Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, December 11-Sunday, December 17, 2017

Visitors in town: Joe List, Bryan Callen, Jim Breuer, and The Tenderloins (Impractical Jokers). Returning to their hometown: Matt Braunger and Mike Lebovitz.

In the news: The Kates University is open for enrollment for stand-up classes beginning in January. More here.

Movie award season is here and The Big Sick, written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon and starring Kumail, is being nominated for multiple awards. Nominations so far include the NAACP Image Award, Satellite Awards, Independent Spirit Awards and Critics Choice Awards for categories like Best Motion Picture, Best Writing, and Best Performance.

Chicagoans on Late Night: Two non-comedian Chicagoans on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert this week: Rahm Emanuel tonight and Dennis Rodman on Wednesday. Bob Odenkirk is on The Daily Show on Tuesday night.

Following is this week’s spotlight. It’s just a fraction of the great comedy happening around Chicago this week! Please confirm all details! Thank you for reading and thank you to the Chicago comedy community for making this blog possible!



Duly Noted at The Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted, 8:00 p.m. Interactive musical improv with opportunities for audience members to get on stage.

Camp: A Comedy Show at Village Tap, 2055 W. Roscoe, 8:30 p.m. Free comedy showcase created and produced by Tessa Orzech and Samantha Berkman with rising Chicago comedy stars and surprise drop-ins. Pre-show games at 8:00 p.m. Show at 8:30 p.m. Tonight: Samantha Berkman hosts Courtney Peterson, Dan Sheehan, Arish Singh, Oscar El Cuchillo Carvajal, Jacob Williams, and CAMP’s Tessa Orzech.

Best Night Ever at Gman Tavern, 3740 N. Clark, 9:00 p.m. Free stand-up showcase. Producers are committed to living up to the show’s name. Tonight: Mike O’Keefe hosts Kyle Scanlan, Mickey Housley, Reena Calm, Toler Wolfe, Jessica Hong, Zain Zaidi and more TBA.


Rising Star Showcase at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. An evening with ten to twelve of Chicago’s up-and-coming stars.



Comedy Cocktail 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 p.m. Mickey Housley, Marz Simms, Taneshia Rice, Marty DeRosa

9:00 p.m. Jonah Jurkens, Dwight Simmons, Keith Pasel, and Erica Clark

This Much is True: An Evening of Storytelling at Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, 3905 N. Lincoln, 7:30 p.m. “Hilarious and heartbreaking.” This line-up features some of Chicago’s best storytellers: Linda Beckstrom, Will Clinger, Beth Horner, Carol Solberg Moss, Annalise Raziq, and Marvin Sussman.


Dream Freaks Fall From Space at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. The 106th Mainstage revue ! Written and performed by Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Kelsey Kinney, Jeffrey Murdoch, Tien Tran and Nate Varrone. Four stars from the Chicago Tribune. Show times throughout the week. Follow link for all details.

Chicago Underground Comedy at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:00 p.m. One of comedy’s most groundbreaking showcases. Cameron Esposito, Beth Stelling, TJ Miller, Dan Telfer, Kumail Nanjiani, got their start here. Produced by Meredith Kachel.



Pour One Out at Volumes Bookcafe, 1474 N. Milwaukee, 7:00 p.m. The storytelling series continues tonight with “Holiday Woes: Let Me Tell You My Side of the Story.” Hosted by Ada Cheng.

Potted Potter at Broadway Playhouse in Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut, 7:30 p.m. A comedy cover of all seven Harry Potter books in seventy minutes. Through January 7.

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. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Follow link for details, show times and a great explanation of what makes improv an art like no other.

Joe List at Zanies, MB Financial Park, Rosemont, 8:00 p.m. Through Saturday. This Boston comedian was a finalist on Last Comic Standing in 2015.


Larry Reeb at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Through Sunday. Uncle Lar is one of Chicago’s iconic comedians.

Home for Hanukkah with Bubbe: An Interactive Holiday Experience at ComedySportz, 929 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. Tonight and next Wednesday. Bubbe and Zayde request the presence of your shayne punim, canahara.

