Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, August 28-Monday September 4 (Labor Day) 2017

In town: Laurie Kilmartin, Finesse Mitchell, Sammy Obeid, and Bruce Campbell. Rickey Smiley, Tony Rock, Kountry Wayne, Loni Love, and Rip Michaels are here for the Comedy Explosion on Sunday. Mike Lebovitz returns to his comedy hometown. 

Ticket alert: Television host and bestselling author Lisa Lillien, a/k/a “Hungry Girl,” will be at Temple Chai on September 14 to talk about her newest cookbook, Hungry Girl: Clean and Hungry and about her second Hungry Girl cruise next April. Lisa is known for bringing a can-do, friendly and humorous spirit to healthy eating with eminently do-able and delicious ideas. Tickets and more details here.

Following is the comedy spotlight through Labor Day. Please confirm all details!



Yas Queen at The Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted, 8:00 p.m. A comedy variety show “by women for everyone.”

Level 6 Conservatory Show at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. Have you thought about taking a class at Second City? Here’s a chance to see the results of completing the program. Second City asks the audience to arrive by 7:45 p.m.

Pat McGann at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Tonight, Tuesday and Sunday. He’ll be at Zanies in Rosemont from Wednesday-Saturday. Follow link for all show times. Pat McGann’s comedy has been featured on The Late Show with David Letterman. Pat McGann was also the creator and host of WTTW’s Emmy-nominated Chicago Stand-Up Project where he coached Chicago celebrities how to be a comedian. (Bring it back!)



Cocktail Comedy at House of Blues’ Foundation Room, 329 N. Dearborn, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Produced by James Allen Kamp, creator of the most excellent DJ Tone-Knee kicks off the evening at 6:00 p.m. Seats go fast! Early arrival recommended. Always a great, diverse line-up of Chicago’s top comedians and surprise drop-ins. RSVP for free admission.

7:30 p.m. Marvin Phipps, Adam Burke, Reena Calm, Joe Kilgallon

9:30 p.m. Marvin Phipps, Chris Trani, Adam Burke, Joe Kilgallon, Mickey Housley

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.

Bay Window Comedy at CIC Theater, 1422 W. Irving Park Rd., 8:00 p.m. Will Stagg hosts Azhar Usman, Scott Werba, Casey Larwood, Tim Smith, Tucker Millett, Hobert Thompson, Audrey Jonas, and Michael Njuguna Robinson.

Tuesday Ten at Zanies, MB Financial Park, Rosemont, 8:00 p.m. Featuring ten of Chicago’s up and coming stand-ups.

Chicago Underground Presents Comedy Secrets at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. This is the show where comedians famously share secrets and the audience swears that what happens at ChUC stays at ChUC. 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.

John McDonald EP Recording at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 9:30 p.m. John McDonald is recording an Extended Playlist in every major city starting tonight in Chicago. With John McDonald and other folks TBA. Free show.



The Second City’s Neighborhood Tour leaves from Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 4:00 p.m. Sundays and Wednesdays through October. A humorous walking tour led by Second City alum Margaret Hicks, who is also the author of Chicago Comedy: A Fairly Serious History.

You Joke Like a Girl at Volumes Bookcafé, 1474 N. Milwaukee, 7:00 p.m. All women’s open mic and showcase hosted by Elyse Nylin.

7:00 p.m. Open mic sign-up

7:15 p.m. Open mic

8:45 p.m. Showcase featuring Gena Gephart, Lauren LaBorde, Phoebe Clare Perry, and Jillian Ebanks.

Taneshia Rice at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. “Just Nesh” is one of the fastest-rising stand-up stars in Chicago. She toured with Dick Gregory and starred in two recent Kevin Hart specials on Comedy Central, Hart of the City and The Next Level. See her at home while you can – she is in demand around the country!


Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., 9:30 p.m.  Jonah Jurkens hosts Cleveland Anderson, Marty DeRosa, Allison Dunne, Dave Losso, Zach Martina, and Sammy Obeid.



