Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, April 16-Sunday, April 22, 2018

Visitors in town: Several events this week bring the stars together. Baratunde Thurston, Tamer Kattan, Zahra Noorbakhsh, Felonious Munk and Alex Kumin get together for the Define American Film Festival. Stephen Colbert, Kathryn Hahn, Ana Gasteyer, Marg Helgenberger and more will be here for Northwestern’s (very) Starry Night. Open Books and Laughs at The Laugh Factory features an outstanding line-up of Chicago comedy. Also: Dave Helem and Bill Murray returns to their hometown. Keep reading for more details.

At Zanies: Arsenio Hall, Miss Pat, Chris Kattan and Friends, Joe Bronzi, Michael Quu and the Full Throttle Comedy Tour, Jared Freid, and Jim Flannigan.

At The Improv: Clayton English.

Ticket alerts:

May 12: Rita Rudner at the Raue Center in Crystal Lake

April 24-May 30: Julia Sweeney’s Older and Wider at Second City

May 17-19: Dulce Sloan at Zanies

May 26-27: Ben’s Wild Story at The Skokie Theatre with Ben Hollis


April 19: Feminine Comique begins a new term.

April 24: Free comedy writing class at Zanies in Rosemont with Steven Springer, 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Must reserve space by contacting Steven at or via Facebook.

May 12: A class for ages 12-17 by the producers of the Chicago Comedy Sketch Festival

Chicagoans in the news: Jim O’Heir (Parks and Recreation) hosts the new singing competition Lullaby League. The show airs on April 18 on and Pop TV. It’s like no other singing competition in the world. Interview with Jim coming soon!

The long awaited Super Troopers 2 arrives … when else? On 4/20! The trailer already has almost 3 million views. Jay Chandrasekhar, who directed, co-wrote and co-starred, revealed some behind-the-scenes when we talked last year. Please read it here.

Following is this week’s Spotlight, just a fraction of all the original comedy taking place here every day of the week. Thank you for dropping by and thank you to the Chicago comedy community for making this blog possible. Please confirm all details!



Comedy Musicale at The Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie, 7:30 p.m. Starring The Chicago Cabaret Professionals. “A heartwarming revue of fun songs from Vaudeville and Musical Theatre.” Featuring Anita Kallen, Anna Palermo, Anne Burnell, Barb Smith, Carla Gordon, Catherine Thomson, David Edelfelt, Judy Rossignuolo-Rice, Russ Goeltenbodt. and Scott Urban.

The Armando Diaz Experience with Dan Bakkedahl at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. This classic weekly iO show has some great evenings planned tonight and ahead. Tonight: Actor and comedian Dan Bakkedahl, (Life in Pieces, Veep). He is an alum of iO and Second City.

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.”


Manic Music Mondays at Frances’, 307 E. 75th St., 8:00 p.m. Live music and comedy hosted by Just Nesh (Kevin Hart’s Hart of the City and The Next Level and HBO’s All Def Comedy).


Ladylike at Café Mustache, 2313 N. Milwaukee Ave., 8:00 p.m. A storytelling show where women get to tell the most disgusting stories they’ve got. Tonight: Erin Field, Deanna Ortiz, Olivia Corkery Perry, Heather King, and Asia Martin. Burlesque from Fancy Fontina. Hosted by Gena Gephart. Music by Unofficial: Laura Dern.



Open Books and Laugh at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. Host: Brian Babylon (NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!) featuring Pat Tomasulo (WGN Morning News, Man of the People), Leon Rogers (WGCI), Chris Bader (Just For Laughs), Sarah Perry (Sirius XM Radio), Rob Gleeson (Conan). “A night of stand-up comedy supporting Open Books’ transformative reading and writing programs.”



The Sean Flannery Show at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. Sean Flannery was named “Best Comic in Chicago” by the Chicago Reader. One of comedy’s best storytellers of all time.

Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., 9:30 p.m. Nationally renowned stand-up showcase. Tonight Jonah Jurkens hosts Carmen Lagala, Joe Kilgallon, Kelsie Huff, Calvin Evans, Matt Chiaramonte, and Joey Villagomez.

