Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, April 2-Sunday, April 8, 2018

Visitors in town: Nemr, Maria Bamford, Rachel Bloom and the cast of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Weird Al with Chicagoan Emo Philips. Also returning to their hometown: Rainn Wilson and Jeff Garlin.

At Zanies: Andy Woodhull, Daily Show correspondent Ronny Chieng and John Caponera. Jeff Garlin’s show is a special event at the Chicago Zanies on Sunday. Get tickets soon! The early show is already sold out.

At The ImprovCarlos Mencia

Ticket alerts: The kates at The Improv on April 26. Tickets here.

Speaking of alerts, quite a few shows this week are sold out, but if you’ve been reading my Spotlight, you heard about them in time to get tickets! I’ve got a master post of ticket alerts here. I’ve got a directory of venues and weekly shows here.

Chicagoans in the news: Jim Gaffigan co-stars in the movie Chappaquiddick which is in theaters April 6. He was kind enough to share some behind the scenes observations with me here.

John Mulaney will make his Saturday Night Live hosting debut on April 14.  His Kid Gorgeous at Radio City will be available on Netflix beginning May 1.

Steve Carell and his wife brought their kids to Second City’s Mainstage production Dream Freaks Fall From Space on March 21. Second City posted photos here.

Open Books and BING Art Books (301 E Garfield) are setting up a free bookstore in Washington Park, Chicago, April 6-8. All books are free to take and keep. If you have books you want to contribute to the neighborhood, BRING THEM! This is a great opportunity to support an amazing Chicago community. Open Books and BING want to get books in the hands of the children and adults who need them most. Your help spreading the word is also appreciated!

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



Afterthoughts at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. Comedians are on stage while their fellow comics write anonymous roasts about them which will be revealed to the audience. An audience member also gets to go on stage and be roasted by the comedians. I’ve seen this at Jeff Ross’s shows and gahhh! It’s like voluntarily stepping in front of a sniper, but it’s very entertaining for the audience and I’m sure unforgettable for whoever is crazy enough to volunteer. All respect, no judgment!

CAMP Comedy at Village Tap, 2025 W. Roscoe, 8:15 p.m. Tessa Orzech hosts. Terence Hartnett, Aaron Klopfer, Zachery Boyce, Asia Martin, Kate Barron, and & CAMP’s Samantha Berkman. Pre-show game at 8:15. Show at 8:30 p.m.



The Second City Spring Fling at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. A comedic celebration of Spring and new beginnings.

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 9:00 p.m. RSVP for free admission. Early arrival recommended. Seats go fast! Always a stellar, diverse line-up of Chicago’s top comedians and surprise drop-ins.

7:30 p.m. Host: Chris Trani. Featuring Maya Mays and David Phillips. Headliner: Calvin Evans.

9:00 p.m. Host: Mickey Housley. Featuring Keith Paesel and Correy Boyd-Bell. Headliner: Paul Farahvar.



Paper Machete at The Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 6:30 p.m. Live, free magazine with comedians, musicians, writers and other artists. Always a great line-up. Not just Saturdays anymore! Arrive early for seats. Follow link for line-up.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Live starring Rachel Bloom at The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 7:30 p.m. Sold out, but always worth checking with the theater.

Psychotic Break at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 8:00 p.m. “Chicago’s best mental illness and addiction themed variety show is back! Songs, stories and standup to keep away the darkness!” Upstairs at Schubas. Free.

The CDCC Presents: A Celebration of Women of Color at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. Stand-up, music, solo acts, and improv featuring the women of Matt Damon Improv, PREACH, and Stir Friday Night and Xu, Stephanie Branco, and Mo Phillips-Spotts.



Doppelganger (an international farce) at Steppenwolf, 1650 N. Halsted, 7:30 p.m. Starring Rainn Wilson (The Office). Through May 27, but Rainn Wilson won’t be in all performances. Follow link for all details.



Nemr at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. This Lebanese-American comedian has a unique perspective and an international following. He is changing the world through comedy. His most recent stand-up special, No Bombing in Beirut is available on Showtime. Interview coming soon!


Weird Al and Emo Philips at The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 8:00 p.m. Sold out, but worth checking with the Vic. Same for tomorrow night.

First Fridays at D Performance Comedy Theatre, 500 S. Lake St., Gary (Miller), Indiana, 8:30 p.m. Featuring Chicago and NW Indiana talent. TOnight: Patrick O’Hara, Jerod Jay Gee Lewis, Anna Marie Long, Bill Sharkie Krawetz, Mance, and Johnny See. Hosted by King David Lane.



Maria Bamford at The Genesee Theater, 203 N. Genesee St., 8:00 p.m. Stephen Colbert told Maria Bamford that she is his “favorite comedian on Planet Earth” (many would say, “same here!”).  She is known for giving voice to everything universal about human dysfunction in a way that makes all of us less alone. She starred in the hit Netflix series Lady Dynamite which was based on a surreal version of her actual life.

Weird Al and Emo Philips at The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 8:00 p.m. Sold out, but worth checking with the Vic.



Julia Sweeney at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 6:00 p.m. The Saturday Night Live alum, actor and bestselling author is debuting her one-woman show Older and Wider at Second City and it’s an absolute treat. Never-before-heard stories about her post-SNL life, including relatable doozies about parenting (and empty-nesting) on Chicago’s North Shore. Official run is April 24-May 30. Get tickets in advance. This show has been a sold-out hit even in its current preliminary workshopping mode! 

Jeff Garlin at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Jeff Garlin is a Chicagoan, star of The Goldbergs , and co-star and co-executive producer of the addictively truthful Curb Your Enthusiasm. As of this posting, the early show is sold out, but tickets are still available for the late show.

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