Your Chicago comedy calendar June 6-12

In town this week: MEL BROOKS IS HERE!!!!!!!

L.A. comedians Jamie Campbell and Daniel Van Kirk are both back in their comedy hometown this week. Find their shows below. Jamie’s also got a great, handy list here where you can also find out how to sign up for his improv workshop. The Reader named Jamie best stand-up comedian in 2013.

Saturday Night Live‘s Sasheer Zamata is here. Visitors also include Ryan Singer, Bert Kreischer, Henry Phillips, and The Recent Cutbacks.

Ticket alert! Mark your calendar for July 1! That’s when tickets will be available for The Chi City Comedy Jam on November 19. The all-star line-up: Earthquake, Dominique, Corey Holcomb, Sheryl Underwood, Red Grant and Just Nesh. Until July 1, read more about it here.

Here is my spotlight for this week. If you have any shows you would like me to add now or in the future, please email me at … and please confirm all details!

And did I say that Mel Brooks is here!

(Confession: if you’ve already read this calendar, please read it again. In some kind of haze when I first published, I was thinking Mel Brooks was here next week … grave, grave error. In the words of Max Bialystock: “How could this happen? I was so careful.”)


Cass Sunstein at The Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, 57551 S. Woodlawn, 6:00 p.m. I never guessed this comedy calendar would include University of Chicago legal scholar, but sui generis*, Cass Sunstein has published The World According to Star Wars. It’s a theory of force, farce and everything.

(*legalese for something uniquely itself) (also, in case anyone is wondering, Luke comes from the Latin word for light and the only thing I remember from law school is that Nabisco stands for National Biscuit Company).

Sadsacks and Wisecracks at High Hat Club, 1920 W. Irving Park Rd., 8:00 p.m. Free showcase. Tonight is the Super Talent Show Edition. Hosted by Natalie Jose with Nicky Martin, Blake Burkhart, Steven King, Liz Ziner, Rebecca Loeser and Erin Crotheer.

100 Proof Comedy at Comedy Sportz, 929 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. Stand-up showcase. Jamie Campbell is in town and will be here!


Best Night Ever at Gman Tavern, 3730 N. Clark, 8:30 p.m. Free stand-up showcase.Mike Bobrinskoy hosts Kristin Ryan, Nate Burrows, Tyler Snodgrass, Danny Kallas and Ryan Singer (in from LA).

Wild Out Mondays at SLR Bar & Grill, 16409 S. Halsted, Harvey, 9:00 p.m. Improv, stand up and music hosted by Just Nesh.


The Mixer at The Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted St., 10:00 p.m. “For anyone interested in improv.” At 10:00 p.m. there’s an improv workshop. At 10:30 everyone breaks into teams for a long form show. You can choose to be in the audience or join everyone on stage.



Flat Iron Comedy at 1579 N. Milwaukee, 3rd Floor, 7:30 p.m. Rotating casts of house-and guest-improv teams, plus stand-up, music, storytelling and more. Admission is pay what you can. All donations go to the performers. Every Tuesday and Wednesday night.

Cocktail Comedy at House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 8:00 p.m. I don’t know the entire line-up, but I do know Jamie Campbell will be here! Produced by

Poise: A Damn Variety Show at The Crowd Theater, 3935 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. Benefit for the Howard Brown Health Center. Featuring Sameena Mustafa, Sam Gordon, Improv by Tilda and more.

Secrets, Lies & Alibis at Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln, 8:00 p.m. Comedy inspired by audience members’ secrets. Hosted by Elliot Lener. Featuring Matty Ryan, Marla DePew, Ed Towns, Ryan Croft, Alex Seligsohn, and Zack Shornick and the Pathetic Men.

The Souk After Dark at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. The premiere of this new comedy and variety show hosted by Mona Aburmishan and Al Jamm. “A monthly line-up of the city’s funniest and most talented performers; including comedians, musicians, poets, dancers and wildly diverse entertainers from around the world.”