(Subscribe to Kelsie’s channel for new videos every week):



Nicole Hollander at Swedish-American Museum, 5211 N. Clark, 7:30 p.m. Book launch for the creator of the internationally syndicated cartoon Sylvia. Nicole Hollander has just released her first long-form memoir We Ate Wonder Bread: A Memoir of Growing Up on the West Side of Chicago. She has also published sixteen Sylvia collections. Her memoir is a coming-of-age story “starring the gangsters, the glamorous, the bed bugs, the (enviable) Catholic girls, the police, the jukebox, the fortune teller, and the blue Hudson–the family car, always at the ready for frequent drives into better neighborhoods.” If you’re in Ohio, you can find Nicole Hollander’s archives at the Cartoon Library at Ohio State, a rare honor she shares with Roz Chast and Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbies).

Keenan Thompson’s Road to NYC at The Revival, 1160 E. 55th St., 8:00 p.m. Presented by Mary Lindsey, whose comedy career includes co-founding Chicago’s All Jokes Aside and Jokes & Notes. Both comedy clubs influenced stand-up nationwide. Tonight, Chicago comedians compete to win the ultimate New York opportunity.

Bill Murray with Jan Vogler at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, 8:00 p.m. A celebration of American music and literature.



Dope Comedy Show at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 9:00 p.m. Hosted by Dave Helem. This month’s guests: Erica Clark,
Rob Gleeson, Khalil Wilson, Kristen Toomey, and Brian Da Wildcat Smith. Musical Guest: Phillip Scales.

Killing Your Darlings at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., 10:00 p.m. An innovative new show. You get to see new sets born and you’ll never hear the same joke twice! So how do these comedians get all that writing done? Interview with creator and producer Justin Golak here!



A Starry Night at Ryan Fieldhouse, Northwestern University, Evanston, 8:00 p.m. Northwestern is not kidding when it calls tonight “A Starry Night.” Performance hosted by Stephen Colbert starring his fellow Northwestern School of Communication alums and current students. Performers include Katherine Hahn, Ana Gasteyer, Marg Helgenberger and more. Follow link for all details. Expensive, but as Northwestern says, it’s a “once-in-a-generation celebration.” Tickets must be purchased by noon on April 20!

Las Locas Comedy at Anchor Baby Vintage, 2315 N. Pulaski Rd., 8:00 p.m. Tonight: Soli Santos and Janice V. Rodriguez (Las Locas producers), Jess Martinez (Second City), Adrienne Brandyburg (BAPS Comedy), Chrissi Hartigan (Annoyance Theater), and Jessica Besser Rosenberg (Living Room Sessions).

Side Effects May Include at The Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie, 7:30 p.m. A one-man show about early onset Parkinson’s Disease. Phil is a stand-up comedian in a happy marriage until his wife is diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. The impact on their marriage is not all bad. Based on a funny, true story by former Seinfeld writer, Marc Jaffe. Starring Andrew J. Pond.

What’s It Like to be You? At Raydiant Day, 1400 Greenleaf St., Evanston, 7:00 p.m. Only 25 seats! This is an absolutely magical evening with Emmy Award-winning television legend Ben Hollis (Wild Chicago). A “one-of-a-kind evening of spontaneous storytelling, comedy and human revelation.”



Side Effects May Include at The Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave., Skokie, 2:00 p.m. A one-man show about early onset Parkinson’s Disease. Phil is a stand-up comedian in a happy marriage until his wife is diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. The impact on their marriage is not all bad. Based on a funny, true story by former Seinfeld writer, Marc Jaffe. Starring Andrew J. Pond.

Comedy Night at Define American Film Festival at Venue SIX10, 610 South Michigan Ave., 5:30 p.m. In partnership with The Second City and its Harold Ramis Film School, Comedy Night at DAFF features performances by Tamer Kattan, Zahra Noorbakhsh, Felonious Munk, and Alex Kumin. Hosted by Baratunde Thurston (About Race podcast, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show).


Hoo Ha Comedy at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 8:30 p.m. Stand-up, sketch, and variety plus a photobooth and full bar. Tonight’s show benefits NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness). The National Alliance On Mental Illness. Featuring Maddie Wiener, Sonal Aggarwal, Chris Higgins, Hoo Ha Producers, and music by Grace Kinter. Hoo Ha is an all-female curated comedy collective.

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