Chicago comedy spotlight for August 22-28

Weird Al is back in Chicagoland! Ben Gleib also visits this week along with Garfunkel and Oates, Terry O’Quinn, Jimmy Yang, Lee Camp, Kate Miller, Cash Levy, Dave Merheje and Shaun Latham.

Lots of Chicagoans returning home this week: Sami Grisafe, TJ Miller, Godfrey, Bob Dassie, Rich Talarico, and Craig Cackowski.

Speaking of TJ Miller, news broke late last week that he’ll host the Critics Choice Awards for the second year in a row. The ceremony airs live  on December 11 on A&E. With its move from January to December, it becomes the earliest of the major film awards shows.

Ticket alerts for two of comedy’s best! Last week, Maz Jobrani and Gary Gulman both announced shows this fall and they’re sure to be sold out. Maz Jobrani brings his film Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero (“the Persian Pink Panther”) to the Siskel Center where he’ll appear for a Q&A at two screenings on September 25. Tickets

By the way, he’ll also be at the Improv on October 21-22 and at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts on March 11, 2017. But don’t be lulled by the abundance of dates – his tickets go fast!

Tickets for Gary Gulman at Lincoln Hall on November 17 went on sale here last Friday. One of my biggest sadnesses and regrets from last year was missing his show at SPACE in Evanston. Hoping this year will be different!

This must be the week of “two.” In addition to those two ticket alerts, there are, of course, two Silicon Valley stars here this week (Jimmy Yang and TJ Miller), two Millers (TJ and his wife, Kate) and the duo of Garfunkel and Oates. There are also two comedy music festivals. On Thursday, improv groups and guests from around the country converge on iO for its four-day annual Chicago Musical Improv Festival. Then Friday kicks off FuMPFest, “a full weekend of comedy music and related weirdness.”

And of course – of course! – there’s the brilliance of comedians we’re lucky to have here all year around. Just take a look below for a sampling. For more, click on “Comedy each day of the week” above and you’ll find listings of weekly showcases and theater events.

Thank you to the Chicago comedy community.

Thank you for reading and for helping me spread the word.

As always, please confirm all details before heading out!

Update August 27: Two surprise TJ Miller sets announced for tonight. See Saturday listing below.


The Love Below Presents Sami Grisafe at Goldie’s Chicago, 3839 N. Lincoln., 8:00 p.m. A special edition of this comedy showcase. Singer songwriter (and all-star women’s football quarterback) Sami Grisafe returns from L.A. for a night of stories and the music they inspired. Hosted by Jonathan Giles with more storytelling from Michael Rice, Cameron Miller and Erin Field.


CampPain with Tim Slagle at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. An evening of political comedy with Tim Slagle every fourth Monday.



Laughter Trumps Hate at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.’s national comedy competition comes to Chicago featuring successful contestants and surprise guests. “Be a part of discovering the new voices to carry’s message of being #UnitedAgainstHate.”

Weird Al at The Coronado, 314 N. Main St., Rockford, 8:00 p.m. Weird Al’s Mandatory Tour.


Fool Me Twice, Déjà Vu at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. The 104th Main Stage Revue. The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones called it “exceptionally funny” and “Second City like you’ve never seen it before.” Tickets sell out fast. Check site for additional shows throughout the week.

Comedy Cocktail at The House of Blues’ Foundation Room, 329 N. Dearborn, 8:00 p.m. Tonight: Just Nesh, Erica Clark, Jonah Jurkens and Martin Morrow. Open mic after the showcase. Produced by

Chicago Underground Comedy Summer Series at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:00 p.m. Jeff Hanson hosts Kyle Scanlan, Gena Gephart, Becca Brown, CJ Sullivan and Dave Helem.



Tom Rockwell Interview on Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio, 8:30 a.m. Tony Carr and Steve Touhy interview FuMPFest’s Tom Rockwell. Follow the link or download the CCSR app. Either way, the interview comes to YOU!

Ben Gleib at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday thru Saturday. Follow link for all show times. Ben Gleib is an award-winning comedian and a Today Show “Guys Tell All” correspondent. He is the host, writer and executive producer of GSN’s Idiotest and Political Idiotest. His comedy special Neurotic Gangster debuted on Showtime and he has also been featured on Comedy Central’s @Midnight. He is the only political reporter to both rattle John McCain at a press conference and ask Hillary Clinton an off-limits pants suit question. Check it out here.


Dasiriski at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday night (8:00 p.m.). iO alums now successfully established in Hollywood are back for two nights and three shows only! They are Bob Dassie, Rich Talarico, and Craig Cackowski and their resumes include Saturday Night Live, Mad TV, Key & Peele, Arrested Development, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Community, HBO’s Funny or Die Presents, Veep and Drunk History. See the show and take in a workshop.

