Visitors in town: Patton Oswalt is here. Sebastian Maniscalco, Matteo Lane, and Mike Lebovitz return to their comedy hometown. Mike will be at Zanies this week and so will Big Jay Oakerson and Tom Clark. Loni Love is at the Improv.
In the news: The Big Ditties released a new song! Check out More Than SAD: A Donald Trump Dittie. The Big Ditties were kind enough to speak with me here and I’m looking forward to talking with them again soon.
Last week, the National Rifle Association (NRA) tweeted a gif of Leslie Knope, Amy Poehler’s character in Parks and Recreation. The tweet drew the ire of comedians. Amy Poehler responded, “Can you tweet the NRA for me and tell them I said fuck off?” Parks and Rec’s Nick Offerman (who got his start in Chicago) added, “ … our good-hearted show and especially our Leslie Knope represent the opposite of your pro-slaughter agenda – take it down and also please eat shit.”
March 21 Chicago Ideas Week Presents: Fighting Fire with Funny: How to Write Good Jokes (and Stop Bad Ones) in the #MeToo Era.
March 27 Chicago Ideas Week Presents: Screening Sabrina the Teenage Witch with Creator Nell Scovell.
March 28 Chicago Ideas Week Presents: From the Hollywood Boys’ Club to #MeToo: In Conversation with Nell Scovell.
All Chicago Ideas Week tickets here.
Nell also wrote for The Simpsons, Late Night with David Letterman, Murphy Brown, NCIS, and The Muppets. Her book Just the Funny Parts … And a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking into the Hollywood Boys’ Club will be released on March 20.
Following is this week’s spotlight. Please confirm all details!
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26
We’re, Like, Really Young at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Improvisers from Second City’s “Humor Doesn’t Retire” program.
Yas Queen at The Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted, 8:00 p.m. “A variety show starring women, produced by women, for everyone.”
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27
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 comedyofchicago.com. DJ Tone-Knee kicks off the evening at 6:00 p.m. Stand-up showcases at 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 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. Hosted by Chris Trani. Featuring David Gavri and Reena Calm. Headliner: Mickey Housley
9:00 p.m. Hosted by: Ed Towns. Featuring Alex Dragicevich and Joe Fernandez. Headliner: Joe Kilgallon
Junk Drawer at The Den Theater, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., 8:00 p.m. A special Black History Month edition of this comedy and variety show.
Chicago Underground Comedy: Comedy Secrets at Beat Kitchen, 2100 Belmont, 9:30 p.m. A nationally renowned stand-up showcase. This last show of the month is where comedians tell secrets if the audience promises to keep it all there. Tonight: Jarrell Scott Barnes, Adrienne Brandyburg, Michael Meyers, Sarah Vulpio, David Freeburg and Lainie Lenertz. Produced by Meredith Kachel.
Generation Latinx with BAPS at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:00 p.m. A comedy and music variety show of Latino/a performers. Special guest: B.A.P.S.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28
Black to the Future at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave., 8:00 p .m. “A Black History Month celebratory variety showcase featuring original sketch, song, improv, and poetry. Join us as we celebrate the history and present day resilience of Black voices in comedy and performance art.”
Ha Ha’s and Hamantashen at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 9:30 p.m. Purim stand-up hosted by Shira Mizel and Max Friedman. Featuring Reena Calm, Nate Burrows, Adam Kwaslowe, Bill Gevirtz and more TBA. Tickets are half-price in advance.
THURSDAY, MARCH 1
Metro Chicago Hillel Purim Shpiel Competition at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. Improv inspired by the Purim story.
Meechie Hall Album Recording at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. Meechie Hall, one of Chicago’s top headliners, records his album “Ugly Blessings.” Presented by Stand Up Stand Up. No seating after start time.
Just Kitten Around: A Comedy Fundraiser at The Catcade, 1235 W. Belmont, 8:30 p.m. This month’s theme: Hairy Pawter. Hosted by Alex Collyard and Elsie How. Featuring Molly Kearney, Caroline Twyman, Brian Bennett, and Arlo Chapple, and a billion cats. Arrive at 8:00 p.m. for extra cat cuddle time.
FRIDAY, MARCH 2
Patton Oswalt with Gilllian Flynn at Community Christian Church, 1635 Emerson Lane, Naperville, 7:00 p.m. True-crime journalist Michelle McNamara was almost done writing I’ll Be Gone in the Dark when she died in 2016. Her lead research assistant recently completed it. Michelle was married to Patton Oswalt and he is here to discuss her work and the intensity of her pursuit. Sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop. UPDATE MARCH 2: This event is postponed. Patton Oswalt is stranded on east coast due to incoming Noreaster. He promises to reschedule and at a larger venue.
Sebastian Maniscalco at Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 7:00 p.m. Sebastian Maniscalco is originally from Arlington Heights. He is here on his “Stay Hungry” tour and will have many hilarious answers to what’s wrong with people! His collection of autobiographical essays Stay Hungry will be released this Tuesday. Also two shows on Saturday night and he will be in Rosemont next weekend.
The Lincoln Lodge Presents: Matteo Lane at Under the Gun Theatre, 956 W. Newport, 8:00 p.m. I first saw Matteo Lane years ago at Comedians You Should Know where he brought down the house with his opera singing, riffs on having an unusual name and hilarious observations about people and their inexplicable absurdities. Since then, he has been featured on Comedy Central, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Adam Devine’s House Party, and MTV. Tonight and Saturday.
SATURDAY, MARCH 3
Sebastian Maniscalco at Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
The Lincoln Lodge Presents: Matteo Lane at Under the Gun Theatre, 956 W. Newport, 8:00 p.m.
HER at CiC Theater, 1422 W. Irving Park Rd., 8:00 p.m. Hailey Palmer, Erin Keif, and Rayna Caskey created this funny, bittersweet show about growing up during ages 1-26. They are also part of the iO improv team Wet Bus.
Comedy Night at 12 Handles Ale House, 1827 Knapp St, Crest Hill, 8:00 p.m. Dinner and a comedy show sponsored by Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio. Headliner: Marty DeRosa. Hosted by Ryan Croft and featuring Patrick O’Hara. Special guest expected, too!
SUNDAY, MARCH 4
Julia Sweeney at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 6:00 p.m. The truly fabulous Saturday Night Live vet, actor and author Julia Sweeney is premiering and workshopping her new stand-up show “Older and Wider” at Second City. Get tickets in advance – they are selling out fast and there are only a few more shows!
You can stay up to date with Comedians Defying Gravity by typing your email address in the box and clicking the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam, spam, spam, spam free, and you can opt out at any time.