Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, October 9-Sunday, October 15, 2017

Visitors this week: Damien Lemon, Neil Hamburger, Tim Heidecker, Rob Sherwood, Bill Bellamy, and Sheba Mason. Returning to hometown Chicago: Jim Gaffigan, Michael Palascak, Bill Murray, and Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher.

Ticket alert: The cast of the CBS hit Superior Donuts – Jermaine Fowler, David Koechner, Maz Jobrani and Rell Battle – will all be at at Zanies on October 30. Superior Donuts takes place in Chicago. The sitcom is based on the hit play by Tracy Letts which premiered at Steppenwolf in 2008 and on Broadway in 2009. Zanies tickets here.

In the news: Two new Saturday Night Live cast members from Chicago! Chris Redd was rumored to be a new cast member last season, but this year it’s finally true! Chris started out in comedy in Chicago where he did stand-up, sketch and improv. New cast member Luke Null also began his career in Chicago. He is an iO alum.

Robin Thede, an alum of Northwestern University, iO and Second City, debuts her new late-night show, The Rundown on Thursday night on BET at 10:00 p.m. She was head writer and an on-air correspondent for The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.

Kumail Nanjiani, who began his comedy career in Chicago, will host Saturday Night Live this Saturday. The Big Sick, which he wrote with his wife, Emily Gordon (they met in Chicago), is  now available on demand.

Sad news: The WIP Theater, known for its innovative and excellent comedy and theater programming, suffered severe damage from an electrical fire this weekend. If you would like to contribute to recovery efforts, you can do that here.

Following is this week’s spotlight. As always, a fraction of the fabulous comedy happening in Chicago. Please check out all the venues you can and support our city’s comedy scene! And please confirm all details before heading out.



Having It All at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. Stories and improvisation about being female. Cast: Shelby Plummer, Clare Austen-Smith, Audrey Schiffhuar, Mary Catherine Curran, Caitlin Joseph, Olivia Nielson, Jo Scott, Leila Gorstein, Brittany Bookbinder, Rebeccah Singer, Laurel Zoff-Pelton, and Elizabeth Andrews.

CAMP: A Comedy Show at Village Tap, 2055 W. Roscoe, 8:30 p.m. Stand-up showcase featuring Adam Burke, Mona Aburmishan, Ricky Gonzalez, and Noah Rocklin. Hosted by Tessa Orzech.

Damien Lemon at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Damien is the host of TruTV’s Comedy Knockout and a regular on MTV2’s Guy Code.



New Worlds with Bill Murray at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., 7:30 p.m. Bill Murray performs with cellist Jan Vogler. The Chicago Tribune writes about it here. An evening of music, song, and live lit. Bill Murray is a Wilmette native.

Second City’s 106th Mainstage Revue at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. The all new revue is here! Written and performed by Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Kelsey Kinney, Jeffrey Murdoch, Tien Tran and Nate Varrone. Shows throughout the week. Follow link for all details.

Michael Palascak at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Through Sunday. Follow link for all show times. Michael Palascak has been featured on Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show, Conan, and Comedy Central. He was a finalist on Last Comic Standing.


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.

Free Township Tuesdays at Township, 2200 N. California, 10:00 p.m. Kristin Lytie hosts a night of comedy, storytelling and music. Comedy from Adam Kwaselow, Whitney Wasson, and Basil Faraj. Storytelling from Elizabeth Gomez. Music by The Young and Gray.



Neil Hamburger and Tim Heidecker at the Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan Ave., 8:00 p.m. Back to back stand-up.

Triple Threat Comedy at Zanies, MB Financial Park, Rosemont, 8:00 p.m. Through Saturday. Three headliners: Kevin Bozeman, Pat McGann and Rob Sherwood.

Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., 9:30 p.m. Ricky Gonzalez hosts Blake Burkhart, Erica Clark, Shane Copland, Melody Kamali, Joe Kilgallon, and Toler Wolfe.



Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape Tour at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 7:30 p.m. Jim Gaffigan is here for five shows through Saturday. His Noble Ape tour promises to be ingenious and personal. All new, too. Why “Noble Ape” tour? Please check out my interview with Jim here.


The Kates at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. The Kates is an all-women stand-up showcase created and produced by Kelsie Huff. You can also see Kelsie on ABC’s Windy City Live where she is a favorite guest host. The Kates is a guaranteed memorable evening of top-notch talent and comedy and diverse, relatable viewpoints.

The Jackie Mason Musical at The Skokie Theater, 7924 Lincoln, Skokie, 8:00 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays through October 22. Follow link for all show times. Starring Jackie Mason’s daughter, Sheba Mason. An intriguing story about the relationship between Jackie Mason and Sheba’s mom set to music and comedy. Sheba was the baby at the center of  her mom’s 1988 paternity suit against Jackie Mason.


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 all show times and a great explanation of what makes improv an art form like no other.

WITI at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:00 p.m. Thursdays through October 19. An interactive show where audience members contribute to an art-building app from your seat and on your phone, which then influences the performance on stage. No two shows alike. Starring Matthew Hoelter, who is also the inventor of the “Improv Tonight” App and many others.

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 Tim O’Malley.



Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape Tour at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Jim Gaffigan is here for five shows through Saturday. His Noble Ape tour promises to be ingenious and personal. All new, too. Why “Noble Ape” tour? Please check out my interview with Jim here.


The Kates at The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln Ave., 7:00 p.m. Tonight: Kendra StevensAllyssa Bujdoso, Mona AburmishanKathy PulkrabekLauren HoobermanShea Cahill, and Gwen La Roka. Host: Amy Sumpter.  Arrive early for seats!

Bill Bellamy at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 8:00 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Through Sunday. Bill Bellamy has starred in television and movies and famously created the term “booty call.”

Emerald City Presents Mona Aburmishan at Emerald City Coffee, 1224 W. Wilson, 9:00 p.m. Mona Aburmishan has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and internationally. She is also a member of The Kates and the producer of The Comedy Bowl. Featuring: Michael Robinson (MLK’s of Comedy ), Brandon Kieffer (Chalk House Comedy), and Prateek Srivastava (SF Sketchfest, 2016 NBC Universal Break Out Festival). Hosted by Tommy Karner(Annoyance Theater).




Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape Tour at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Last night!


Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher at The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 8:00 p.m. Two beloved Chicago alums (and the stars of Seeso’s Take My Wife) return for one night on their nationwide “Back to Back Tour.”

************************** DID ANYONE ELSE WATCH SNL THIS WEEK AND THINK, HEY, A TRIBUTE TO CAMERON AND RHEA! Apparently, yes, many people did. SEE TWEET BELOW***********************


Las Locas Comedy Presents the South Side Show at The Revival, 1160 E. 55th St. 10:00 p.m. Featuring Janice V. Rodriguez (Las Locas Comedy, Laugh Factory), Jillian Ebanks (BAPS Comedy), Marilee (TBS Just for Laughs, Dick Gregory & Friends), Erica Nicole Clark (Laugh Factory, Hollywood Improv) and Soli Santos (Las Locas Comedy, Zanies).



She The People: Girlfriends’ Guide to Doing it For Themselves at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 7:00 p.m. The women of Second City take on everything that needs taking on!


Something extra (I’m a big Chris Redd fan):

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