Chicago comedy spotlight for September 6-September 11

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, author of the newly published behind-the-scenes history, Seinfeldia, has two appearances here this week! Visitors also include Monty Franklin, Zoltan Kaszas and comedian and talk show host Stephanie Miller. Adult Swim is in Chicago inviting you to an evening of new cartoons under the stars.

In more cartoon news, Bugs Bunny will appear at Ravinia.

Ticket alerts!

Craig Ferguson at The Chicago Theatre on November 6. Tickets are on sale Friday at 10:00 a.m. here.

Sebastian Maniscalco (originally from Arlington Heights) at The Chicago Theatre on November 25 and 26. Tickets on sale Friday at 9:00 a.m. here.

As always, local Chicago comedy is in the spotlight and I’m always amazed at the comedy treasures we have here on a daily basis.

As always, please confirm all details before heading out!

Thank you to the Chicago comedy community. Thank you for reading and for helping me spread the word.



World Premiere of Azhar Usman’s Ultra American: A Patriot Act, 77 W. Washington St., lower level, 7:30 p.m. Azhar Usman’s new one-man show is about the “tensions and paradoxes surrounding the double consciousness of American Muslims living in an ever-polarizing world.” Although he talks about tensions and dissonance, an Azhar Usman show is about warmth and connection and the things that unite people. I saw him open for Maz Jobrani a while back and have never forgotten the way he uplifted the entire audience.

Love this interview he did with Tim Barnes on It’s All True. You’ll get to the post office story and be in tears.

Azhar Usman’s one-man show will be in Chicago Tuesdays-Sundays thru September 25. Follow link for all show times.

One Woman No Show at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. Actors get a surprise solo play written just for them which they perform on the spot. Performances include “monologues, audience interaction, charity challenges, pantomime, and improvisation.” Tonight: Nnamdi Ngwe (Performer and Improviser at iO, “3Peat,” “Deltones,” Second City Theatricals), Padraic Connelly – (Artistic Director ComedySportz Chicago, Performer with “Whirled News Tonight” at iO) and Kat Kuhl – (Producer and Creator of the Campaign Podcast on the OneShot Podcast Network).

Patti Vasquez at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Follow link for all show times. Patti Vasquez is the host of WGN’s Pretty Late. She is one of my favorite comedians to see in person even though at her shows I’ve laughed so hard that I had to signal my husband to call an ambulance. Always upbeat comedy even about the parts of life that aren’t so easy. Patti Vasquez is always on-point and can make anything hilarious. Just have 911 on speed dial.

Secrets, Lies and Alibis at The Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln, 8:30 p.m. A comedy variety show inspired by the audience’s anonymous secrets. Featuring Taneshia Rice (Comedy Central’s Funny is Funny) , Bill Bullock (Congrats on Your Success, Cole’s Cabaret), Matt Chiaramonte (Crossbread Comedy and Feature Presentation at Laugh Factory), Casey Whitaker (Second City, Zanies), Natalie G Alford (Accidental Comedy Fest, Cupcake Cabaret), Elliot Lerner (Secrets, Lies & Alibis, MINE at Chicago Fringe Festival). Hosted by Sarah Albritton. $5 suggested donation.

Chicago Underground Comedy at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. $5. Extending the Labor Day holiday with another special evening in ChUC’s summer series. There’s a raffle and Actual Murderers. Headliner: Meredith Kachel. Featuring David Philips, Natalie Jose, Sarah Sherman and Sean Flannery. ChUC is known for launching some of the fastest rising names in comedy, including TJ Miller, Cameron Esposito, Beth Stelling and Kumail Nanjiani.



Ego Trip Club Two-Year Anniversary at Bru Coffee, 1562 N. Milwaukee Ave., 7:00 p.m. Free show. Free cake and champagne. Surprises! Headliner: Brandi Denise. Hosted by Amanda Lynn Deal and Brandon Kirkman.

CJ Sullivan Live Album Recording at Comedians You Should Know, Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Court, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Chicago has been privileged to have CJ Sullivan here, but his album recordings represent his last shows before he moves to L.A. See him now while you have a chance. Interesting fact: he is also a champion professional poker player. With Matty Ryan and Danny Kallas.

Is It Still Funny? at The Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport, 7:30 p.m. A screening and discussion with Chicago film critic Mark Caro (Chicago Tribune, New York Times). Tonight: Harold and Maude.

