Chicago comedy spotlight for October 24-30 and Halloween

In town this week: Abbi Jacobson, Laurie Notaro, Dr. Demento, Dave Feherty and Jeremy Hotz.

Ticket alerts! 

Dave Attell is at The Improv next week. Tickets

Tig Notaro will be at the Harris Theater on December 17. Tickets here.

Do you have your tickets for the Chicago Podcast Festival (November 17-19)? Interview with Festival creator and producer Jonathan Pitts and artistic director Tyler Greene coming soon! But reserve your tickets now!  Shows are already selling out. Tickets and schedule here.

I also want to let you know about an innovative new program at The Crowd Theater. The theater is known for its support of comedy in all forms. For $5 a month, contributors will get a pass to every show. The Crowd describes it like Netflix, but for theater. The goal is to reduce rental costs to artists, hopefully to zero. You can participate in the campaign and learn more about additional perks here: The theater’s mission is “to create affordable comedy in a supportive environment.”

In the news:

America’s Got Talent will hold auditions in Chicago on November 12. What is it like to be a comedian on AGT? Tom Cotter, the first comedian ever to reach the show’s final, was kind enough to give me a behind-the-scenes look here.

As always, please confirm all dates and times before heading out, especially this week. Shows may be called on account of the Cubs! Thank you to the Chicago comedy community and thank you for reading!



Catholic Guilt Presents: A Night of Improv and Feelings at The Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted, 8:00 p.m. Improv based on diary entries and emo by Elizabeth and Mary.

Second City’s Improv All-Stars at UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. Mick Napier directs some of Chicago’s best improvisers.

CampPain 2016 at Zanies 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. An evening of political comedy hosted by Tim Slagle. Check out Tim’s classic take on Halloween:


Wild Out Mondays at SLR Bar & Grill, 16407 S. Halsted, 9:00 p.m. Improv, stand-up and music hosted by one of Chicago’s fastest rising stars, Just Nesh (Guest host: Windy City Live, Kevin Hart’s Hart of the City).



World Series Viewing Party with Comedy of Chicago at House of Blues’ Foundation Room, 329 N. Dearborn, 7:00 p.m. 7:00 PM Line-up: Marvin D. Phipps, Abi Sanchez, Calvin Evans, Marty DeRosa.  9:00 PM line-up: Marlon Mitchell, Ben Bergman, Russ Williamson and Taneshia Rice.

Second City’s Mainstage Revue at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. Tickets sell out fast. Check site for additional shows throughout the week.

Dobie Maxwell at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Check out Dobie’s memoirs Monkey in the Middle just released this year: it’s got gorillas, bank robberies, biker dads, and the story of an extraordinary life. One of my favorite people in the universe. Interview with Dobie here!


Chicago Underground Comedy House of Haunts Show at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. Hosted by Ghouldini. Featuring Dave Maher, Megan Stalter, Cameron Gillette, Sarah Sherman and Steven King. With a Halloween presentation by Actual Murderers.



10×9 at Uncommon Ground, 3800 N. Clark, 7:00 p.m. Theme tonight is “fear.” Storytelling from Rick Copper, David Santori, Phil Burns, Margy LaFreniere, Margaret Ghielmetti, Loyd Bonafied, Julianne Dennison, Justin Flowers and Dimitar Ilchev. Hosted by Tom Valenti and Lauren Huffman.

Troll the Sequel: Troll Again at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 7:30 p.m. An updated version of the 1990 horror film.

Camp Psychopathways at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:30 p.m. A satirical musical about a hellish summer camp experience. “Through sharp writing and musical styles ranging from J-Pop to Weimar Cabaret, Camp Psychopathways explores our societal preoccupation with labelling ambitious women as “crazy,” while letting ambitious men get away with actual murder.”

Trick or Treat at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Halloween shows through Sunday. Each features a different line-up. Tonight: Sherman Edwards, Reena Calm, Andrew Tavin, Brandi Denise, Rad Turkin, Sharup Karim, Ron Ervin, Sarah Vulpio, Anna Rose, Chris Tani, Joe Lancey, Claire Swanson, Miles Hendrix and Seth Davis.

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).



Stand-Up Graduation Show at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. Class instructor Dave Schwenson teaches stand-up comedy nationwide. He 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.

Dr. Demento Halloween Show at The Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles, 7:30 p.m. All ages show. The famed purveyor of catchy “novelty music” since 1970. Interesting facts: Dr. Demento’s actual name is Barret Hanson. He is credited with discovering Weird Al.

Dobie Maxwell at Zanies, Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, 8:00 p.m. Through Saturday.

Stand Up Stand Up Presents the Return of the Crowd Works at The Crocodile, 1540 N. Milwaukee Ave., 8:00 p.m. Late night talk show where the guests are the audience. Hosted by Tim McLaughlin, Joe McMahon and Dave Metz with special guest Saurin Choksi. Free show. Free pizza. Free candy.

