the Facebook page. I’m always impressed when I see it and wanting to go.

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.

Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio at Wallace Hall, 813 LaSalle St., Ottawa, 8:00 p.m. This show is invite-only. If you would like to attend, follow link for instructions. Headliner: Ricky March. With Joe Degand, Peter Daniel and Faizan Hussain.

HilariTea at Madame Zuzu’s Tea House, 582 Roger Williams Ave., Highland Park, 8:30 p.m. Co-producers, Krista Atkinson, Denise Medina, and Elizabeth Gomez present Rebecca Loeser, Kat Herskovic, LeeAnn Yops, Jessica Besser-Rosenberg and Tamale Sepp.


The Yeah Buddy Awesome Comedy Show at Brainstorm Comics, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., 8:30 p.m. “YBAT is proud to welcome back Joe Pettis’ infamous Underwear Comedy Party to Brainstorm. Come see some of Chicago’s finest perform in their undergarments. Derek Smith (Lincoln Lodge), Mike O’Keefe, (Delinquent Records), Meredith Kachel (Chicago Underground Comedy), Dave Losso (YBAT!), John Eide (Green Gravel Comedy Festival), Liz Ziner (ClamJam), Phoebe Perry and Dook Breeze.” Hosted by Joe Pettis. Free show. Donations accepted.


“Bust-A-Gut Sundays” at Flavor Brunch, 17575 S. Kedzie, Hazelcrest, 7:00 p.m. Tony Sco, of 106.3 and Windy City Live hosts this comedy showcase every Sunday. One of my favorite things is when Windy City Live starts and Tony Sco is co-hosting.

Arguments and Grievances at Schubas Tavern, 3159 N. Southport, 8:00 p.m. Adam Burke vs Sam Norton (Catholic vs Protestant), Kelsie Huff vs Kevin Brody (Positivity vs Negativity), Mike O’Keefe vs Justin Golak, (Quitting vs Getting Fired), David Venhuizen vs Jason Earl Folks (Dirty Comedy vs Clean Comedy). Hosted by Zach Peterson. Chicago’s acclaimed comedy debate show. Debates that are funny, not scary. Named the “Best of Chicago” Variety Show of 2014 by Chicago Magazine and acclaimed by the Chicago Reader.

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