Chicago comedy spotlight for October 3-9

In town this week: Terry O’Quinn, Adam Conover, Jake the Snake, Shawn Wayans, Louis C.K., Andy Zaltzman, Carlos Mencia, Hasan Minhaj and Bill Maher.

Ticket alert! Scott Adsit will appear at the Chicago Podcast Festival on November 19 at the Athenaeum Theatre. Scott is a Northbrook native who became part of Second City’s Mainstage cast. He won a Jeff Award for Best Actor in a comedy for his role in the revue Paradigm Lost, which was the subject of a PBS documentary. After moving to L.A., he starred in an episode of Friends and was a cast member of Mr. Show, 30 Rock (Tina Fey was a Second City classmate), voiced Baymax in Big Hero 6 and currently appears on Veep.He continues to act and teach at iO West and Upright Citizens Brigade. Tickets for the Podcast Festival here.

In the news: Samantha Irby, the hilarious author of the popular blog Bitches Gotta Eat and the book Meaty has a new development deal with FX to develop a half-hour series based on her life. Jessi Klein, head writer of Inside Amy Schumer and Abbi Jacobson, co-creator and co-star of Broad City will executive produce along with Samantha. In addition to being a fan of her writing, I saw Samantha tell a story at You’re Being Ridiculous about the volatile mix of Crohn’s disease and getting stuck in a traffic jam during a blizzard and she BROUGHT DOWN THE HOUSE. Thank you to ChicagoNow blogger Katy “I Got A Dumpster Family” Maher who posted this great news.

Drew Michael who got his stand-up start here, is one of seven new writers on Saturday Night Live.

NBC announced that it has bought sitcoms from two Second City alums. Both will be produced by Seth Meyers. AP Bio is the creation of Michael Patrick O’Brien and is about a professor who uses his students to exact revenge. Amber Ruffin’s sitcom isn’t yet titled, but it’s about an ’80s singing group navigating fame’s aftermath.

Watch Kevin Hart’s Hart of the City this Sunday on Comedy Central at 10:30 p.m. to see one of Chicago’s fastest rising stars, Taneshia Rice. UPDATE: Apologies, but a CORRECTION: Hart of the City‘s Chicago episode is on October 16. The line-up is worth waiting for and also stars Calvin Evans, Josh Johnson and Erica Clark.

Chicago’s ingenious comedy entrepreneur Steve Gadlin (I Want to Draw a Cat for You, Steve Gadlin’s Star Makers) will be a contestant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire on Wednesday. Tune in to WCIU-2 from 2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Here is this week’s spotlight. It’s just a fraction of the original and excellent comedy happening every night of the week. Please check out the “Comedy each day” tab above for more. Confirm all details before heading out! Thank you to the Chicago comedy community for making this blog possible and thank you to you for reading and helping me spread the word.


The Kates host The Riff at Gallery Cabaret, 2020 N. Oakley Ave., 7:00 p.m. A daredevil open mic where comics draw a topic on the spot and then go! Hosted by the always fabulous Kates.

The Armando Diaz Experience and Hootenanny with Terry O’Quinn at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. Emmy-award winner Terry O’Quinn (Lost, Hawaii Five-0, Full Circle, Patriot) is the guest monologist at this classic Chicago improv evening.

Adam Ruins Everything at Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave., 8:00 p.m. truTV star Adam Conover tells the truth and refuses to let stupid assumptions stand. Interesting fact: he is in a relationship with Lisa Hanawalt, one of the genius creative minds behind BoJack Horseman and the author of one of the best comedy books of the year, Hotdog Taste Test.


[LAST SHOW!] All Alone Together at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. Three solo plays in one evening back-to-back.

(1) Trapped by Brittany Bookbinder. A dark comedy about fear, relationships, beliefs and who you can really trust. How about your building super on a dark and stormy night?

(2) Something for Everyone by James Dugan. Desperation for approval is examined through characters, stories and personal essays.

(3) Can I Interest You in Me? written by Kelly McGuigan. How do you get others to see your value? In this play, it’s through storytelling, music, and audience participation.