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.

The Comedy Bowl: It’s Halloween, Baby! at Diversey River Bowl, 2211 W. Diversey, 8:00 p.m. Stand-up, trivia games and prizes in a special Halloween edition.

Just Dickin’ Around All Genders Showcase at Hydrate, 3458 N. Halsted, 8:30 p.m. Open mic/showcase hybrid begins at 8:30 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 Marla Depew. Showcase guests Cat Alvarado, Krista Atkinson (JDA member), Matt Baker, Adam Bowman and Scott Duff (JDA member). Interview with JDA here!

Trick or Treat at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Halloween shows through Sunday. Each features a different line-up. Tonight: Kelsie Huff, Ben Bergman, Stephanie Weber, Geoffrey Asmus, Tyler Ross, David Freeburg, Jake West, Gregory Joseph, David Phillips, John Eide, Colby Kennedy, Spark Tabor, Lauren Hooberman and Alex Seligsohn


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 Second City director and co-founder of The Galileo Players, Matt Hovde.



Abbi Jacobson in conversation with Samantha Irby at Senn High School Auditorium, 5900 N. Glenwood Ave., 7:00 p.m. Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) will discuss her latest work Carry This Book with Chicago’s own Samantha Irby (Bitches Gotta Eat, Meaty, upcoming FX series). Sponsored by Women & Children First Bookstore. Ticket includes a copy of Abbi’s book and you can get it signed. Amazingly, there are still tickets left for this event!

The Therapy Players at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee, 7:30 p.m. Chicago’s award-winning all psychotherapist improv group.

Dobie Maxwell at Zanies, Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, 8:00 p.m. Through Saturday.

Jeremy Hotz at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 8:00 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Jeremy Hotz will be here thru Sunday. Check site for all show times.

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 accessible and affordable. Tonight Deanna Ortiz hosts Kevin Lobkovich, Alex Kumin, Stephanie Weber, Scott Egelston and Adam Burke. Special guest former Lincoln Lodge cast member, Saurin Choksi.

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.

Trick or Treat at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Halloween shows through Sunday. Each features a different line-up.

8:30  Adam Minnick, Sameena Mustafa, Jan Slavin, Ariana Freeman, Joe Horan, Jaime DeLeon, Travis Spotts, Trevor Gertonson, Ralph LaGuere, Nate Simmons, Danny Schill, Robert Jenkins, Lainie Lenertz and Darius Kennedy.

10:30  Scott Duff, Julia Brown, Erin Field, Conor Cawley, Gena Gephart, Soli Santos, Vincent Bryant, Jarrel Barnes, Terence Hartnett, Sohrab Forouzesh, Brittani Ferguson, Stefania Rudd, Amy Sumpter and Louis Nguyen.


The Boys: We Make it Worse at Second City’s Blackout Cabaret, 1616 N. Wells, 9:00 p.m. A show with world-renowned Chicago improvisers Susan Messing, Rachael Mason, Norm Holly, Ryan Archibald and Craig Uhlir.

One-Year Anniversary and Halloween Party at The Crowd Theater, 3935 N. Broadway, 9:00 p.m. Improv show followed by a party. “Suggested Donation: $3.65 or $4.20 or just bring candy!”

Are You Still Afraid of the Dark? At Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 9:00 p.m. A return to the Midnight Society and ghostly campfire tales.

SIQ Comedy Tent Show at 1923 S. Morgan, 9:00 p.m. Read more about Southside Ignoramus Quartet’s sketch comedy and backyard tent show here.

Funked Up Friday at Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 10:00 p.m. Finish the week and start the weekend with this party hosted by AJ Lubecker. Interview about that party atmosphere here.

The Comedy Dance Collective: Ha Ha Halloween at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:30 p.m. “The Comedy Dance Collective (C:DC) is back with a brand new show just in time for Halloween! The C:DC–a group of current, former, and almost dancers–moves to amuse! In this Halloweeen-themed visually-hilarious dance comedy show, all your worst nightmares will be turned on their heads, leaving you giggling like a goblin!”

Pimp-o-ween at CIC Theater, 1422 W. Irving Park Rd., 10:30 p.m. Costumes, prizes, drinks and comedy at Pimprov’s annual Halloween show.



Laurie Notaro at Anderson’s Bookshop, 123 Jefferson Ave., Naperville, 2:00 p.m. You haven’t lived until you’ve read Laurie Notaro’s account of getting a Taffy Apple jammed in her teeth at a bank drive-through. You’ll find that story in The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club. She has written a series of books of comedic essays, but is here to discuss her new book, Crossing the Horizon, which is a novel based on the true story of three aviatrixes in a race to cross the Atlantic.

