Chicago comedy spotlight for August 1-7

Visitors this week include Omar Nava, Laura Sanders, Patrick Ney, Mal Hall, Shane Torres and Asperger’s Are Us. Brad Zimmerman’s show is in its last week! Plus, two of Chicago’s favorite comedy sons return: Michael Palascak and Nick Vatterott.

Please let me know if you have a show you would like me to add now or in the future and as always, please confirm all details before heading out!

Thank you to the Chicago comedy community. This is just a fraction of this week’s greatness.

(I always forget to say this … please share this calendar and help me spread the word!)



Sadsacks and Wisecracks at High Hat Club, 1920 W. Irving Park, 8:00 p.m. Free comedy showcase hosted by Natalie Jose. Featuring Sydney Adeniyi, George Coffey, Omar Nava, Paul Farahvar, Caitlin Boho, Alex Dragicevich. Music by Bill Larkin.


The Armando Diaz Experience at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. Chicago’s longest running comedy show begins with one person revealing personal experiences which then inspire the evening’s long-form improv. The show was originally created by Adam McKay (SNL, Anchorman, Drunk History), Dave Koechner (SNL, Anchorman, Another Period, The Goldbergs) and Del Close (legend and iO co-founder) during their time at iO.

Adam Burke at 100 Proof Comedy at Comedy Sportz, 929 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. Adam Burke has been named best stand-up by the Chicago Reader and is a favorite panelist on Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me!

Best Night Ever at Gman Tavern, 3740 N. Clark, 8:30 p.m. Free stand-up showcase. Mike Cronin hosts Mike Bobrinskoy, Lainie Lenertz, Omar Nava (Los Angeles), Justin Golak and Laura Sanders (New Orleans). Interview with Mike Cronin here.



Michael Palascak at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Michael Palascak was a finalist on Last Comic Standing last summer, but was already an in-demand headliner nationwide. Originally from Indiana, he began his career here. He has also appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, Conan and Comedy Central. He’ll be at Zanies from Tuesday thru Sunday, August 7.


Chicago Underground Comedy at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:00 p.m. Summer series continues with Mike Timlin, Dan Drees, Ali Clayton, Xavier Lamont and Mike Stanley and Actual Murderers.



Is it Still Funny with Mark Caro at The Music Box Theater, 3733 N. Southport Ave., 7:30 p.m. This ongoing series gives audiences a chance to screen a classic comedy with a noted film critic, then weigh in with your answer to that question. Tonight: Airplane, released in 1980, was a spoof of the over-the-top disaster films of the 1970s.


My Rise to the Middle at the North Shore Center for Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., 7:30 p.m. Brad Zimmerman presents a one-time workshop performance of part 2 of My Son the Waiter. By the way, My Son The Waiter is in its last week in the Chicago area. Last performance is Sunday.


ChUC Charities: Community Cervix at The East Room, 2354 N. Milwaukee Ave., 8:00 p.m. All proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood. Performances by Natalie Jose, Liz Ziner, Rachel McCartney, Becca Brown, Sarah Sherman, Peter Kim and Alex Kumin. Music by Beastii, VV Lightbody and Beauty School. Also featuring DJ Yung Zucc. A Chicago Underground Comedy production.

Spooky Dooky: First Fright at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. “A comedy show based on conspiracy theories and cryptozoology. Spooky Dooky prides itself on its representation of lady performers and the unknown.” Featuring a Big Foot encounter story with a Big Foot explanation from hosts Lisa Peters and Claire Swanson and stand-up from Zach Peterson, Jarrel Scott Barnes, Carma Nibarger and your headliner Caitlin Checkeroski. Free healing crystals.

The Lincoln Lodge Presents Nick Vatterott and Special Guests in The Outer Zone at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 8:30 p.m. With Abby Vatterott, Dean Evans and Steven King.  While he was getting his start here, Chicago magazine named Nick Vatterott the “funniest man in Chicago.” Vulture, Splitsider and Laughspin all named his 2014 album For Amusement Only one of the top ten of the year. He is also the winner of the Andy Kaufman award which recognizes originality and innovation in comedy.