Camp: A Comedy Show at Village Tap, 2055 W. Roscoe, 8:00 p.m. This free showcase hosted by Tessa Orzech and Samantha Berkman is getting rave reviews.

Best Night Ever at the Gman Tavern, 3740 N. Clark 8:00 p.m. Free stand-up showcase. Produced by Sam McHale, Mike Bobrinskoy, Mike Cronin and Jeff Arcuri. Headliner: Marty DeRosa. Featuring Spark Tabor, Rudy Schultz, Shannon Noll, Blake Burkhart and Rebecca O’Neal. Hosted by Sam McHale. Interview with Mike Cronin here.

Sadsacks and Wisecracks at High Hat Club, 1920 W. Irving Park Rd., 8:00 p.m. Free stand-up showcase hosted by Natalie Jose. Featuring Jeff Scheen, Samuel Priest, Rachel McCartney, Danny Maupin and Sabeen Sadiq. Music by Zachariah Parker and Ariel Bolles.

The Unspoken Word Tour at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. WWE Hall of Famer stand-up comedian Jake the Snake is in town to tell war stories and for a Q&A with the audience. He will be at Zanies in Rosemont on Tuesday night.




Secrets, Lies and Alibis at Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln Ave., 8:00 p.m. A comedy show based on your anonymous secrets. Featuring Arish Singh, Jerry Tran, Kaitlyn Grissom, Erin Quinn Alex Seligsohn, and (OMG!!!) Lola Balatro. Hosted by Elliot Lerner.

The iO Roast of Satan (by his closest friends) at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. Roasters include Judas, Bloody Mary, Tammy Faye Baker, Lee Harvey Oswald, Taylor Swift, a Red Line passenger and more to be announced. One night only. Because, honestly, would Satan allow this to go on for two?

Louis C.K. at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, 8:00 p.m. One of my favorite things about Louis C.K. is how American his story is: he is American, Mexican, Jewish, Hungarian, Irish and Catholic. His last name is Szekely (pronounced “C.K.) His grandfather fled anti-Semitism in Hungary at a time when Jews were being turned away from the U.S. He immigrated to Mexico where he met Louis C.K.’s grandmother. Louis C.K. was born in Washington, D.C., but his family returned to Mexico when he was one. He only spoke Spanish until age seven when his family returned to the U.S. and settled in Boston. He has dual American/Mexican citizenship. He explains it all on the Opie & Anthony Show here. (An episode where I also learned the origin of “kike” from the late, great Patrice O’Neal. Comedy covers everything!) Louis C.K. is here through Thursday


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

Andy Zaltzman: Satirist for Hire at House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 8:00 p.m. Touring the U.S. from the U.K., Andy Zaltzman invites audience members to email your “satirico-query to, including the date of the show you’ll be attending, plus details of the issue/person/concept/thing you would like addressed. All issues considered (within reason), whether political, social or miscellaneous, and whether global, national, local or intensely personal.”


FackBUDDIES at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:30 p.m. Long-form improv by Dina Facklis, founder of The Chicago Improv Den, with a different guest each week. Tuesdays thru November 15

Feminists Gone Wild at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. Pure & Weary (Katherine Biskupic & Leah Frires) host an all badass women comedy variety show.




Young Frankenstein screening at multiple locations around the country, 7:00 p.m. CST Mel Brooks will introduce the film live at 20th Century Fox studios in memory of Gene Wilder. Mel Brooks’ new book about Young Frankenstein will be released on October 18.

A Mighty Wind at The Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport, 7:00 p.m. A screening of the Christopher Guest film hosted by Jim DeRogotis and Greg Kot of WBEZ’s Sound Opinions.

Ego Trip Club at Bru Chicago, 1562 N. Milwaukee Ave., 7:00 p.m. Spooktober is here. Theme tonight is “creatures.” Headliner: Dan Sheehan. Featuring Chris Trani, Stephanie Weber, Nick Dlouhy, Donni Saphire, Amanda Lynn Deal and mysterious guests. Hosted by Brandon Kirkman.


