In the news:
The Open Mic is a new web series all about the Chicago comedy experience. Kelsie Huff and Daryl Moon star and co-produce. The series is filmed at Gallery Cabaret. The series includes all the anxiety, struggles, and joys on the road to fame, hopefully. This is the only series that has the scoop on Chicago’s world-famous stand-up scene. Featuring AJ Lubecker, Peter-John Byrnes, Bill Gorgo, Tocarra Mallard, Darren Stephens, Julie Paradise, Soli Santos, Jonah Jurkens, Ruby Des Jardins, Amy Sumpter, Ashley Huck, Gwen La Roka, Cody Melcher, and Stefania Rudd. New episodes released on YouTube every Tuesday.
Originally-from-Chicago comedians Deon Cole and Beth Stelling were featured in a Netflix stand-up series filmed last month in L.A. More details to come.
On February 23, Josh Johnson appeared on The Tonight Show where he is also a writer. He is an award-winning comedian who got his start in Chicago and left for New York in 2015. Read this interview with Josh by David Gavri on comedyofchicago.com.
WCIU is filming another episode of Chicago’s One Night Stand-Up on March 13 at Zanies in Rosemont signaling a strong, positive viewer response to the New Year’s Eve premiere hosted by Rebecca O’Neal. Interview with Rebecca about the NYE premiere here.
Chicago’s Kevin Bozeman appeared on Fox’s Laughs on February 26. You can see the full episode here (Episode 319).
Pete Holmes and Beth Stelling, two comedians whose careers took off in Chicago, figure prominently in HBO’s very funny and brutally real Crashing. Crashing, which airs Sunday nights, is produced by Judd Apatow. It follows a stand-up named Pete who is struggling to make it in the oft cold-blooded New York stand-up scene. Pete Holmes stars. Beth is one of the show’s writers. Another Chicago comedian, TJ Miller appeared as himself in last Sunday’s episode. This is a great show for all comedy fans. Like TJ Miller said to Pete last week, “Comedy: six letters, but a thousand reasons it makes the human condition easier.” True. Definitely easier, at least for those of us who get to laugh. For the folks putting the laughs together it’s not all ease and glam, but I’m always happy to see them and to live the life, even vicariously.
Book and ticket alerts!
I’m a bookaholic, okay, book hoarder, but fact is, you can never have enough comedy memoirs and this spring there’s gold:
March 24 Katey Sagal at The Union League Club sponsored by The Book Stall. Katey Sagal is one of the stars of CBS’s new sitcom Superior Donuts which takes place in Chicago. Her new book is Grace Notes: My Recollections.
March 27 Bassem Youssef at The Museum of Contemporary Art sponsored by Chicago Ideas Week. Bassem Youssef is a physician and the acclaimed, popular and controversial (depending which government you ask) host of a Daily Show-type show in Egypt. His new book is Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring.
March 28 Jay Chandrasekhar at the Music Box Theater with the A.V. Club, hosted by Volumes Bookcafe. Jay is from the Chicago suburbs and is here to celebrate the release of his memoir, Mustache Shenanigans: Making Super Troopers and Other Adventures in Comedy. Shenanigans guaranteed, but also a serious look at growing up the child of immigrants and pursuing an uncharted American dream.
March 29 Elaine Soloway at Sulzer Regional Library, 5:30 p.m. Elaine and Meredith Maran in conversation with Alison Cuddy: “Two Late-Life Live Wires on Reinventing Yourself at Any Age.” The evening also launches Elaine’s fourth book, Bad Grandma and Other Chapters in a Life Lived Out Loud. Her latest work covers her decision as a lifelong Chicagoan to move to L.A. and the reasons she returned, reflections on her late husband’s illness, ageism, and her family and first marriage which is the inspiration for daughter Jill Soloway’s award-winning series, Transparent.
Additional Transparent-related book note: Jeffrey Tambor will also release a memoir this spring: Are You Anybody?
April 11 Alec Baldwin at The Athenaeum Theatre sponsored by Chicago Ideas Week. Alec Baldwin’s new memoir is Nevertheless.
March 23 Lola Balatro is the headlining opener for Second City’s Beat Weekend, the theater’s first ever music comedy festival.
April 19 Myq Kaplan at Schubas
May 24-25 Ricky Gervais at The Chicago Theatre