Paper Machete at Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 3:00 p.m. Free weekly showcase some of Chicago’s most creative and funny people. Today: Adam Burke, Aasia Bullock, Saurin Choksi, Erin Diamond, Samantha Irby, Dewayne Perkins, Ted Tremper and Julia Weiss. Musical guests: Bill Larkin and Bailiff. Arrive at least an hour early for seats. By show time, it’s standing room only.

Hack-o-ween at Two Hour Comedy Hour at Gallery Cabaret, 2020 N. Oakley, 7:00 p.m. Late Late Breakfast’s Danny Maupin and Tyler Jackson host The Great Ghouldini, Deanna Ortiz, J. Michael Osborne, Joe Fernandez, Kristen Toomey, Natalie Jose, Joe McMahon, Meredith Kachel, Dave Helem, Erin Grotheer, Cleveland Anderson and Saurin Choksi.

Trick or Treat at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 7:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. Halloween shows through Sunday. Each features a different line-up.

7:00 Mike Maxwell, Denise Medina, Samuel Priest, Kristin Ryan, Sarah Albritton, Chris Higgins, Jason Melton, Caitlin Checkeroski, Kyle Scanlan, Alyssa Bujdoso, Abi Sanchez, Patrick O’Hara, Mike Stricker, and Luke Schneider.

9:00 Torey Adkins, Toler Wolfe, Kate Cullan, Amanda Lynn Deal, Sandrall Ross, Peter Maj, Amy Schwartz, Krista Atkinson, Kat Herskovic, Cris Clem, Luca Ferro, Em Brown, Rachel Lindberg and Rodney Lumpkins.

11:15 Mike Menendez, Timmy Whitzell, Tyler Menz, Kyna Lenhof, Jonathan Giles, Patty Vaccarella, Patrick Kent, Josh Branham, Elyse Nylin, Melissa Richelle, Will Stagg, Mike Hover, Keith Paesel and Dane Arden.

Dobie Maxwell at Zanies, Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.


Lobotomy Myself and I at Second City’s Donny Skybox Theater, 230 W. North Ave., 8:30 p.m. The best way through fear is laughter. A new production by the Bosom Friends. Saturday nights through November 5. Interview here!

Everything is Comedy presents: Hell House at Albion House, 1719 W. Albion, 9:00 p.m. “Everything is Comedy” is a new comedy collective produced by Dave Maher with Nicky Martin, Tom Simmons, Ilana Abby Gordon, Bill Stern and AJ Lubecker. In the spirit of Eric Andre, Chris Gethard. Costume party following the show. For more information, email Dave:

Ghost Stories at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 9:00 p.m. Real life ghost stories and improv.

Haunted Halloween Party at Comedy Sportz, 929 W. Belmont Ave., 10:00 p.m. Costume contest, dancing and full bar.

Rolling in the Creep at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 10:30 p.m. Halloween sketch comedy. The way to a ghoul’s heart.

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 hereUPDATE: Tonight’s show is called on account of the World Series. Defiant Thomas Brothers will be back on Nov. 5.



Dave Feherty Live Off Tour at Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence, 12:30 p.m. Former professional golfer, current sportscaster with NBC Sports and the Golf Channel, Dave Feherty is also the author of A Nasty Bit of Rough,Somewhere in Ireland a Village Is Missing an Idiot, An Idiot for All Seasons, and David Feherty’s Totally Subjective History of the Ryder Cup.


Spooky Family Movie Day at Thalia Hall, 1607 S. Allport, 3:00 p.m. Halloween double feature: Hocus Pocus and Casper.

Based on a True Titty: A Breast Cancer Benefit at The Annoyance Theatre, 7:00 p.m. Original stories, comedy and music featuring “survivors, warriors and boobs.” Hosted by Pure & Weary (Katherine Biskupic and Leah Frires).

Trick or Treat at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Halloween shows through Sunday. Each features a different line-up. Line-up to be announced.


10 At the Store presents Hallow Weens at The Store, 2002 N. Halsted, 7:00 p.m. Free Halloween showcase.  Each comedian will bring a short character set and the show will end at 9:00 p.m. Featuring Ben Banach, Bobby Condon, Steve Gerard, Erin Grotheer, Pat Hoban, Merrit Landsteiner, Nicky Martin, Dave Metz, Martin Morrow, Mary Novokhovsky, Brad Rickert, David Sartoris, Sabeen Sadiq, Megan Stalter and Meghan Sullivan.

100 Proof Comedy presents Halloween Cabaret at Comedy Sportz, 929 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m.Featuring Saurin Choksi, Brad Einstein, Ghouldini, Casey Larwood, Dane Arden and host Cody Melcher, Esq.

Camp: A Comedy Show at Village Tap, 2055 W. Roscoe, 8:00 p.m. Halloween with Steven King, Meredith Kachel, Justin Golak, Cameron Little, Sonia Denis, Saurin Choksi, Odinaka Od Ezeokoli, Kristen Lundberg, Tessa Orzech and Samantha Berkman.

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