High Spirits with Patrick Ney at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, 8:30 p.m. An evening of wine paired with comedy presented by sommelier/comedian Patrick Ney. Tonight and Thursday night.

Asperger’s Are Us at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. “Asperger’s Are Us is the first comedy troupe consisting of openly autistic people. We’re not a charity & we’re not poking fun at Asperger’s. We’re absurd.”

Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks, 9:00 p.m. A Chicago showcase becoming famous nationwide. Tonight Marty DeRosa hosts David Drake, Tyson Karrasch, Kristen Lundberg, T. Murph, Laura Sanders and Mike Stanley.

Dave Maher II: Listen and Ask Questions at Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave., 9:30 p.m. “Dave hands the spotlight over to the audience to do and say whatever they would like for the entire evening, as he limits himself to only two actions onstage: listening and asking questions.”



Mal Hall at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, 7:30 p.m. Shows Thursday thru Sunday. Mal Hall is an award-winning comedian originally from San Diego now based in L.A.


Shane Torres at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Why is Shane Torres’ twitter handle @syrupmountain? Find out here. Shane Torres has appeared on Comedy Bang Bang, Last Comic Standing and Conan.

The Kates on Broadway at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:30 p.m. Chicago’s all-female comedy troupe produced by Kelsie Huff. Tonight: Kelsie Huff, Amy Sumpter, Tamale Sepp, Kimberly Marion, Stephanie Hasz, Alexandra Tsarpalas , Gwen La Roka, Mariann Aalda , Claire Swanson and more TBA.

Not From Here at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 9:00 p.m. Rob Johnson and Jordan Kulow are Second City Conservatory grads and the award-winning members of “Not From Here.” They slalom between improv and sketch, so hold on for the ride. Expect a fast-paced comedic variety show and Jordan Kulow’s patented Trump impression. Thursdays thru August 25th.

Just Dickin’ Around All Ladies 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.” More than enough reason to go, but also free pizza. Produced by Krista Atkinson, Scott Duff and Marla Depew. Host: Krista Atkinson. Featuring Erin Conlon, Diana Pickard, Leah Slater and Mary Zee.

ChiGAYgo at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 10:00 p.m. “Chicago’s funniest LGBTQ comics and their allies.” Producer and host: Scott Duff. Tonight features Adam Bindert, Bill Bullock, Adam Guerino, Reena Calm, Rachel McCartney and Rebecca O’Neal.

Messing with a Friend at The Annoyance Theater, 851 W. Belmont Ave., 10:30 p.m. Tonight’s guest: Michael Patrick Thornton. He is an actor whose credits include Dr. Gabriel Fife on Private Practice. This is a show where the improvisers morph from character to character before your eyes. Believable and magical at the same time. A little bit dangerous, too. Anything can happen. Susan Messing was named “Best Improviser” by the Reader and “Improviser of the Year” at the Chicago Improv Festival.



Comedy Break at Celtic Crown Public House, 4301 N. Western Ave., 8:00 p.m. Free stand-up showcase. Headiner: Calvin Evans. Hosted by Claire Swanson and featuring Adam Bowman, Brandon Kieffer, and Deanna Ortiz.

WIP 2-Year Anniversary Show at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. Featuring Mike Capra, Sean Mullaney, The Laser Comedy Show, Internal Rhyme and the Blair Wolf Project.

Surprise Party at SFR-Logan Square, 2830 W. Armitage, 8:00 p.m. Headliner: Ray Holleb. Featuring Bobby Condon, Blake Burkhart, Casey Larwood and Nicky Martin. Hosted by Erin Grotheer.

Funked Up Friday at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 10:00 p.m. This show is a party and you’re invited. Due to popular demand, the celebration has gone from monthly to weekly. Please check out my interview with host AJ Lubecker here.

Word Play at The Revival, 1160 E. 55th St., 10:00 p.m. Hip hop plus stand-up plus spoken word. Produced by Dave Jeff and hosted by WGCI’s Leon Rogers.

