Your Chicago comedy calendar for May 9-15

Visitors this week include John O’Hurley, Bruce Bruce, Ali Siddiq, Kevin Camia, Tig Notaro and In Living Color alums, Tommy Davidson and David Alan Grier. Breaking news: on Sunday, Kevin Hart will be in the house at Jokes and Notes looking for Chicago’s next great stand-up! Seats for this show are limited. Reserve yours soon! See info below.

Ticket Alerts!

May 20 and 21: Gabriel Iglesias at Allstate Arena. Tickets here.

May 31-June 3: Louis C.K. has just announced four shows at The Chicago Theatre. Tickets here.

June 17-18: Jane Lynch in “See Jane Sing” at the Lyric Opera with The Office‘s Kate Flannery. Tickets here.

June 22-26: 11th Annual Snub Fest Comedy Festival. Snub Fest is performers rejected from comedy festivals over the past year and those fests’ loss is our gain. These performers will have you asking how anyone was ridiculous enough to turn them away. By way of example, past Snub Festers include TJ Miller, Cameron Esposito and Vanessa Bayer. This year, the award-winning comedian, actor and Saturday Night Live alum, Tim Kazurinsky will join the panel of judges. There is also a special performance from SNL writer Katie Rich, who will present rejected Weekend Update jokes. The festival is produced by Zanies and Under the Gun Theater. Tickets and more information here.

August 17: Doug Benson’s Doug Loves Movies returns to Chicago, this time at Thalia Hall. Tickets here.

August 20: Janeane Garofalo at Thalia Hall. Tickets here.

Chicago comedy merch: I’m a big fan of Marty DeRosa’s podcast Wrestling With Depression. Have you subscribed yet? Check it out here. Last week, Marty released these t-shirts. Even though I decided last year I had enough t-shirts, when I saw these I decided I need one more.

Following is my “if I could go anywhere and do everything” spotlight for this week. Please confirm all details! Thank you to the Chicago comedy community for all the comedy magic happening here every single night of the week. This is just a fraction. If you have a show you’d like to add, please email me at


100 Proof Comedy at Comedy Sportz Theater, 929 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. Stand-up showcase. Headliner: Rebecca O’Neal. Among her many credits, Rebecca O’Neal is a comedian and writer whose work has appeared in Vanity Fair, and She has also guest-hosted on WBEZ and is the producer of the showcases “Congrats on Your Success” and “Guest List.”


People You May Know at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. Two performers who don’t know each other are brought together by a mutual Facebook friend for a night of improv. They could be Chicago’s most renowned improv masters or just starting out. No two shows alike.

Sadsacks and Wisecracks at 1920 W. Irving Park Rd., 8:00 p.m. Free showcase. Headliner: Adam Burke. Adam Burke was named “Best Stand-Up 2014” by The Chicago Reader and is a panelist on NPR’s Wait … Wait! Don’t Tell Me, among many other credits. Tonight is produced and hosted by Natalie Jose. Featuring Deanna Ortiz, Dan Sheehan, Brad Groesch. Music by Matt Crews.



John O’Hurley in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theater, 151 W. Randolph In town through Sunday, May 15. Check site for show times. Interesting fact: after playing J. Peterman, Elaine’s boss on Seinfeld, John O’Hurley became an investor and partner in the actual J. Peterman catalog and helped bring the clothing retailer back from bankruptcy.



The Blues Brothers at ArcLight Cinemas, 1500 N. Clybourn, 7:00 p.m. A screening followed by a discussion with the Chicago Film Office’s Rich Moskal and Second City Mainstage alum Bruce Jarchow.

Glass Ceiling Comedy at The Brick Lounge, 115 South St., Plano, 8:00 p.m. Headliner: Kat Rybarski. Featuring Patrick O’Hara and Cameron Little with special guest Steve Zinski. Hosted by Joe Degand.

99 Problem Presents Kool-Aid Mix at Second City’s Beat Lounge, 230 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. An improvised sitcom that follows the lives of characters in 1999’s Plainview, Illinois. Features a different Chicago comedy celebrity each week. Tonight: Nnamdi Ngwe with cast members Hal Baum, Joel Boyd, Terrence Carey, Catharine Savage, Hannah Starr and Kimberly Michelle Vaughn.

Give Me Five Finale at The Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted, 10:00 p.m. “Watch the culmination of this season’s Give Me Five! Performers have been going head to head with their best five minutes of solo sketch—which is what comic actors use to audition for Saturday Night Live … Each week there’s been a winner, and now, the winners face off! Come see the best material of the best performers. Only one can win! (And audience vote matters!)”


The Love Below Comedy Show at Beermiscuous, 2812 N. Lincoln Ave., 8:00 p.m. Double headliners Kristin Clifford and Adam Burke. Featuring Stephanie Weber, Danny Schill and Jonathan Giles. Hosted by Sohrab Foroozesh.


Just Dickin’ Around All-Genders Showcase at Hydrate, 3458 N. Halsted, 9:45 p.m. 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 show, although donations are appreciated. Free pizza. Co-produced by comedian, writer and ChicagoNow blogger Krista Atkinson. Featuring Ben Banach, Joel Boyd, Lucas O’Neil and JDA co-producers Scott Duff, Krista Atkinson and Marla Depew.

Messing with a Friend at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 10:30 p.m. Susan Messing has been named “Improviser of the Year” at The Chicago Improv Festival, “Best Improviser” by The Chicago Reader and “The Funniest Woman in Chicago” by Chicago Magazine. Tonight’s friend is Mark Sutton.