Natalie Jose & Friends at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 9:00 p.m. The fabulous Natalie Jose (OWN Network’s My Life is a Joke, Last Comic Standing) makes honesty a comedic art form and she is hosting a month-long stand-up residency at The Hideout, starting tonight. Fantastic stars-of-Chicago line-up includes Adam Burke, Kristen Toomey, Reena Calm, Emily Galati, Bobby Condon and Danny Kallas.

Chicago Underground Comedy at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:00 p.m. Kicking off the summer season with Jamie Campbell, Meghan Strickland, Jake McKenzie and Deanna Ortiz.



Jamie Campbell on Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio, 8:45 a.m. Follow this link or download the app for live shows, interviews and Chicago comedy 24/7.

Second City Second Wednesday Presents National Lampoon’s Vacation at ArcLight Cinema, 1500 N. Clybourn, 7:00 p.m. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with James Hughes (writer/editor and son of filmmaker John Hughes, this film’s writer) and moderated by Daniel Ramis (film student working at The Second City & son of filmmaker Harold Ramis, this film’s director).

The World Series of Comedy at Zanies, MB Financial Place, Rosemont, 8:00 p.m. Six shows through Saturday, forty comedians. The audience will help choose the winner who’ll then go to Vegas for the national finals. Check site for all show times.

Supply & Demand at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. With Jamie Campbell, Jeff Arcuri and more TBA.

The Untold Love Story of Bill and Hillary at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:30 p.m. I’m tired of the venom! I want to see THIS side of our election year. Grace Perry and Lyndsay Rush have written this welcome behind-the-scenes scoop. Starring Damian Anaya, Emily Clouse, Shelby Plummer and Micah Sterenberg. Wednesdays through June 29.

Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks, 9:00 p.m. Marty DeRosa hosts Dave Helem, Jason Hillman, Natalie Jose, Mikey Manker, Mike Timlin and Pat McGann.

TJ & Dave at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:30 p.m. Internationally renowned improv greats TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi improvise a one-hour play every Wednesday. See the movie and see them live every Wednesday! Never the same show twice.



Dan Peff at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. The host of Good Drinking! in person! Please enjoy this holiday spot which is a gift all year around.


CJ Sullivan at This Week’s Show, Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap, 1970 N. Lincoln Ave., 8:00 p.m. CJ Sullivan is also a professional poker player and has been featured on Comedy Central’s Mash Up. Tonight features Ali Clayton, Mickey Housley and This Week’s Show producers Dale McPeek and Aaron Sutherland. Hosted by TWS producer Nate Burrows.


Jamie Campbell at Comedy Sportz, 929 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. Almost sold out.

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.” Enough reason to go, but also: free pizza! JDA Producer Marla Depew will host Krista Atkinson (JDA producer), Courtney Buckwalter, Scott Duff (JDA producer), Chris Higgins and Gregory Joseph.

Hold Onto Your Butts at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, 9:00 p.m. Written and performed by The Recent Cutbacks who are in town from New York for Chicago’s Physical Festival. Tonight is an original comic re-creation of Jurassic Park. Through Saturday. Check site for all show times.

ALL CAPS at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:00 p.m. This is a brand new show running on Fridays through July 21 (no show on 6/30) with extraordinary creators and cast. It’s a new concept merging the styles of iO and New York’s UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade). The creators of the show are improv legends TJ Jagodowski (TJ and Dave) and Peter Gwinn (The Colbert Report, Baby Wants Candy.) Their star cast: Christina Boucher, Peter Collins, Sarah Dell’Amico, Peter Gwinn, Shantira Jackson, TJ Jagodowski, Mike Jimerson, Laurel Krabacher, Danny Mora, Jeff Murdoch, Dewayne Perkins, Emma Pope, Allison Ringhand, Jo Scott, and Craig Uhlir.
To kick off the evening, one audience member will be invited to launch a tirade about any topic they choose. The cast will turn that rant into long-form improvisation.

Jamie Campbell at Undergrad Underground, Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted, 10:00 p.m.