Mom Genes Presents: What’s Your Sign? at Café Mustache, 2313 N. Milwaukee, 8:00 p.m. Featuring stand-up from Lara Azar, Amy Nico Schwartz and David Rader. Featuring a character from Nicky Martin (Desperate Collectors). Headliner: Matty Ryan.


[LAST SHOW!] Dave Maher II at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m.  “Actual Afterlives: Dave and several of Chicago’s most unique writers and performers create short pieces that provide concrete answers to the question, ‘What happens when we die?’” Dave Maher created and starred in the most excellent Dave Maher Coma Show, a brutally honest and funny look at being in a coma and its impact on life-after, so tonight’s view on the afterlife comes with extra perspective.

Jimmy Yang at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 9:30 p.m. Silicon Valley’s Jimmy Yang is at Zanies downtown tonight and at Zanies in Rosemont Thursday thru Saturday. Follow link for all showtimes.



Godfrey Interview on Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio, 8:30 a.m. Tony Carr and Steve Touhy interview this week’s Improv headliner . Follow the link or download the CCSR app. Either way, interview comes to YOU!

Chicago Musical Improv Festival at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. The festival kicks off tonight. Featuring performers from around the country and workshops. Follow link for all details.

Godfrey at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. Godfrey grew up in Chicago and is a nationally touring headliner. His credits include Zoolander, Johnson Family Vacation30 Rock and Louie.

CJ Sullivan Presents Comedians Who Never Left Chicago: A Cautionary Tale at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. Featuring Mark Geary, Brian Potrafka, Brian MgCannon, Adam Kroshus, Bill O’Donnell and Sean Bair Flannery.

A Red Line Runs Through It at Second City’s e.t.c. Theater, 1608 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. The e.t.c.’s 40th Revue “rides the rails of Chicago in order to answer life’s tough questions.” Chris Jones called it “an admirably fearless” look at our city. Thursday-Sunday.

[LAST WEEKEND!] Unelectable You: The Second City’s Completely Unbiased Political Revue at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. Thursday thru Sunday. Follow link for all show times. “Wouldn’t you like to take this whole election process and rip it apart with your bare hands? Why not let Second City and Slate do it for you!”

Rat Pack Comedy at The Holiday Club, 4000 N. Sheridan Rd., 8:00 p.m. A free stand-up showcase with a vintage Rat Pack vibe. Tonight’s headliner: Nick Rouley. Featuring Sarah Sherman, Carly Ballerini, Kahlil Wilson and Andy Fleming. Hosted by Terence Hartnett. Music by Mike Dlugos. Photography by Sarah Larson.

Dave Merheje at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Dave Merheje is an award-winning comedian who often finds material in his Lebanese-Canadian heritage.

Just Dickin’ Around All Genders Showcase at Hydrate, 3458 N. Halsted, 8:30 p.m. Open mic begins at 8:30 p.m. Showcase at 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 and free pizza! Tonight is hosted by JDA producer Scott Duff. Showcase guests: Krista Atkinson (JDA member), Steve Gerard, Ray Holleb and Ralph LaGuerre.


This Week’s Show at Stanley’s Kitchen & Tap, 1970 N. Lincoln, 8:30 p.m. With Lucas O’Neil, Rebecca O’Neal and Adam Burke.


Defiant Thomas Brothers at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 10:00 p.m. The award-winning, critically acclaimed Thomas Brothers in their only summer appearance! Interview here.

Messing with a Friend at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 10:30 pm. 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. Tonight’s friend is improv director, performer, writer and teacher Megan Johns. Messing with a Friend is a Chicago “must see” which just celebrated its tenth anniversary.



FuMPFest at Holiday Inn, 1000 Busse Rd., Elk Grove Village, 4:00 p.m. A convention and festival for fans of funny music. Friday-Sunday. The 2016 guests of honor are Paul and Storm. Follow link for complete line-up. Producer Tom Rockwell announced on Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio that the audio will be streaming for free and for what you can pay, you can see the video, too. Check site for details.

Chicago Musical Improv Festival at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 7:00 p.m. Thru Sunday. Featuring performers from around the country and workshops. Follow link for all details.

Drinkers with Writing Problems Presents: Lit Up! at Brisku’s Bistro, 4100 N. Kedzie, 7:30 p.m. Last Friday of the month live lit series includes short stories, first person essays, humor, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Hosted by Elizabeth Gomez. Featuring Ines Bellina, Murphy Row, Donny Rodriguez, Anita Mechler, Black Heaven, David Hughes and Lily Be.

TJ Miller’s Meticulously Ridiculous Tour at The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 8:00 p.m. Returning to his comedy hometown with his wife, Kate Miller and with Cash Levy.


Shaun Latham at The Comedy Shrine, 4034 Fox Valley Center Drive, Aurora, 8:00 p.m. One of Gabriel Iglesias’ favorite comedians, Shaun Latham is at the Comedy Shrine tonight and Saturday.