Bruce Bruce Interview on Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio, 7:15 a.m. Tony Carr and Steve Touhy interview this week’s Improv headliner. Tune in by following the link or downloading the app.

The Kates at The Book Cellar, 4736-38 N. Lincoln Ave., 7:00 p.m. Featuring Sarah Lavere, Kim Nelson, Jackie Wolk, Doris McTyre, Erika Carey, Shannon Kelly, Claire Swanson, Nicky Margolis and Jen De Luca. Hosted by Amy Sumpter.  Get there early for a seat at this excellent and popular show. Otherwise, it’s standing room only! Free, but donations appreciated.

Second Annual Tournament of Shows at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 7:30 p.m. Over the next six weeks, UTG will showcase seven concept shows. Which will become this innovative theater’s next big thing? Audience vote decides.

Bruce Bruce at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 8:00 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Bruce Bruce has too many television and movie credits to list! He is one of the comedians who made Atlanta a national destination for stand-up. Shows tonight, Saturday and Sunday. Check site for show times.

Ali Siddiq at Jokes and Notes, 4641 S. King Dr., 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Ali Siddiq was the winner of the Comedy Central’s Up Next competition in 2013 and toured with Bill Bellamy’s “Ladies Night Out.” He is known for his storytelling about everything from the day-to-day to the much more difficult. Shows tonight and Saturday.


Get On Up! at Comedy Sportz Theater, 929 W. Belmont, 11:30 p.m. Free improv jam. Get on up with your hosts and be part of the games. What could go wrong?! Nothing! I don’t care what the calendar says!


The Nerdologues at Lake FX Summit & Expo, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. 10 a.m. This Chicago expo highlights the city’s creative forces. The Nerdologues is stand-up, sketch, storytelling and music.

Tig Notaro at BookCon, McCormick Place, 2:15 p.m. Tig Notaro discusses her memoir, I’m Just A Person, which will be released next month. During a horrendous four months in 2012, she was hospitalized with a near-lethal infection, diagnosed with breast cancer, had her heart broken when a long-term relationship ended and then, as if this weren’t all enough, her mom died suddenly from a freak accident.

Shortly after, she spontaneously opened a set with, “Hi, how are you? Is everybody having a good time? I have cancer.” The recording went viral and became her Grammy-nominated album, Live. The rest is comedy history. Recommended: Live, Boyish Girl InterruptedOne Mississippi, Knock Knock It’s Tig Notaro (all available on Amazon) and Tig (available on Netflix). Visit for more info.

Rozzie Handler is 50 at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 6:30 p.m. A staged reading of this original pilot by Diane Cohen. One of my favorite people and authors has a starring role! Elaine Soloway will play the part of Rozzie’s mom. Elaine is the author of Division Street Princess, Green Nails and Other Acts of Rebellion and She’s Not the Type. Amazingly, admission is free!

Tommy Davidson and David Alan Grier at Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee, Waukegan, 7:30 p.m. Tommy Davidson began his stand-up career in 1986 in his hometown, Washington, D.C. He is also known for his impressions (Sammy Davis, Jr., MC Hammer) and for the characters he created on In Living Color. He has a lead role in this summer’s Sharknado 4. He also has an extraordinary personal story. His birth mother abandoned him in a pile of trash. The woman who would become his adoptive mother was in the area, had a premonition that she needed to take a closer look, found him, and took him in. Check out his story here.

David Alan Grier is a Yale-trained Shakespearian actor who also created unforgettable personalities on In Living Color. You can see him Sunday nights on NBC’s The Carmichael Show.


Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio Live at Wallace Hall, 813 LaSalle St., Ottawa, 8:00 p.m. With Mike Wiley, Jenny La, Joe Larkin, and Collin Bullock.

And Now You Know Everything About Laurel Krabacher at CIC Theater, 1422 W. Irving Park Rd., 8:00 p.m. “Join Laurel Krabacher for an evening of painfully honest stories about her life. Maybe you’ll see a little of yourself in her. Hopefully, you won’t.” I love her already. Saturdays through May 28.


Sideswiping Normal: An Afternoon of Stories with Huitt and Hollander at Martyrs’,  3855 N. Lincoln Ave., 3:00 p.m. Nicole Hollander, the world-famous cartoonist, author and creator of  Sylvia, and writer and actress June Huitt share personal stories.

The Early Late Show with John DaCosse and Steve Cochran at Zanies, MB Financial Park, 5437 Park Place, Rosemont, 7:00 p.m. WGN’s weekday morning show, but at night and on a Sunday.

3rd Annual Asian Comedy Festival at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 7:30 p.m. Featuring improv group Stir Friday Night, stand-up from Prateek Srivastava, Sandrell Shu Ross, Sameena Mustafa, Leah Eva, Louis Nguyen and headliner Kevin Camia, who is also a writer for NBC Universal and one of the Filipino Kings of Comedy.


Mom Genes at Windy City Inn, 2257 W. Irving Park Rd., 8:00 p.m. Mom stories from Erik Niewiarowski (Appetite for Rock n’ Roll Storytelling), Marla Depew (Just Dickin’ Around), Ashley Huck (POWER HOUR Open Mic). Headliner: Soli Santos (Second City, Zanies, The Laugh Factory, Riddles). Followed by “Clean Your Closet” where audience members are invited to tell their stories. Produced by Jan (Alexandra Tsarpalas), Bettie (Carma Nibarger) and Barb (Kristin Ryan). Free show. Donations appreciated.

Kevin Hart Presents Funny is Funny at Jokes and Notes, 4641 S. King Dr., 8:00 p.m. Kevin Hart is looking for the next stand-up star and he will be there.

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