Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, October 23-Sunday, October 29, 2017

Visitors in town: Jak Knight, Paula Poundstone, Trevor Noah, Marlon Wayans, Judy Gold, Vladimir Caamano, Dave Merheje, Luke Burbank, and Hari Kondabolu. Returning to hometown Chicago: Matt Bellasai and Katie McVay.

Ticket Alert:

November 17 and 18 The Lincoln Lodge Presents: James Adomian at Under the Gun Theater.

January 20 Jo Firestone at The Hideout.

In the news:

The Saturday Night Live exhibit is now open at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State, and runs through December 2018. The Tribune reviewed it here and Chicago Magazine recommended some major must-see items.

Fox has made a “put pilot commitment” for a show starring Chicagoan Lil’ Rel Howery. A put pilot commitment has a good chance of going forward because the network can incur penalties if it doesn’t follow through. The show is the first under 20th Century Fox TV’s recent deal with Jerrod Carmichael, who will executive produce. More here.

Telepictures, the company behind The Ellen DeGeneres Show, is developing a daytime talk and variety show for Jane Lynch which will premier next fall.

Lena Waithe’s The Chi, which takes place on Chicago’s South Side, will premier on January 7, 2018 on Showtime.

Here is this week’s spotlight. Please confirm all details!



Best Night Ever at Gman Tavern, 3740 N. Clark, 8:30 p.m. Free stand-up showcase.

Resilient at The Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted, 8:30 p.m. A variety show honoring survivors of sexual violence. The evening will include comedy, music, and storytelling and is a fundraiser for Rape Victim Advocates, a Chicago organization which provides free legal, medical, and counseling services. Featuring Molly Madden, Rory Beckett, Annie Sullivan, Kathleen Kinlin, John Schnorrenberg, Freddy-May AbiSamra and more TBA.

Shriek at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. “An improvised horror anthology.”

Jak Knight: The Gap Tooth Gibberish Tour at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Tonight and Tuesday. Jak Knight’s credits include The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, @Midnight, Adam Devine’s House Party, and Funny or Die’s Oddball Comedy Festival Main Stage. He also is a writer and voice for Netflix’ new animated series, Big Mouth.



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. 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 pm: Chris Trani, Manny Acosta, Danny Kallas, Taneshia Rice

9:30 pm: Jonah Jurkens, Blake Burkhart, Chris Trani, Abi Sanchez

Dream Freaks Fall From Space at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. The new Mainstage Revue. Written and performed by Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Kelsey Kinney, Jeffrey Murdoch, Tien Tran and Nate Varrone. Show times throughout the week. Follow link for all details.

Chicago Underground Comedy at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:00 p.m. Stephanie Weber hosts Tyler Snodgrass, Casey Larwood, Jane Harrison, Nicky Martin, Tristan A. Smith (ChUC debut), pop in from Katie McVay, Kelsie Huff, Em Brown, and a special Ghouldini presentation.



Paula Poundstone at Barbara’s Bookstore, 810 Village Center Drive, Burr Ridge, 6:30 p.m. Paula Poundstone will talk about her new book, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness. Note: Paula has a show at the North Shore Center for Performing Arts on November 4.


Judy Gold at Zanies, MB Financial Park, Rosemont, 8:00 p.m. Through Saturday. Follow link for all show times.


Vladimir Caamano at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Through Saturday. Follow link for all show times.


Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., 9:30 p.m. Joe Kilgallon hosts Steven Castillo, Allison Dunne, Ricky Gonzalez, Jane Harrison, Jonah Jurkens, and Ross Kelly.



Comedy Nosh at Max and Benny’s Restaurant, 461 Waukegan Rd., Northbrook, 7:00 p.m. Featuring Larry Bloom (, Xavier Lamont (Comedy Central, WGN, WCIU), Alexandra Tsarpalas (The Kates), and Jan Slavin (The Boomer Babes, Funny Old Broads). Limited seating. Make reservations!

Matt Bellasai at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 8:00 p.m. Matt Bellasai returns to his hometown with the “Everything is Awful” Tour. His new book of the same title is rising up the charts on Amazon. In January 2016, he won the first People’s Choice Award for Favorite Social Media Star.


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 Nick Johne.



Marlon Wayans at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, 10:15 p.m. Shows through Sunday. Follow link for all show times. Marlon Wayans is a television and film star and a writer, director and producer.

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

Dave Merheje at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Through Sunday. Follow link for all show times.


Helltrap Nightmare: Halloween at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 9:00 p.m. “A night of comedy horror and noise music terror.” Sarah Sherman (Chicago Reader “Best Stand Up), The Shrimp Boys, Grace Thomas, Scott Egleston, Jack Besinger , Arish Singh (Bridgetown), Anna Azzizzy, Mothman, Maya Sharma (NYC), Grün Wasser.



Late Late Breakfast: Bye Bye Birdies at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 2:00 p.m. Last Chicago show of 2017. Creators and producers Liz and Danny Maupin are moving to the West Coast. Special guest: Steve Castillo (comedian and writer for Saturday Night Live).

Steve Cochran and Friends at Zanies, MB Financial Park, 4:00 p.m. Steve Cochran is the morning drive host on WGN Radio.

Trevor Noah at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. The award-winning comedian, author and host of The Daily Show is here for an evening of stand-up. He recorded The Daily Show in Chicago last week and told the audience off-air how much he appreciated us being the first market to embrace him as host of the show and for Chicago audience’s early support of his stand-up. His 2016 memoir, Born A Crime, won the James Thurber Prize for American Humor and two NAACP Image Awards.

The Therapy Players at Open Door Theater, 902 South Ridgeland Ave., Oak Park, 8:00 p.m. The Therapy Players are all psychotherapists … and comedians. Their revue “Phobia Shmobia” earned a standing ovation at the Anxiety Disorders Association of America and they were the winners of the 2015 Chicago Collider Improv Competition.

Luke Burbank’s Live Wire at Lincoln Hall, 2020 N. Lincoln Ave., 7:00 p.m. The evening begins with a taping of public radio’s Live Wire, including music, comedy and conversation with Kevin Coval (Director, Young Chicago Authors-recently featured on The Daily Show) and Max Temkin (Cards Against Humanity co-founder). After the show, stay for a live Cards Against Humanity game where you can pitch your idea to the creators.

Jokesplaining at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 10:00 p.m. Boundary-pushing comedy. Tonight: Shannon Noll, Erin Grotheer, Reena Calm, Soli Santos, Kelsie Huff, Kellye Howard and more TBA.

Blackout Diaries at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 10:00 p.m. Special Halloween edition.  The Blackout Diaries folks are just back from New York where the show was filmed as a network pilot.



Hari Kondabalu at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 7:00 p .m. and 9:30 p.m. Hari’s comedy has been featured on the Late Show with David Letterman , Conan , Jimmy Kimmel Live, Comedy Central, Live at Gotham, John Oliver’s New York Standup Show and internationally. He was also a writer and on-air correspondent for Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell which was produced by Chris Rock. This November, TruTV will air his documentary, The Problem with Apu.


Everyone’s A Lawyer at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 7:00 p.m. Comedians go lawyer for the evening. A great opportunity to laugh and absorb techniques for effective, funny arguments – a skill everyone needs these days! Created by comedian and lawyer Paul Farahvar, who’s been recognized as one of the top up-and-coming comedians in the U.S. and as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

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