Chicago comedy spotlight for December 26-30

In town this week: Lachlan Patterson and Julian McCullough. Returning Chicagoans include Liza Treyger, Chris Redd, Drew Michael, Nick Vatterott and Nate Weatherup.

Ticket alerts:

The 16th Annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival is January 5-15. This world’s largest sketch comedy fest takes the chill out of January with unforgettable comedy and artists. Schedule and tickets here. Interview with Festival creator and producer Brian Posen here.

Nate Bargatze at Zanies on January 7. Tickets.

What A Joke: A National Comedy Festival taking place nationally over Inauguration Day weekend. Liz Maupin and Meredith Kachel host in Chicago at The Hideout on January 20 with Kristen Toomey, Matt Ryan and Sam Arechar. Tickets

Tammy Pescatelli at The Improv, February 9-12. Tickets

New Year’s Eve shows here.

In the news:

Brianna Wellen in The Chicago Reader said, “2016 was the year of women in comedy,” citing Sameena Mustafa, Kristen Toomey, Alex Kumin, Alicia Swiz,  Sarah Sherman and The Art of Falling’s Christina Anthony, Carisa Barreca and Tawny Newsome, and Arts & Culture Club’s Ariel Atkins, Clare Austen-Smith and Courtney Crary.

Comedians who got their start in Chicago are prominent on two major lists of the year’s best comedy. Splitsider‘s list includes the late-night sets of Rhea Butcher, Sonia Denis, Megan Gailey, Kyle Kinane, Matteo Lane, Jared Logan, and Liza Treyger. Sean McCarthy (the Comic’s Comic) writing for Decider, listed the year’s best stand-up specials and includes Hannibal Buress (Comedy Comisado), Kyle Kinane (Loose in Chicago) and Pete Holmes (Faces and Sounds).

Also appearing on Sean’s list are two comedians whose tours bring them to The Chicago Theatre in early 2017: Jim Jefferies (January 27) and Ali Wong (April 8).  I would feel incomplete without mentioning that Gary Gulman is also high up on the list. He was here in November and hopefully, will be back in 2017. Sean calls Gary a “virtuoso” and The New York Times said he is “finally being recognized as one of the country’s strongest comedians.” A thousand times yes and yes. His 2016 show at Lincoln Hall was sold out. I will include a “ticket alert” when he returns to Chicago.

Following is this week’s spotlight through December 30th. Show times and other details sometimes change. Also, I may have accidentally eaten too much wrapping paper and sugar. Long story short, please confirm all details before heading out!



Afterthoughts: A Comedy Roast Show at Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. Taking it one step past the Friars! A comedian does a set on stage as a panel of comedians composes roasts about it. The roasts are then read out loud, though anonymously. Tonight: Kristin Fenchak and Carly Kane, Kristen Lundberg, Marty DeRosa and more TBA.

Holidazed and Confused at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. The annual holiday revue. Check site for additional times.

The Armando Diaz Experience at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. Stories from a special guest monologist inspire the evening’s improv. This comedic form was originally created by Adam McKay, Dave Koechner and Del Close when they are at iO and is iO’s longest running show. It’s a Chicago comedy must-see.



Top $10 Tuesday at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 7:30 p.m. Only $10 to see a top line-up of Chicago comedians. Hosted by Rebecca O’Neal. Rebecca is a comedian and author whose work has appeared in Vanity Fair, and The Rumpus, among many others. She is also the host of WCIU’s new television show, Chicago’s One Night Stand-Up which premieres New Year’s Eve! She also produces the popular comedy showcase, Congrats on Your Success. Tonight Rebecca hosts Brendan Gay, Chris Bader, Natalie Jose, Kristen Toomey, Ken Garr and more TBA.

The Winner … of Our Discontent at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. The Mainstage’s new 105th revue. Tickets sell out fast. Check site for additional shows throughout the week.

Snack Attack presents Keith Paesel and Chili Cheese Fritos at Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln Ave., 8:00 p.m. Free show. Hosted by Bill Gevirtz. Featuring Brandon Kieffer, Madeleine Russell and Jamie Carbone.

3rd Annual Everybody Kills Open Mic at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. Chicago Underground Comedy presents its last show of the year and its only show open to comedians at every level from rookies to vets.

MOLLY at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:30 p.m. An opportunity to see two of Chicago’s best known and loved improvisers, Susan Messing and Norm Holly.