Psychotic Break at Schubas Tavern, 3159 N. Southport, 8:00 p.m. Upstairs at Schubas. Chicago’s honest and funny variety show with a focus on mental illness and addiction. Featuring Meredith Kachel, Third Coast Comics owner Terry Gant, and am interview with author and journalist Mason Johnson. Hosted by Jenn Sodini and Daniel Shapiro.

Laughing Liberally at Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln, 8:00 p.m. The debut of this monthly progressive political comedy show. First Wednesdays of the month. Tickets are $5. Hosted by the comedy group, The Accountants of Homeland Security: Matthew Filipowicz, Tim Grimes, James Bespalec-Davis and Bob Rok. Tonight features Sarah Manning, Audrey Jonas, and Kristen Ryan, juggler Brad French and music from The Microphone Misfitz.

Each show will also features an interview with a Chicago political figure, journalist or activist. This month: Maya Schenwar, Editor-in-Chief of TruthOut and the author of Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work And How We Can Do Better.



Jennifer Keishin Armstrong at The Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State St., 6:00 p.m. An evening with the author of Seinfeldia. She will be at the Orland Park Library tomorrow night.

Adult Swim Drive-In: Chicago at Soldier Field, 6:15 p.m. Unaired episodes, pilots and food trucks under the stars with the Cartoon Network.

Monty Franklin at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. Thursday thru Sunday. Follow link for all show times. Monty Franklin is an Australian-born comedian now in L.A.

You’re Being Ridiculous at Steppenwolf, 1700 N. Halsted, 8:00 p.m. Steppenwolf has invited this wonderful, profound and funny storytelling series to be its guest at its LookingOut series which honors diverse and emerging Chicago artists. I highly recommend! YBT will be at Steppenwolf tonight, Friday and Saturday. Tonight: stories by Brooke Allen, Angela Benander, Jen Bosworth, Robert Cornelius, Margaret Dunn, Ashley Hicks, Jeremy Owens, Eileen Tull, Jane Mathie, and Zoe Zolbrod. Theme: cleaning skeletons from your closet.

Zoltan Kaszas at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Follow link for all show times.

Mama Said Knock You Out at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 9:00 p.m. The premiere of this hip hop comedy improv challenge.

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’s showcase is hosted by JDA producer Marla Depew. Featuring Alex Dragicevich, Tom Gotlund, Connor King, Tristan A. Smith and Casey Whitaker. Interview with the wonderful JDA folks here.

Messing with a Friend at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 10:30 pm. Tonight: Susan Messing with Emo Philips! 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. Emo Philips is one of the most original minds in stand-up.



Funny Ha-Ha: Get Lit at The Hideout Inn, 1354 W. Wabansia, 6: 30 p.m. This literary humor series is back! Tonight: JW Basilo (writer and performer), Tyler Snodgrass (comedian, host of We Still Like You), Lily Be (producer of The Stoop storytelling series), Jasmine Davila (co-host of Vital Issues podcast), Wendy McClure (author and children’s book editor), Abraham Levitan (Nerds on Tour host and creator of Power Piano), Steve Delahoyde (filmmaker) and host Claire Zulkey (author) Suggested donation: $10, benefits Sit Stay Read.

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong at the Orland Park Library, 14921 Ravinia Avenue, Orland Park, 7:00 p.m. An evening with the author of Seinfeldia at her hometown library.

the kates at the Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln Ave., 7:00 p.m. Chicago’s all-female comedy troupe produced by Kelsie Huff. Tonight Kyna Lenhof, Laura Hugg, Janice Rodriguez, Sarah Vulpio, Mary Runkle, Jayme Allen, Erin Conlon, Aleksandra Pavlovic, Lauren Kreiser, (Host) Elizabeth Gomez

A Red Line Runs Through It at Second City’s e.t.c. Theater, 1608 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 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. Friday-Sunday. Follow link for all show times.

Life’s a Game at The Revival, 1160 E. 55th St., 8:00 p.m. “How you play is up to you.” LeLe Mason of Second City and EbonyEssenceJet presents an original sketch comedy revue about life’s ups and downs and how to handle them.

You’re Being Ridiculous at Steppenwolf, 1700 N. Halsted, 8:00 p.m. Steppenwolf has invited this wonderful, profound and funny storytelling series to be its guest at its LookingOut series which honors diverse and emerging Chicago artists. I highly recommend! YBT will be at Steppenwolf for two more nights: tonight and Saturday. Tonight stories by David Cerda, Keith Ecker, Megan Henricks, Brenna Kearney, Arlene Malinowski, Jeremy Owens, Elijah Ruiz, Jason Smith, Alyssa Sorresso, and Natasha Tsoutsouris Theme: cleaning skeletons from your closet.

