In town: Dick Smothers, Mike Siegel, Chingo Bling, Omar Qureshi, Dave Barnes, Dina Hashem, Peggy O’Leary and Gina Yashere. Dave Helem returns to his comedy hometown.
This is a week of big events: iO’s 3rd Annual Musical Improv Festival is later this week-that’s why Dick Smothers and improv groups from around the country are here. It’s ComedySportz’ 30th Anniversary and you can celebrate with a line-up of special events. Appearing on the same bill at Zanies on Wednesday and Thursday nights: Emo Philips AND Dave Pasquesi.
August 27: The Laugh Factory takes over Wrigley Field for a free show! R.S.V.P. here. ComedySportz will also represent at this “Theatre & Art in the Park” day-long event.
September 1: Bruce Campbell at The Music Box.
September 10: Eddie Pepitone at Lincoln Hall.
October 18-19: Randy Newman at City Winery.
November 15: John Hodgman at The Music Box.
Following is this week’s spotlight. This is just an atom of all the great comedy happening in Chicago this week. Please click on links to CONFIRM DETAILS, but also to see venues’ complete offerings. Thank you for reading and thank you to the Chicago comedy community.
MONDAY, AUGUST 14
Not Quite Solo Show by Ada Cheng at Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark St., 7:00 p.m. Ada Cheng left her job as a tenured professor of Sociology at DePaul to pursue storytelling, improv and stand-up full time. Not Quite Solo is about her experience as a queer immigrant woman of color from East Asia. Her book Standing Up: From Renegade Professor to Middle-Aged Comic was published last year.
Having it All at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. Storytelling and improv by women about women for everyone. Storytellers: Hailey Palmer, Kenzie Seibert, Mary Tilden, Katie Maggart and Mary Cait Walthall. Improvisers: Caitlin Connor Joseph, Margaret LeBron, Kaydee Dolan, Lucy Walker, Lucia Reiur, Maddie Cordovano, Rebeccah Singer, Allison Reese.
Best Night Ever at Gman Tavern, 3740 N. Clark, 8:30 p.m. Free show. Great line-up. Hosted by Mike O’Keefe with Mike Cronin, Benjamin Hoffman, Liz Ziner and Dave Losso. Headliner: Adam Burke (NPR’s Wait … Wait, Don’t Tell Me!; Doug Loves Movies). Interview with BNE producer Sam McHale here!
Mike Siegel at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Tonight and Tuesday.
Manic Music Mondays at Frances’, 307 E. 75th St., 8:00 p.m. Music and comedy hosted by Taneshia Rice and Marilee.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 15
Mother Cluckers at Anderson’s Bookshop, 26 S La Grange Rd, La Grange, 8:00 p.m. “We focus on the hilarity, insanity, and drinkability that comes along with parenthood.” Cast: Catherine Dee, Heather Morgan, Colleen Brennan, Susie An, Angelica Davila, Stacey Zapalac, Edith Lule & KT Speetzen.
Chicago’s Best Standup at The Laugh Factory, 3175, N. Broadway, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Rebecca O’Neal at 7:30 p.m. Reena Calm and Charlie Hester at 9:30 p.m. Follow link for complete line-up.
Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. The e.t.c.’s 41st revue. “ … as divided as the nation may be, there is still hilarity in our humanity.”
Winner … of Our Discontent at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. The 105th Mainstage revue. Tickets sell out fast. Check site for additional shows throughout the week.
Chicago Underground Comedy at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. Chicago Underground Comedy is one of comedy’s most groundbreaking showcases where Cameron Esposito, Beth Stelling, TJ Miller, Dan Telfer, Kumail Nanjiani, just to name a few, got their start. Produced by Meredith Kachel.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16
Mom Genes Presents: Total Eclipse of the Heart at Café Mustache, 2313 N. Milwaukee, 8:00 p.m. Hosted by Moms Jan (Alexandra Tsarpalas) and Barb (Kristin Lytie). A party celebrating Bonnie Tyler with special Guest Mom, Kyna Lenhof. With stand-up from Carly Ballerini, Janice V. Rodriguez and John Margelewski. Headliner: Amy Sumpter.
Emo Philips and Dave Pasquesi at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. This may be one of the greatest line-ups of all time. Emo Philips has been “described by Jay Leno as ‘the best joke writer in America,’ and considered by many, including Weird Al Yankovic, as one of the funniest people on the planet.” Dave Pasquesi is an actor and one of Chicago’s most renowned improvisers. Two of Chicago’s legendary comedians on one bill. Tonight and tomorrow night downtown. Emo will be at Zanies in Rosemont on Friday and in St. Charles on Saturday. Rita Rudner told me about touring with Emo at the beginning of their careers here!
Dr. Bill Miller at Zanies, MB Financial Park, Rosemont, 8:00 p.m. Tonight and Thursday. Dr. Bill Miller started doing stand-up as a medical student at Northwestern University.
Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., 9:30 p.m. CYSK is a nationally renowned showcase. Blake Burkhart hosts Rob Christensen, Dina Hashem, Danny Kallas, Joe Kilgallon, Dave Maher, Felonious Munk, Peggy O’Leary
THURSDAY, AUGUST 17
Chicago Musical Improv Festival at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 7:30 p.m. Through Sunday! Way too much greatness at the 3rd Annual CMIF to list here, but here’s a sample! Forty groups are in town with performances through Sunday AND Dick Smothers will join the cast of “The Musical Armando” as the guest monologist on Friday, August 18th at 8 p.m. and hold a special Q&A on Saturday, August 19th at 7 p.m. Follow link for complete schedule of events.