Finesse Mitchell at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. This Saturday Night Live alum will be at The Improv through Sunday. Follow link for all show times.


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.

Laurie Kilmartin at Zanies 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Through Saturday. Follow link for all show times. Laurie Kilmartin is an Emmy-nominated writer for Conan.  She also wrote for The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, and for my favorite talk show of all time, The Bonnie Hunt Show. As a stand-up, she has appeared on Conan, Last Comic Standing, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Comedy Central. She is also a bestselling author (Shitty Mom). Her next book, Dead People Suck, will be released in 2018. She and Jackie Kashian have a podcast together, The Jackie and Laurie Show.


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 the award-winning co-founder of the Gift Theatre, actor, director, iO and Second City alum, Michael Patrick Thornton (Private Practice’s Dr. Gabriel Fife, too).



Chicago Fringe Festival at various locations Shows through Monday and next Thursday-Sunday. Follow link for all shows and show times.

An Evening with Bruce Campbell at The Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport, 7:00 p.m. Bruce Campbell, star of Evil Dead and Burn Notice, is here to play trivia games and discuss his new book, Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor. Everyone will receive a signed copy. Sponsored by The Book Stall. As of this posting, this event is sold out. I’m a big believer in calling the “day of” and even showing up to see if seats are available. I’ve had good last-minute luck before and you just never know.

VHS Comedy: Tape Me Out to the Ballgame at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. Top comic commentary and stand-up based on the most absurd videotapes in existence. Everything from action-adventure to infomercials to scary kids’ shows. Here’s a chance to see these treasure as you never have before. Tom Wisdom and Jane Harrison host – Audrey Jonas (Hoo Ha Comedy), David Philips (BEEF), Mallory Bradford (Secretly Carrie Bradshaw), and Zachery Boyce (Openly From Indiana). Free drink with advance ticket.

Mike Lebovitz at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Through Sunday. Follow link for all show times. Mike Lebovitz is an alum of Second City, The Annoyance, and Comedians You Should Know. He now lives in New York City.


Tinderella at Under the Gun Theatre, 956 W. Newport, 10:00 p.m. Improv based on an audience member’s love story.



Emerald City Presents: Sammy Obeid Part Deux at Emerald City Coffee, 1224 W. Wilson, 8:00 p.m. Prateek Srivastava hosts Sammy Obeid. A guaranteed great night of stand-up.

Whirled News Tonight at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. This long-running show is a comedic take on the week’s news.

Bard Dogs: The Unwritten Works of Shakespeare at The Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln Ave., 8:00 p.m. Surprising, improvised Shakespeare.

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.

Camp As Fuck Labor Day Weekend Extravaganza at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 10:30 p.m. CAMP takes over Chill As Fuck’s time slot. With Samantha Berkman, Tessa Orzech, Chelsea Hood, Luke Null, Joe McMahon, and Ed Towns.



Rick Smiley and the Comedy Explosion at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 7:00 p.m. With Rickey Smiley, Tony Rock, Kountry Wayne, Loni Love, and Rip Michaels

Aarona Astrology Live! at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 7:00 p.m. Aarona Lopez hosts a stand-up showcase and conducts an Astrology Q&A with the audience with prizes.

Truth or Dare at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. Improv based on the audience’s truths and dares.



CAMP’s Backyard Labor Day Show at 1726 N. Sawyer, 3:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. Party begins at 3:00 p.m. Show at 7:00 p.m. Tonight Second City’s Chill as Fuck Show takes over for CAMP.

Best of the Second City at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. What are Second City’s greatest hits from its 52-year history? This show answers that question.

Afterthoughts at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N.  Broadway, 8:00 p.m. Comedians’ friends talk write about them during their sets and then all is revealed (anonymously). Billed as “the meanest roast show in Chicago.” Whew. I wouldn’t have the constitution, but go see the stout-hearted, unwaveringly committed-to-comedy folks who do. With Kristin Fenchak and Carly Kane and more TBA. 

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