Louis C.K. at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, 8:00 p.m. Tonight and one more show tomorrow.

Laughing Liberally at Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln Ave., 8:00 p.m. A monthly progressive political comedy show hosted by The Accountants of Homeland Security: Matthew Filipowicz, Tim Grimes, James Bespalec-Davis and Bob Rok. Featuring: Rebecca O’Neal, Prateek Srivastava, Kaitlyn Grissom and Marty DeRosa, sketch from Kevin Gosztola and music from, Rent Party.

Each Laughing Liberally includes an interview segment with a local political figure, journalist or activist. Tonight: “professional feminist, writer and mom” and contributor to Bitch Media, Veronica Arreola. Veronica is the author of the blog Viva La Feminista.

Psychotic Break at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 8:00 p.m. “A humorous and honest light on the topics of mental illness and addiction.” Tonight: stand-up and stories from Andrew Halter, Cher Vincent, Angela Bernander and Ian Belknap. Hosted by Jenn Sodini and Dan Shapiro. Free show.

Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks, 9:30 p.m. Ricky Gonzalez hosts Erica Clark, Marty DeRosa, Joe Fernandez, Danny Kallas and Abi Sanchez.

TJ & Dave at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:30 p.m. Long form improv by internationally renowned legends TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi who “improvise a one-hour play filled with elaborately imagined characters whose relationships reveal the wildly funny quirks of human nature.” TJ & Dave have inspired both a book (Improvisation at the Speed of Life) and a movie (Trust Us, This is all Made Up).



Shawn Wayans Interview on Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio, 8:15 a.m. Tony Carr and Steve Touhy interview this week’s Improv headliner.

Nicole Hollander workshop at Chicago Public Library, 1659 W. Melrose, 6:30 p.m. The famed cartoonist (Sylvia) and humor writer (Tales of Graceful Aging from the Planet Denial) holds a writing workshop tonight and next Thursday at the CPL Lincoln/Belmont branch.

Congrats on Your Success at Uncharted Books, 2620 N. Milwaukee, 7:00 p.m. Free showcase every first Thursday of the month. Donations appreciated and go to performers. Free beer from Powell Brew House. Tonight Odinaka Od Ezeokoli hosts Carly Ballerini, Alex Dragicevich, Jacob Lowrey, Mike Bobrinskoy and headliner Alex Kumin.

The Interview Show at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 7:45 p.m. Mark Bazer interviews filmmaker Joe Swanberg (Happy Christmas, new Netflix series, Easy), author Jen Lancaster (Bitter is the New Black, I Regret Nothing, By the Numbers), musician Joe Keery (Stranger Things), author Tania Munz (The Dancing Bees) and musicians Frank Catalano and Jimmy Chamberlain (Bye Bye Blackbird).

The Kates at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. Chicago’s all-female stand-up comedy troupe created and produced by Kelsie Huff. Tonight: Kelsie Huff, Laura Hugg, Mona Aburmishan, Taneshia Rice, Brandi Denise, Melissa Richelle, Britt Ferguson and more TBA.

Louis C.K. at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, 8:00 p.m. Last night!

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.

Glass Basement at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. An evening with veteran women improvisers. An audience member will be invited onstage to perform with an improviser(s) of choice for the final scene. Thursdays.

Just Dickin’ Around 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. Interview here!

Chigaygo at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 10:00 p.m. Stand-up showcase created and produced by Scott Duff.

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 comedy writer, teacher and member of iO’s 3Peat, Patrick Rowland.



House of Laughs with Natalie Jose at Access Realty, 2256 W. North Ave., 7:30 p.m. Free show. Headliner: Natalie Jose. Featuring Kristin Ryan, Carly Ballerini, and Krista Atkinson. Hosted by Reena Calm.

Dave Maher Coma Show at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 8:00 p.m. Dave Maher went into a coma, was eulogized on Facebook and lived to tell. His comedy and resilience are contagious. A hit show for its entire run at The Annoyance last year. Tonight and tomorrow night only.