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 guest: actor and improviser Abby McEnany, winner of the 2016 Del Award for “Improviser of the Year.”



The Kates at The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln, 7:00 p.m. Arrive early for seats. The always great Kates are Chicago’s all-female comedy troupe led by Kelsie Huff. Tonight features Audrey Jonas, Amy Sumpter, Katie Visser, Kyna Lenhof, Molly Harris, Alison Black, Stephanie Chavara and Laura Hugg. Host: Denise Medina.

The Ben Hecht Show at The Noyes Cultural Center’s Piven Theatre, 927 Noyes St., Evanston, 8:00 p.m. Preview week. This world premiere is written and performed by playwright and Second City alum James Sherman. The renowned screenwriter Ben Hecht will tell you “everything you need to know about show business, Jews and anti-Semites. With jokes.” Follow link for all show times through July 17.

Daniel Van Kirk at @ North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 8:30 p.m. The Rochelle, IL native returns from L.A. for a visit. With special guests Marty DeRosa and Kevin White.

Andorka’s Comedy Review at Andorka’s, 2110 S. Halsted, 8:00 p.m. Double headliners Reena Calm and Derek Smith with special guests Samuel Priest, Steven King and Blake Burkhart (co-producer).

Bert Kreischer at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, 8:00 p.m. Through Sunday. Check site for show times.


Damon Williams at Jokes and Notes, 4641 S. King Drive, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Shows tonight and tomorrow night. Damon Williams is a Chicagoan and nationally touring headliner, an actor and known for his “Seriously Ignorant News” spots on The Tom Joyner Show and as a popular guest host on Windy City Live.


Jamie Brew’s The Program at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 9:00 p.m. I don’t even know how to get onto Google Chrome half the time, so I’ll let someone else explain this: “The Program is a show written using a computer script that mimics predictive text. For four Fridays in June at iO, a small team of actors and artists will present an hour of drama culled from this program’s cold, digital mind.” Cast: Sameena Mustafa, Rose Boyle, Nicky Martin, Will Meinen and Nate Varrone.

Will You Accept This Rose? at Under The Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 9:00 p.m. “An improvised parody of The Bachelor weekly through July 29 (no show June 24). Each week will feature a bachelor from the actual television series or one of Chicago’s most eligible bachelors. This week: B96 radio host J Niice.

Strip Joker at Uptown Underground, 4704 N. Broadway, 9:30 p.m. “Partnered with the sticker project, Strip Joker presents some of Chicago’s finest stand-up comedians, each telling their own tales of self-acceptance and body positivity.” Tonight features Tim McLaughlin, Brittany Meyer, Kat Herskovic and Brandon Kirkman. Headliner: Kellye Howard whose one-woman shows are acclaimed and television appearances are too numerous to list, but they include starring in the OWN Network’s My Life is a Joke and Last Comic Standing. Note: tickets sell out early!

Joe Alden McMahon at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 10:00 p.m.

Lola Balatro opens for Pimprov at CIC Theater, 1422 W. Irving Park Rd., 10:30 p.m. Unique Chicago show: pimps improvising. The show is back for a limited time and the magnetic force Lola Balatro is opening for them tonight.


An Incornvenient Truth at Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln Ave., 11:00 p.m. The Rough Cut Players create the post-apocalypse. It may be here soon and we can’t be too prepared. The Rough Cut Players are Harrison Kantner, Seth Crowe, Ricardo “Blayde” Diaz, Keeling Carter, Matthew Raborn, Tommy Corts, Charles Lim, James McGuire, Khalil Washington and Susan Gordon.



The Late Late Breakfast Pilot Filming at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 1:00 p.m. Pie fights, impressions, stand-up, bar mitzvahs, sketch, music. Anything could break out at this raucous partying breakfast. The only sure predictable thing is free pancakes. Hosted by Tyler Jackson and Danny Maupin. TV pilot filming today.

