Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, September 18- Sunday, September 24, 2017

Visitors in town: Margaret Cho, James Veitch, Alonzo Bodden,  Adam Carolla, Brennen Reeves, and Garrison Keillor. John Roy returns to his hometown.

Ticket alerts:

October 29: Hari Kondabolu at The Hideout

December 7: Beth Stelling at Thalia Hall

December 8: Jim Norton at Thalia Hall

In the news:

These comedians who got their start in Chicago just won Emmys: W. Kamau Bell (United Shades of America), Melissa McCarthy (Saturday Night Live), Lena Waithe (Master of None), and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep).

Shonda Rhimes launched her new site today and announced that Samantha Irby will be her new advice columnist!


Following is the spotlight for this week. Please confirm all details before heading out.



The Riff at The Comedy Bowl, 2211 W. Diversey, 6:00 p.m. The Riff returns and is hosted and produced by Mona Aburmishan and Erin Conlon. Comedians get a topic chosen at random and four minutes to riff.

Ladylike at Café Mustache, 2313 N. Milwaukee Ave., 8:00 p.m. Women get a platform to tell their grossest stories. Tonight: stories from Megan Brennan, Elsie How, Darling Shear, Shira Mizel, Brittani J. Ferguson, and Chelsea Hood. Hosted by Carly Ballerini.


James Veitch at Lincoln Hall, 2020 N. Lincoln Ave., 8:00 p.m. British comedian and musician James Veitch is a former Apple Store genius. He specializes in “high tech comedy.” Questions to be answered: can you find love through troubleshooting theory and what’s so funny about technology, anyway?

Female Funnies at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Hosted by WGN Radio’s Patti Vasquez (Pretty Late with Patti Vasquez)



Sirott and Murciano’s After Show with Tom Dreesen at Sound Lounge, NBC Tower, 455 North Cityfront Plaza Dr., 12:00 p.m. Enter to win admission to this event and if you win, it’s free! Tom Dreesen will give a talk on “Laugh…Learn…Love…Live.” This is guaranteed to be a uniquely uplifting event by Tom Dreesen, who practices exactly what he says. He’s had an extraordinary life. (See Saturday, too.)

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

7:30 p.m. Chris Trani, Maya Mays, Mona Aburmishan, and Marty DeRosa

9:30 p.m. Mickey Housley, Mona Aburmishan, Chris Trani, and Taneshia Rice

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.

John Roy at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. This Evanston native is here through Sunday as part of Zanies’ “Welcome Home” series.


ChUC’s Summer Series: A Meredith Birthday Spectacular at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. Chicago Underground Comedy producer Meredith Kachel is celebrating her birthday with some comedy favorites. Tonight: Mike Timlin, Tim McLaughlin, Audrey Jonas, Megan Stalter, Jake Breunig, Ben Kronberg, and Mike Robinson.



Laughs in the Lounge at Rogers Park Social, 6920 N. Glenwood, 9:00 p.m. Marla Depew hosts Adrienne Brandyburg, James Fisher Jr., Zach Frey, Audrey Jonas, and Elliot Lerner.


Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., 9:30 p.m. Blake Burkhart hosts Paul Farahvar, Kellye Howard, Brandon Kieffer, Joe Kilgallon, Matty Ryan, and Jerry Tran.

BYOB Live! at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 10:00 p.m. Live podcast recording hosted by Taneshia Rice (Kevin Hart’s Heart of the City and The Next Level), Brian Da Wildcat Smith (Shaquille O’Neal’s Comedian of the Year) and Meechie Hall (Jokehustler Comedy). “With truth serum between conversation these three comedians present a talk show style podcast with musical guest, professional experts and the greatest drunk banter ever heard.”



Breathe: A True Story at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 6:45 p.m. Thursday and Friday nights. Brennen Reeves’ one-man show. At eight-weeks old, Brennen was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a fatal lung disease. He struggled to be “normal,” but doctors told him he wouldn’t survive high school. His only hope was a double lung transplant, which he ultimately did. He is now 26 and traveling the country to share his story of how to “live beyond the odds.”

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.” Follow link for more show times.

Woke Up Stand Up at Cole’s Bar, 2338 N. Milwaukee, 9:00 p.m. Created by Basil Faraj with the goal of focusing on diversity. Tonight Ilana Gordon hosts Carly Ballerini, Megan Stalter, Grace Thomas, Marilee Marilee, and another Secret Headliner The secret headliner at this show’s premiere was Hari Kondabolu! Read about it here. Sure to be another great night tonight.

The Word Cup Pun Competition at Collaboraction, 1579 N. Milwaukee, 7:30 p.m. Last month’s winner was Austin Translation.

Brian Hicks at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. Brian is a winner of the Comedy 10k where he came in first of 72 comedians.


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 Rashida Sheedz Olayiwola.



Don’t Kid Yourself: Back to School at Volumes Bookcafé, 1474 N. Milwaukee, 8:00 p.m. A comedy showcase about the weirdness of childhood. Tonight Derek Moulds and Sabeen Sadiq host Aaron Klinger, David Freeburg, Carly Kane, Michael Meyers, Spark Tabor, Tyler Snodgrass, and Kristen Lundberg.

Alonzo Bodden at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 8:00 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Through Sunday. Follow link for all show times. Alonzo Bodden, was the winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing in Season 3 and is a regular on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! (Including this week.) 

The Lincoln Lodge at Under the Gun Theatre, 956 W. Newport, 8:00 p.m. This famed stand-up showcase is now headquartered at Under the Gun with shows on Friday and Saturday nights.



Tom Dreesen at Kindig Performing Arts Center, 15800 S. State St., South Holland, 7:30 p.m. Tom Dreesen’s one-man show, “From Here to Hollywood.” As mentioned above, Tom Dreesen is one of the most influential stand-ups in comedy history. He began as one half of Tim & Tom with Tim Reid. When they broke up in the ‘70s, he moved to L.A. and became an integral part of Comedy Store history. Tom Dreesen went on to tour with Frank Sinatra and to a stand-up career that’s been blockbuster in every year since. And did I mention that he’s from Harvey, IL where he grew up in poverty? There is now a street in Harvey named for him. Attending a Tom Dreesen show is a must-do, unforgettable experience.


Margaret Cho: Fresh off the Bloat at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 8:00 p.m. “My new show is all about being fresh off drugs and drinking and suicide and coming back to life – finally fished out of the river Styx.”


Adam Carolla: Not Taco Bell Material at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 8:00 p.m. Tonight includes “the debut of some never-before-heard tales of Adam’s journey out of poverty to stardom and the hilarious pitfalls along the way.”

Garrison Keillor: Just Passing Through at The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd, 8:00 p.m. The Grammy and Peabody-award-winning raconteur tells stories from his career.

The Blackout Diaries at Under the Gun Theatre, 956 W. Newport, 10:00 p.m. Comedians and “civilians” tell their craziest true drinking stories and then the audience has a chance to ask questions. Creator and host Sean Flannery is one of the best comedic storytellers of our time and ensures a memorable, fast-moving and excellent show every time. This show has been recommended by just about every media outlet in the city.



Hoo Ha presents: Megan’s Birthday Show at Schubas Tavern, 3159 N. Southport, 8:30 p.m. Featuring Sammy Archer, Toler Wolfe, Shirley Blazen, and Meredith Kachel. Hosted by Megan Stalter.

Crushed: A Night of Somber Comedy at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. Stories, song, and stand-up about heartbreak. You’re not alone.


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