You Joke Like a Girl at Volumes Bookcafe, 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave., 7:00 p.m. Tonight is an  all-women “open mic extravaganza.” This night of comedy at one of Chicago’s newest and most popular bookstores is hosted by Elyse Nylin and is getting happy rave reviews from both fans and performers.

Drunk Science at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. Prepare for New Year’s Eve with Sean Flannery, one of comedy’s best storytellers.

Nate Weatherup and Tim Clue at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Nate Weatherup is a former Chicago teacher who became a comedian and now lives in LA. Tim Clue is a Chicagoan and a comedic motivational speaker. Two headliners tonight for the price of one!



Lachlan Patterson at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, 7:30 p.m. The Last Comic Standing finalist will be at the Improv through New Year’s Eve. Follow link for all show times.

Nick Vatterott at Zanies, MB Financial Park, Rosemont, 8:00 p.m. Nick Vatterott began his comedy career in Chicago. In 2011, he won the prestigious national Andy Kaufman Award given to the year’s most original comedic mind. When he was coming up in the scene, Chicago Magazine named him “The Funniest Man in Chicago.” His podcast The Nick Vatterott Show is here.

The Gumbo Variety Show at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. A special presentation by The Martin Luther Kings of Comedy and The Laugh Factory. The MLKs of Comedy are dedicated to a revolution of “voices who usually don’t get a chance to shine.” The MLK’s of Comedy are Jayson Acevedo, Jarrell Scott Barnes, Joel Boyd, Denny Love, Ty Riggs and Mike Robinson. Tonight: stand-up from Jaboukie Young-White, beatboxing by Austin An-Wei Chin, dance moves of The Future Kingz, plus Chris Redd (Popstar: Never Stop Popping) and other surprises. Hosts Denny Love and Aaron Branch.

Julian McCullough at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Julian McCullough has been featured on Comedy Central Presents, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Larry King Now, Conan and This American Life.

Drew Michael and Friends at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont Ave., 9:00 p.m. Drew Michael released his first Comedy Central special this year and his second full-length album, Funny to Death. He also became a writer for Saturday Night Live. If it all makes life sound easy, read this moving interview with Splitsider from last fall. He is back in his comedy hometown tonight to perform all new material and to spotlight some of his favorite comedians from around the city. As he says, “It really depends on who’s around for the holidays.” This show is a special presentation of The Lincoln Lodge.


Freak Show and Tell at The Crowd Theater, 3935 N. Broadway, 10:00 p.m. Thom Britton’s one-man show about the circus sideshow life. It’s lecture, storytelling and physics.

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 Rachael Mason. Rachael originally moved to Chicago to study improv with Del Close. She is head of Advanced Improvisation and a cast member at Second City. Susan and Rachael also teach an internationally acclaimed improv workshop which they bring to students around the globe.



Wet Cash Comedy: Double Slaw at Dark Tower Comics, 4835 N. Western Ave., 7:30 p.m. Free show every Friday. Tonight: Jacob Lowrey hosts Allison Dunne, Dan Sheehan, Peter Kemme and Ashley Hamilton.

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.

Liza Treyger at Zanies, MB Financial Park, Rosemont, 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Liza Treyger grew up in Rogers Park and Skokie and went to high school at Niles North. She was born in Odessa and is the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants. She has been featured at Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival and her TV appearances include Adam Devine’s House Party,Chelsea Lately and MTV’s Joking Off. Her album Glittercheese was recently released on the Comedy Central label along with her half hour special.

Nick Vatterott at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Nick Vatterott began his comedy career in Chicago. In 2011, he won the prestigious national Andy Kaufman Award given to the year’s most original comedic mind. When he was coming up in the scene, Chicago Magazine named him “The Funniest Man in Chicago.” His podcast The Nick Vatterott Show is here.

The Boys at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 9:00 p.m. A night with improv stars Susan Messing, Rachael Mason and Norm Holly.

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 here.) Featuring Matty Ryan, B Cole, Abi Sanchez and more TBA.

The Del Close Giveathon Finale Show at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:30 p.m. Celebrating the success of the Chicago Comedy Donation Drive with iO’s top Harold Teams and surprises TBA.

Do You Fear What I Fear? At Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 10:30 p.m. Comedy, song and dance to help you recover from the darkest shadows of the holiday season.


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