Mike Stanley at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 10:00 p.m. Shows tonight and Saturday. Mike Stanley  is an international headliner, but Chicago is his comedy hometown. He was named Best Stand-Up by  the readers of the Chicago Reader. His album Tough Luck Chumpon the Stand Up! Records label, was recorded at Chicago’s famed Lakeshore Theater.  Interesting fact: Mike Stanley’s voyage to the Boston Comedy Festival was made into a feature-length documentary, Salty Language, Peppered Morals.


Liquid Courage at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 10:30 p.m. Fridays thru August 26. A cast of characters including Bloody Mary and Fireball are back at Second City by popular demand. Cast: Katherine Biskupic, Terrence Carey, Leah Frires, Katie Nixon, Mollie Rehner, Lee Russell.



Late Late Breakfast at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 2:00 p.m. Free pancakes and show, plus this week, free LLB posters. Today: comedy games proposed by LLB Kickstarter supporters. Anything could happen.

Type One at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 7:00 p.m. Free. Writers Mike Seskauskas and Landis Wiedner present a reading of their new comedy pilot about a Type 1 diabetic support group. In addition to laughs and the opportunity to see an innovative new work and provide feedback to the writers, this show offers a fresh perspective to break stereotypes and raise awareness. “Think The Office meets an AA group meets Type 1 meets a terrible family reunion.” NOTE: rescheduled from July 23 due to that evening’s floods.

Brexit Wounds at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 7:30 p.m. For anyone (a/k/a all of us) who ask “Who the HELL would vote that way?” August 6 and 13.

Comedy Night at 12 Handles Ale House, 1827 Knapp Rd, Crest Hill, 8:30 p.m. Headliner: Sherman Edwards. Featuring: Patrick O’Hara, Joe Degand, Faizan Hussain and Rashad Clarke. Presented by Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio. UPDATE: this show has  has been rescheduled to September 17.



A Lill Comedy Showcase at Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 9:15 p.m. A one-hour comedy showcase hosted by Lill Allison.

We Still Like You: WOW It’s August Wow at Flat Iron Comedy, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., 10:00 p.m. Featuring Reena Calm, Wes Perry, Meaghan Strickland, Ed Towns, Kelly Dugan, Dane Arden with Clare Austen-Smith on the live art. Hosted by Shannon Noll and Danii Gallegos. A show that should be the model for life. How it goes: Stories. Maybe shameful. Reassure. We still like you. The “only comedy storytelling show about conquering and embracing our worst moments.”

Beast Women at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston Ave., 10:30 p.m. This revue highlights the strength and talent of women. Tonight features comedians Amanda Cohen, Melissa Richelle and Mary Zee, plus a poet, a monologist, fire fans and more.



Pet Psychic Fair at Harmony House for Cats, 2914 N. Elston, 1:00 p.m –4:00 p.m. Depending on what your pet thinks of you, this may be comedy. I’m sure our dog’s got plenty of material. Free admission. Shopping and raffles, plus free gifts from the upcoming film Nine Lives while supplies last. Psychic pet readings are $20 and require a photo of your pet. Early arrival advised since readings sell out fast. All proceeds support this no-kill shelter.

An Intro to Mick Napier at Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave., 2:00 p.m. Annoyance founder and improv legend Mick Napier conducts this interactive workshop which has been touring nationwide. Mick will answer audience questions about improv and create an exercise on the spot to demonstrate his response.

Improv Nerd at Second City, 1616 N. Wells 5:30 p.m. Jimmy Carrane interviews Joe Bill. Joe Bill co-stars in Bassprov, is a member of the improv team Weasilicious, and a co-founder of Annoyance Theatre.


The Wizengamot: A Live Harry Potter Debate at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W Newport, 6:00 p.m.  Debating both pre-submitted questions and audience suggestions. Harry Potter challenges and trivia between rounds. Sundays thru August 28.

Arguments and Grievances at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. Chicago magazine named these comic debates “Best of Variety Shows” for 2014. This month features Zach Peterson vs Michael Timlin (Leonardo DaVinci vs Leonardo Dicaprio), Danny Kallas vs Keith Paesal (TBA), Kristin Clifford vs Kyle Scanlan (A Garden vs A Savage Garden) and Joe Nudelman vs Rachel McCartney (Voting vs Not Voting).

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