ComedySportz 30th Anniversary Celebration at Comedy Sportz, 929 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. Special events through Saturday featuring three decades of alums and special guests and a VIP performance on Friday. One of the many ways ComedySportz stands out is by offering performances that are family-friendly. Please follow link for all details!
The Greatest Generation at Lincoln Hall, 2020 N. Lincoln Ave., 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. The Star Trek comedy podcast. As of this posting, the 7:00 p.m. show is sold out. Tickets still available for 9:00 p.m.
Seven Sisters Comedy Variety Hour at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. The Seven Sisters are Allie Keller, Phylicia McLeod, Meghan Murphy, Emily Batek, Cassie Belek, Jodie Meis, and Katelyn Woolcott.
Married at the Hideout! at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 9:00 p.m. “A wedding turns into a comedy show when two people leave each other at the alter at the same time. The entire show is performed by the wedding party and strange “guests” all leading up to the groom and bride’s inevitable meltdowns.” Featuring some of Chicago’s top names in comedy: Megan Stalter, Bobby Condon, Danny Maupin, Deanna Ortiz, Nicky Martin, Stephanie Weber, Erin Grotheer, Sarah Sherman, Jordan Wilson, Carly Ballerini, Dane Arden, Tyler Snodgrass and more TBA. Produced by Liz Maupin and Megan Stalter.
Group Improvised Comedy at Comedy Clubhouse, 1462 N. Ashland, 8:00 p.m. Long form improv (20-25 minutes) by three teams of up to 10 improvisers, each based on an audience suggestion. Thursdays through Sundays. Follow link for details, show times and a great explanation of what makes improv an art form like no other.
Messing with a Friend at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 10:30 p.m. 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. This week’s friend is Adam Peacock.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 18
Chicago Musical Improv Festival continues at iO! Dick Smothers appears tonight in The Musical Armando. Follow link for complete schedule.
ComedySportz 30th Anniversary continues! Follow link for all details.
High Fiber Comedy at The Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie, 8:00 p.m. A group of Chicago’s top stand-up talent visits Skokie. Produced and hosted by Jan Slavin. Featuring Bill Gorgo, Tom Gutland, Laura Hugg, Michelle Krajecki, Joe Nuccio, Julie Paradise and John Petlicki.
Chingo Bling at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 8:00 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Pedro Herrera (Chingo Bling) is an comedian, actor and rapper. Through Sunday.
You & Me at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 9:00 p.m. Michael Patrick Thornton and a guest (tonight: Henry Godinez) improvise in a show that has been called “Hilarious, horrifying, and human. Quite magical, really.” Michael Patrick Thornton is an award-winning actor, director and comedian. You may also know him from Private Practice and he is an excellent, uplifting person to follow on Twitter.
Omar Qureshi: Mad Metaphysical at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, 10:00 p.m. Omar Qureshi is a three-times-in-a-row Moth StorySlam winner. He is a storyteller and comedian. This one-man show sold out when it debuted in Los Angeles earlier this summer. He also speaks at schools and other organizations about growing up as a Pakastani-American in Missouri.
Dave Barnes: The Joke Concert at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, 8:00 p.m. The singer takes on a night of stand-up comedy.
Don’t Kid Yourself: In Trouble at Volumes Bookcafé, 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave., 8:00 p.m. Sabeen Sadiq hosts Ashley Hamilton, Caitlin Checkeroski, Sohrab Foroozesh, Peggy O’Leary (NYC), Charlie Vergos, Dina Hashem (NYC) and Tim McLaughlin.
Dope Ass Comedy Show at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 9:00 p.m. Dave Helem hosts Drew Frees, Rebecca V. O’Neal, Ashley Hamilton, Meechie Hall, Odinaka Od Ezeokoli, and Martin Morrow. Surprise drop-ins are likely, too.
Group Improvised Comedy at Comedy Clubhouse, 1462 N. Ashland, 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Long form improv (20-25 minutes) by three teams of up to 10 improvisers, each based on an audience suggestion. Thursdays through Sundays. Follow link for details, show times and a great explanation of what makes improv an art form like no other.
Gina Yashere at Zanies 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. The great Gina Yashere is a UK TV comedy star, the British correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, appeared on HBO’s Crashing and was a finalist on Last Comic Standing, among many other credits. Through Sunday. Follow link for all show times.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 19
Chicago Musical Improv Festival continues at iO. Follow link for complete schedule. Today’s events include a Q&A with Dick Smothers at 7:00 p.m.!
ComedySportz 30th Anniversary celebration continues! Follow link for complete event line-up.
Fuck Trump: A Collection of Songs to Demonstrate What a Horrible Person Donald Trump Is at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. Directed by Mick Napier, the world renowned founder and director of The Annoyance.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 20
Chicago Musical Improv Festival continues at iO. Last Day! Follow link for schedule.
B.A.P.S.: A Comedy Variety Showcase at Public House Theatre, 3914 N. Clark, 6:30 p.m. Tonight: Aasia LaShay Bullock, Tonja Ajonra, Brandi Denise and Rashawn Nadine Scott.
You can stay up to date with Comedians Defying Gravity by typing your email address in the box and clicking the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam, spam, spam, spam free, and you can opt out at any time.