Official Blues Brothers Revue at Metropolis Performing Arts Center, 111 W Campbell St, Arlington Heights, 7:30 p.m. All the Blues Brothers classic music performed by Wayne Catania as Jake and Kieron Lafferty as Elwood. This is the only Blues Brothers retrospective approved by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s estate.

The Martin Luther Kings of Comedy: Black Friday at The Revival, 1160 E. 55th St., 9:30 p.m. A comedy variety show highlighting “voices that don’t usually get to shine.” The MLKs are Jayson Acevedo, Jarrell Scott Barnes, Joel Boyd, James Fisher, Denny Love, Ty Riggs, Mike Robinson and DJ CookUp Cam.

Derek Sheen at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Hightway, 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday night. Seattle’s Derek Sheen comes to Chicago for his “Sexy Dummy” Comedy Tour. New album coming soon! His first album was recorded here in Chicago at Comedians You Should Know. Please check out my interview with this very engaging and original comedian here.



Comedy Block Party at Estate Ultra Bar, 1177 N. Elston, 3:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. After party at 10:00 p.m. Follow link for complete schedule. Headliners Brady Matthews, Marty Derosa, Russ Williamson, Brian Babylon and more to be announced.

The Christian Comedy Tour at Chicagoland Christian Center, 929 E. 103rd St., 6:00 p.m. Featuring Ron Baker Jr., Stick, Kendall Ferguson, C Dawg and more to be announced.

You’re Being Ridiculous at Steppenwolf, 1700 N. Halsted, 8:00 p.m. Steppenwolf has invited this wonderful, profound and funny storytelling series to be its guest at its LookingOut series which honors diverse and emerging Chicago artists. I highly recommend! Last night of this series. Tonight stories by April Coleman, Kelly Loris, Ricardo Gamboa, Adrienne Gunn, Andrew Marikis, Jeremy Owens, Carlos Pinon, Cassie Slater, Megan Stielstra, and Kris Vire Theme: cleaning skeletons from your closet.

Cupid Has a Heart On at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. Chicago’s longest running musical comedy is a sketch show about body image, love, relationships and the way they haunt us. Created by Chicago comedy guru Brian Posen who is also Stage 773’s creative director. He directs the play and provides the musical accompaniment. This production has toured nationwide and its music has been featured on NBC, ABC, WGN, WTTW, WCKG and WBEZ. Every Saturday.

Stephanie Miller at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 8:00 p.m. Radio talk show host and comedian Stephanie Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Comedy” Tour with John Fugelsang and comedy due Frangela.

Afro-Futurism at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 9:00 p.m. Extraordinary cast. Hosted by Nightly Show contributor Felonious Munk, and starring Dave Helem, Shantira Jackson, Dewayne Perkins, Sonia Denis, Martin Morrow, and MC Mr. GreenWeedz and up-to-the-week satire

Fundraiser for PAWS Chicago at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, 10:30 p.m. Comedy by Paul Thomas, The Cupid Players, The Stuntmen, Rehner Nixon, Pot Luck, Bearded Ladies and Unlikely Company.



Dog Film Festival at The Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Two different programs of dog-related feature films and shorts. Benefits PAWS Chicago. Includes short films by one of the best television and comedy writers, Merrill Markoe. This Festival is dedicated in memory of Joan Rivers.

Wizengamot at Under the Gun, 956 W. Newport, 6:00 p.m. A Harry Potter debate.

Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II at Ravinia, Highland Park, 6:00 p.m. The famous rabbit and his friends bring their tour of live music to Ravinia. Created and conducted by George Daugherty.


Taste Test Comedy: Small Bites and Big Laughs at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 7:30 p.m. Nationally touring show of food-related comedy and free samples. $10

The Gals! at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. “Pearl Goldwasser (84), Dotty “Dot” Tadaro (75), Edie Walter (89), Esther Klein (67), Helen Quigg (80), Maryann DeBonnet (probably 79), Olive Buttrym (Forever 69),  and Zsa Zsa Lipstein (not telling)  are coming to iO to do improv.  This group of senior citizens (or ‘life experienced’ as they like to call themselves) usually get together to play cards or just chat about life, but tonight, they’re gonna try some improv, because according to Pearl, ‘my grandson, Max who goes to NYU does it and it doesn’t seem that hard.’” $12

An Unforgettable Evening with Faizan Hussain at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 9:00 p.m. Comedy variety show including stand-up and reflections by Faizan Hussein on being an American Muslim. Headlining set by The Nightly Show’s Felonious Munk. $10


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