I Hate Everyone But Us at Flat Iron Comedy, 1579 N. Milwaukee, 9:00 p.m. A work by some of Second City’s best: Julia DiFerdinando, Shantira Jackson and Rachael Mason. Suggested donation: $10. Pay what you can.

The Time is Now (Starting Tomorrow) at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 9:00 p.m. Through September 30. A comedy revue asking what would happen if we really carpe’d the diem?

Funked Up Friday at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 10:00 p.m. Finish the week and start the weekend with this party hosted by AJ Lubecker. (Interview here.) Featuring Kelsie Huff, Ricky Gonzalez, Paul Farahvar and more comedians TBA.

[LAST SHOW!] Liquid Courage at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 10:30 p.m. 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.



FuMPFest at Holiday Inn, 1000 Busse Rd., Elk Grove Village, 9:00 a.m. A convention and festival for fans of funny music. Friday-Sunday.


Oscar-Winning Comedies at The Music Box Theater, 3733 N. Southport, 11:00 a.m. The Music Box continues this series with matinee screenings of The Sting on Saturday and Sunday.

Contestant Search for Let’s Make A Deal at Hollywood Casino, Aurora, 1 W. New York St., 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Audition for a chance to meet Wayne Brady and find out what’s behind Curtain #3. Interesting fact: Monty Hall, the creator and original host of Let’s Make a Deal, celebrates his 95th birthday this week (August 25).

Television in the ‘90s at Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State St., 1:00 p.m. A panel discussion about comedy (Seinfeld, The Daily Show, The Simpsons) and non-comedy programming (O.J., for instance) in the ‘90s. Panelists: Justin Kaufman (WGN), Phil Rosenthal (Chicago Tribune) and Dr. Sharon Ross (Columbia College). Moderator: Walter J. Podrazik (MBC Television Curator).

Chicago Musical Improv Festival at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 5:00 p.m. Thru Sunday. Featuring performers from around the country and workshops. Follow link for all details.

the kates at The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln Ave., 7:00 p.m. Featuring Lauren Hooberman, Jillian Ebanks, Alyson Lyon, Mary Lorenz, Rebecca Loeser, Susie Allen, Amy Sumpter, Anna Lucero, Jackie Wolk, Rebecca O’Neal and hosted by Sommer Austin.

Simmer Brown: 20th Century Brexit at Bughouse Theater, 1910 W. Irving Park Rd., 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for reception for prepaid ticket holders only. Show at 8:00 p.m. Read this great review in the Sun Times and get your tickets – this show is usually sold out in advance! Tonight: Sammy Arechar, Javid Iqbal, Laura Hugg, Jordan Holmes, Improv Duo, Killer Whales Go Rambo (Rob Wilson and Warren Phynix Johnson) and more TBA. Also featuring performances from Simmer Brown producers Sameena Mustafa and Jerry Tran.

No Guts, No Story at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 7:30 p.m. Tonight and September 3. Sketch comedy written by and based on the experiences of  the all-veterans cast of “Stars and Gripes”: Crystal Clark (Army), Tyler Decker (Army), Cam Dupre (Marine Corps), Landis Frederick (Navy), Melissa Patterson (Air Force), and Jonah Saesan (Marine Corps).

Therapy Players at Open Door Theater, 902 S. Ridgeland Ave., Oak Park, 8:00 p.m. Chicago’s all psychotherapist improv troupe.

TJ Miller Update on August 27: Two surprise TJ Miller sets just announced for tonight: The Revival at 8:00 p.m. and the Laugh Factory at 11:59 p.m.!


FuMPFest at Holiday Inn, 1000 Busse Rd., Elk Grove Village, 9:00 a.m. A convention and festival for fans of funny music. Last day.


Garfunkel and Oates at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, 6:30  p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Upright Citizens Brigade alums Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci are Garfunkel and Oates, named in honor of famed “rock-and-roll second bananas,” Art Garfunkel and John Oates. Early show is sold out, but tickets still available for 9:00 p.m.

Chicago Musical Improv Festival at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 7:00 p.m. Musical Armando is the festival finale and it stars Terry O’Quinn of Lost and Hawaii 5-0.

Back to School: CPS Stand-Up Showcase at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. All performers in this stand-up showcase  are employees of the Chicago Public Schools:Lilly Allison, Mathias Muschal, Tom Filine, Scotty Filine, Dae Jun Sung, Rad Turkin and St. James Jackson. Please bring school supplies to donate to CPS. All CPS employees get in free with ID.

Lee Camp at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. Saturday, too, but Saturday is sold out. Still tickets for tonight. Lee Camp is the head writer and host of Redacted Tonight with Lee Camp on RT America and of the web series, Moments of Clarity.

I’d love to have you as a subscriber. Please type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam, spam, spam, spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Leave a Reply