The Lincoln Lodge at Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. The Lincoln Lodge is known for the comedians it helped launch: Cameron Esposito, Hannibal Buress and TJ Miller and more. Always high quality comedy with local and visiting performers. Dedicated to making comedy available to everyone: you decide what to pay

Fuck Trump: A Collection of Songs to Show What a Horrible Person Donald Trump Is at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 8: 00 p.m. Directed by Mick Napier. Through November 11.

Young Frankenstein: The Musical at John & Nancy Hughes Theater, 400 E. Illinois Rd., Lake Forest, 8:00 p.m. Through October 30. Check site for all show times.

Carlos Mencia at The Genesee Theater, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan, 8:00 p.m. The star of Comedy Central’s Mind of Mencia (2005-2008).  Interesting fact: originally from Honduras, he is the seventeenth of eighteen children. He studied electrical engineering in college before he dropped out to pursue comedy. Modesto Bee interview here.

Shawn Wayans at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 8:00 p.m. Through Sunday. Check site for all show times. Shawn Wayans is the ninth of the ten siblings who founded the Wayans comedy dynasty. His credits include In Living Color, Don’t Be A Menace and the Scary Movies.

Friday Night Fudge at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:30 p.m. The acclaimed Friday Night Fudge has moved to iO. Fudge is Damian Anaya, Tim Lyons, Vince Portacci, and Dan White. The evening is half-music, half-comedy and all independent creativity. One of iO’s in-house teams will rotate through each week to present The Harold. No two shows the same.

Are You Still Afraid of the Dark? at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 9:00 p.m. Through Oct. 28. Get ready for Halloween! Improvised tales of horror and comedy inspired by audience suggestions. Producer and ensemble member Briane Goodrum says, “This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. The group and I have worked really hard to give the audience a nostalgic, 90’s feeling to stay true the show.”

Stir Friday Night Presents: 8 Angry Asians Starring Scarlett Johansson at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 9:00 p.m. Stir Friday Night’s newest revue.

Jeanie Doogan at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 10:00 p.m. Jeanie Doogan draws on growing up on the South Side, her years as a public school teacher and a “fresh” take on life, as the Chicago Tribune said. Friday and Saturday nights.


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!)



Dave Schwenson’s Workshop at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumberg, 12:00 p.m. Learn the art of stand-up on the famous Improv stage. Instructor Dave Schwensen was the talent coordinator of A&E’s An Evening At The Improv, The Improv Comedy Clubs in Los Angeles and New York City, and assistant to Improv founder Budd Friedman. He is the author How To Be A Working Comic: An Insider’s Guide To A Career In Stand-Up Comedy and Comedy FAQs And Answers: How The Stand-Up Biz Really Works.  The class is three Saturday sessions and at the end, a chance to perform at the Improv.

Blind Date at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 7:30 p.m. Two audience members will be set up on a real blind date and get to see their future improv’ed before them.

Lobotomy Myself and I at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. The description of this show feels like it read my mind. How did so much fear invade our world and what the heck do we do now? This new Bosom Friends production brings the laughs and even answers. Written by Kelly Ann Johnson, Brookes May and Rachel Pokay. Directed by Megan Johns. Starring Theo Allyn, Rebecca Gold, Andrew Kudla, Neftali Morales, Katie Perry and Allison Taylor. Saturdays through November 5. (No show October 15.)

Dave Maher Coma Show at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 8:00 p.m.

Jeannie Doogan at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 10:00 p.m.

Defiant Thomas Brothers at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., 10:30 p.m. Saturdays thru November 19. The Defiant Thomas Brothers are back!! The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones said DTB rival Key & Peele. A behind-the-scenes talk with Seth and Paul here.



Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King at Thalia Hall, 1607 S. Allport, 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. The Daily Show correspondent’s one-man show about family, racism and his experience as a first-generation American.



#DateMe at Second City’s UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave., 7:00 p.m. What happens when a comedian places multiple “undateable” profiles on a real dating site?


Bill Maher at The Genesee Theater, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan, 7:00 p.m. Great timing for a visit from this hold-nothing-back star of political comedy.


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