Vistors in town: Paula Poundstone, Jay Leno, Andrew Dice Clay, Jon Lovett, and Kevin Hart. Horatio Sanz returns to his hometown. In town for the “I Heart Halal” Festival: Mo Amer, Ramy Youssef, Zainab Johnson, and Ahamed Weinberg.
At Zanies: Ryan Hamilton, Mick Foley, and Joe Bronzi, plus Michael Palascak returns to his hometown!
At The Improv: Warren B. Hall and Craig Shoemaker.
Ticket alerts: The Sklar Brothers with Daniel Van Kirk at @North Bar on Friday, May 4. Two stand-up shows, plus a live podcast recording of Dumb People Town. Tickets for stand-up shows are still available. Podcast recording is sold-out, but I got an email from @North Bar saying a few more tickets may be released. Details @North Bar.
Following is this week’s Spotlight. Please confirm all details!
MONDAY, APRIL 9
CAMP: A Comedy Show at The Village Tap, 2055 W. Roscoe, 8:15 p.m. Games at 8:15 p.m. Stand-up at 8:30 with host Tessa Orzech and Mickey Housley, Deanna Ortiz, Bobby Hill, Bill Gevirtz, Caroline Twyman, and Samantha Berkman.
The Armando Diaz Experience at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. This classic weekly iO show has some great evenings planned tonight and ahead. Tonight: Darling Shear, “a professional choreographer and dancer who explores and challenges aspects of gender through performance. Shear’s artistry displays a one of a kind spirit that causes audiences to reassess their world.”
In Armando Diaz, a guest’s personal monologue inspires improv. iO explains its legacy thusly: “Founded by Adam McKay (SNL, Anchorman, Talladega Nights), Dave Koechner (Anchorman, Thank You For Smoking, SNL) and Del Close (iO co-founder) The Armando Diaz Experience is iO’s longest running show and a landmark of comedy in Chicago.”
40 Comics in One Night at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. Forty comics go up in honor of Zanies’ 40th anniversary at this FREE show. Link will tell you show is sold out, but it also says anyone with a ticket forfeits if not there by 7:30 p.m. If you don’t have a ticket, it may be worth showing up and taking your chances.
TUESDAY, APRIL 10
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 stellar, diverse line-up of Chicago’s top comedians and surprise drop-ins.
7:30 p.m. Host: Mickey Housely. Featuring Debra Chev and Derek Smith. Headliner: Reena Calm
9:00 p.m. Host: Joe Kilgallon. Featuring Michael Njuguna Robinson and Reena Calm. Headliner: Kellye Howard.
United Nations Feminist Comedy Night at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. This partnership between Zanies and the United Nations’ Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women stars a most excellent line-up: Alex Seligsohn, Kelsie Huff, Patti Vasquez, Erin Field, Jeanie Doogan, Kat Herskovic, and Gena Gephart. Followed by a panel discussion.
Generation Latinx at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:00 p.m. A comedy variety show featuring performers of Latino/a heritage promising to be “relatably bizarre” and creative.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11
Paper Machete at The Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 6:30 p.m. Comedians, musicians, writers and other artists. Always a great line-up. Not just Saturdays anymore! Arrive early for seats.
Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., 9:30 p.m. Nationally renowned stand-up showcase. Tonight Allison Dunne hosts Vince Carone, Cleveland Anderson, Taneshia Rice, Matt Drufke, Grace Thomas, and Ricky Gonzalez.
THURSDAY, APRIL 12
Horatio Sanz at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State, 6:00 p.m. Richard Roeper interviews SNL alum Horatio Sanz as part of the Museum’s “Conversations in Comedy” series. You can tour the Museum’s Saturday Night Live exhibit at 6:00 p.m. before tonight’s discussion (which starts at 7:30). The exhibit is here through the end of the year. MBC is always a thrill for anyone with a passion for the creative process or an interest in radio and television. Tonight’s event is likely to sell out, so get tickets soon!
Paula Poundstone at The Genesee Theater, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan, 7:30 p.m. Paula Poundstone possesses one of the funniest, quickest minds in all of comedy. She is known for making each show different and for her interactions with the audience. She is one of the stars who makes NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! so delightful. Look for her as a guest on late night TV. She is always entertaining as heck and it’s fun to watch everyone else try to keep up with her. She is also a bestselling author. Her most recent book is The Totally Unscientific Study Of The Search For Human Happiness.
Andrew Dice Clay at The Arcada, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles, 8:00 p.m. Known for his comedic character who speaks in the voice of outraged and outrageous machismo. He was also surprisingly excellent in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine opposite Cate Blanchett. On the other hand, female performers have at times refused to perform with him.
FRIDAY, APRIL 13
The Kates at The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln, 7:00 p.m. Chicago’s all-female stand-up showcase created and produced by Kelsie Huff. Guaranteed unforgettable night of top comic talent and diverse perspectives. Arrive early for seats!
Jay Leno at The Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora, 8:00 p.m. Jay Leno is also at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan tomorrow.
Lovett or Leave It at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, 8:30 p.m. Jon Lovett was the former speechwriter for Hilary Clinton and the Obama White House and co-host of the acclaimed podcast Pod Save America. Tonight, he brings his Lovett or Leave It podcast to Chicago for a live recording and evening of live-wire humor, politics and news. Expect some special guests, too.
SATURDAY, APRIL 14
Comics for a Cause at Cork & Kerry, 10614 South Western Ave., 7:30 p.m. The “I am who I am foundation” presents “Comics for a Cause,” an evening of comedy and surprises headlined by WGN Radio’s Patti Vasquez who is also one of Chicago’s funniest comedians. The evening’s goal is to “raise acceptance, inclusion and awareness for all those born a bit differently.” Limited seating, so get your tickets while they’re still available!
Not Your Mother’s Hysteria at Open Door Theater, 902 Ridgeland, Oak Park, 8:00 p.m. A new show by the nationally acclaimed, multi-award winning Therapy Players, Chicago’s all-psychotherapist improv troupe.
America’s Least Wanted at Navy Pier, 8:00 p.m. This show is a presentation of the “I Heart Halal Festival” and stars some of comedy’s top Muslim comedians. Headliner: Mo Amer (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, HBO’s Crashing, @midnight). Featuring Ramy Youssef (Mr. Robot, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, See Dad Run), Zainab Johnson (All Def Comedy, Last Comic Standing, BET’s Comic View), and Ahamed Weinberg (Late Night with Seth Meyers, Comedy Bang Bang, Insecure). Hosted by Chicago’s own Azhar Usman. (Amazon’s Patriot).
Jay Leno at the Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan, 8:00 p.m. Jay Leno famously has never spent his Tonight Show money and lives off whatever he makes from stand-up. By the way, have you read I’m Dying Up Here by William Knoedelseder about the history of L.A.’s Comedy Store? It’s a must-must-read for any stand-up fan. It’s also a fascinating early portrait of many of today’s comedians, including Jay Leno.
AC:2 at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 8:00 p.m. An evening with Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper.
Kevin Hart at the United Center, 7:00 p.m. The “Irresponsible Tour.” Tonight and tomorrow night.
SUNDAY, APRIL 15
Julia Sweeney: Older and Wider at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 6:00 p.m. Julia Sweeney’s comedic storytelling will draw you in from the first moment. Honest and hilarious true stories from her post-Saturday Night Live life, including parenting and empty nesting on Chicago’s North Shore. Her stories are the kind of doozies you’ll recognize as only possible in real life. I didn’t want the evening to end. Follow link for all details.
Kevin Hart at the United Center, 7:00 p.m. Second night of Kevin Hart’s “Irresponsible Tour” in Chicago.
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.