Trapped in the Netflix at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays through December 27. Written and performed by Mishu Hilmy. Directed by Matt Fox. What happens if you literally get sucked into Netflix? What does Black Mirror look like from the inside? Would you survive Mumblecore or emerge unscathed from House of Cards? Find out tonight and through the end of the month.



Rat Pack Comedy: Our Kind of Three-Year Anniversary at The Holiday Club, 4000 N. Sheridan Rd., 8:00 p.m. Stand-up showcase with a classic comedy spirit. Featuring Erica Clark, Scott Duff, Amy Sumpter, David Rader, and Marty DeRosa. Hosted by Conor Cawley, Kahlil Wilson, and Terence Hartnett. Follow the link above to meet the stand-ups for this evening.

Bryan Callen at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. Through Saturday. Follow link for all show times. Bryan Callen as also known as Coach Mellor on ABC’s The Goldbergs.


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 (Second City, HBO’s Insecure).



Impractical Jokers at Allstate Arena, Rosemont, 8:00 p.m. From TruTV, the Impractical Jokers’ “Santiago Sent Us” Tour starring The Tenderloins.

The Therapy Players at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. Chicago’s acclaimed, award-winning all-psychotherapist comedy improv troupe.

Jim Breuer at The Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan, 8:00 p.m. Jim Breuer is on a lot of “Best of” lists, including Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of all Time and Most Unforgettable SNL Moments. He was a Saturday Night Live cast member for four years.

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.

Mike Lebovitz at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. Through Sunday. Mike Lebovitz is an alum of both the Annoyance and iO and is a member of Comedians You Should Know.



Wishin’ Control at The Comedy Clubhouse, 1462 N. Ashland, 7:00 p.m. The new Main Stage theatrical. This 90-minute comedy uses long form improv to move from scene to scene and includes one hundred different characters and beautiful, surprising transitions.

Las Locas Comedy at Karen Marie Salon, 1859 N. Milwaukee, 8:00 p.m. Janice V. Rodriguez hosts Estephany Guzman, Angela Vela, Soli Santos, Alex Kumin, and Antonia Arcely.

BAPS Comedy Presents Curlz, ‘Fros and Braids at Steppenwolf, 1700 N. Halsted, 8:00 p.m. BAPS is a comedy variety showcase featuring women of color in comedy and starring Adrienne Brandyburg, Adrienne Brown, and Jillian Ebanks.

The Blackout Diaries at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 10:00 p.m. Sean Flannery hosts this show of true drinking stories. He is one of the best comedic storytellers of our time. There will also be an audience Q&A.

Classy Comedy Cabaret at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, 10:00 p.m. Headliner: Mojobrookz. Featuring Erik Scott, Sabeen Sadiq, and Cameron Little. Hosted by John McCombs.

Matt Braunger at Lincoln Hall, 2020 N. Lincoln Ave., 10:00 p.m. Matt Braunger was born in Chicago and grew up in Portland, Oregon. He won “Best of the Fest” at the Aspen Comedy Festival and has two comedy specials: Shovel Fighter and Big Dumb Animal, which was named best comedy special on Netflix. He has appeared on Letterman, The Tonight Show, The Late Late Show, Conan, and was a regular on Comedy Central’s @Midnight. As an actor, he’s worked on Bojack Horseman, Up All Night, The Pete Holmes Show, Mad TV and more. He is the creator and host of the podcast Ding-Donger with Matt Braunger where he shares stories and dispenses advice to people who call in and leave questions on his voicemail.



Sunday, December 16

The Second City’s Hollidazed and Confused: Mandatory Merriment at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The Second City’s new holiday revue. Shows throughout the week. Follow link for all show times.

Hoo Ha Comedy Turns Five at Schubas Tavern, 3159 N. Southport, 8:00 p.m. Featuring Carly Kane, Kristin Fenchak, Audrey Jonas, Megan Stalter, Brittany Meyer, Ed Towns, and Mallory Bradford.

Matt Damon Improv at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. Matt Damon Improv stars all women of color. This comedy variety show is “intersectional AF” and is all about providing a safe platform to “share performances that confront the current racial tension and social issues within the world around us.”

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