Elaine Soloway at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 6:30 p.m. One of my favorite authors, Elaine Soloway (The Division Street Princess, Green Nails and Other Acts of Rebellion, She’s Not The Type) hosts a staged reading of her latest work, a pilot called Layover. Cast to be announced.

Henry Phillips at @ North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. This L.A. comedian has performed his musical comedy on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Comedy Central and his album is a Billboard “Critics’ Choice.” He is also known for his semi-autobiographical film, Punching the Clown. Look for the sequel this year, but in the meantime, you can see him in person this weekend.

Sasheer Zamata at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln, 9:00 p.m. Sasheer Zamata is one of the current stars of Saturday Night Live. She also performs with New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade and is the ACLU’s Celebrity Ambassador for Women’s Rights. Featuring comedian, writer and producer (Congrats on Your Success) Rebecca O’Neal.


Porn Minus Porn at Under the Theater, 956 W. Newport, 10:30 p.m. Real scripts, just the dialogue. So what will you hear? You don’t know and neither do the actors … until showtime. Creator Ben Bowman keeps the script a secret until then. He says, “When a line is so stupid that our actors start laughing, the audience inevitably follows along. It’s a ticking time bomb of laughter and I know exactly when it’s going to explode.” Recommended by Redeye, The Chicago Reader and New City Stage. Behind the scenes interview with Ben Bowman here.



Mel Brooks at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 3:00 p.m. The comedy legend and icon is here to talk about his legendary, still hot, one-of-a-kind career, to screen Blazing Saddles with the audience and then and there, to host a Q&A. Mel Brooks is one of the only artists to win a Tony, an Emmy, a Grammy and an Oscar. His first Oscar was for the animated short, The Critic in 1964, followed four years later by his second for The Producers. He is also know for Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Spaceballs,  The Twelve ChairsSilent MovieHigh Anxiety,History of the World Part ITo Be, Life StinksRobin Hood: Men in Tights and Dracula: Dead and Loving It. Also, of course, for The 2000 Year Old Man which he created with best friend and fellow genius, Carl Reiner. The sketch is as funny today as when they created it in 1961.

Mel Brooks also won three Emmy Awards as “Uncle Phil” on the sitcom Mad About You – three years in a row! He won three Tony Awards and two Grammy Awards for The Producers: the New Mel Brooks Musical, which was a smash Broadway hit from 2001 to 2006. The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein on Broadway followed from 2007 to 2009. He is also the recipient of The Kennedy Center Honors (2009), for “extraordinary contributions to American culture.” In 2013, he was featured on PBS’s American Masters documentary Mel Brooks: Make A Noise, which also won an Emmy. To top is all off, he was the 41st recipient of the AFI’s Life Achievement Award.

And Chicagoans can see him in person today!

Kevin Williams Primed for Late Night at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. Featuring bound to be late-night-bound Chicago comics.

Lyons and Campbell at Laugh Out Loud Comedy Theater, 3151 N. Lincoln, 8:00 p.m. One night only reunion of comedy duo Jamie Campbell and Steven Lyons. A night of sketch, stand-up and improv. Before Jamie moved to L.A., the two collaborated on the sketch comedy/talk show Talk Hard, named “Best Sketch Troupe” by the Chicago Reader. Since then, Jamie’s debut album Tell Me You’re Proud of Me hit #1 on the Amazon charts and Steven has performed internationally, including as a member of New Zealand’s Improv Bandits and with Second City’s touring company. The show tonight could be the launch of a national tour. Here’s the chance to be in on a cool comedy happening from the beginning.


Dating App Double Dip at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 8:00 p.m. Double feature: Tinderella (two audience members meet – improv plays out the fairy tale) and #Grindme (the best and worst sides of social media).

[LAST SHOW] Mic Check and SPELL at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:30 p.m. Mic Check is Cat McDonnell’s recreation of some of the characters she’s encountered in Chicago’s open mic scene. SPELL is an interactive solo show by Zach Zimmerman. Characters from Christian magicians to a rhyming witch to one of Steve Harvey’s people will engage the audience in “escalating” interactions.


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