Visitors in town: Rita Rudner, Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley of #IMOMSOHARD, Chris Rock, David Drake, Anthony Jeselnik, and Ashley Hamilton. Plus, Festival Laughs is here: Sommore, Don “DC” Curry, Tony Rock, Arnez J, and George Wallace. (Two Rock brothers are here the same week!)
Jeremy Piven returns to his hometown with a weekend of performances at the Laugh Factory.
At the Improv: Tammy Pescatelli.
September 28: Jim Jefferies at The Chicago Theatre
November 8-9: Emo Phillips at Zanies
November 18: Gary Gulman at Park West
Chicagoans in the news:
Last week on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jim Gaffigan announced that his sixth album, Noble Ape, will be released on July 13. My interview with Jim Gaffigan last fall is here. We talked about the Noble Ape tour, Jim’s dramatic new career turn, comedy writing and what’s so special about the Chicago Theatre.
May 8: Steven Springer’s free comedy writing class at Zanies in Rosemont. Space is limited! For more information and to RSVP, contact Steven via Facebook or email: email@example.com.
May 12: Comedy Prep School at Stage 773 for ages 12-17. More info: (773) 327-5252
Here is this week’s Chicago comedy spotlight. Lots of Mother’s Day events! Like mom says, please confirm all details!
MONDAY, MAY 7
The Armando Diaz Experience at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. Tonight’s special guest: Svengoolie (a/k/a Rich Koz)! Armando Diaz is Chicago’s longest-running improv show. It was created by Del Close, Dave Koechner and Adam McKay.
TUESDAY, MAY 8
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: Chris Trani hosts Chris Sanders and Ed Towns with headliner Marty DeRosa.
9:00 p.m. Jonah Jurkens hosts John Norman and Carly Kane with headliner Kellye Howard.
#IMOMSOHARD: Mom’s Night Out Round #2 at The Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont, 8:00 p.m. Mother’s Day arrives early! Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley are not here to inspire. They’re not here to talk about “improving.” They are here to tell the truth and to laugh about it together. They’ll be at the Peoria Civic Center tomorrow night. Interview with Kristin and Jen here!
WEDNESDAY, MAY 9
Feminist Happy Hour: Momma Tried at Beauty Bar Chicago, 1444 W. Chicago Ave., 7:00 p.m. Feminist comedy for all in the month of mamas.” Tonight: Katie Oliver, Sharron Palm, JH Palmer, Rima Parikh, Lucia Whalen, and more TBA. Hosted by Alicia Swiz.
#IMOMSOHARD: Mom’s Night Out Round #2 at The Peoria Civic Center, 201 SW Jefferson Ave, Peoria, 8:00 p.m. Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley are not here to inspire. They’re not here to talk about “improving.” They are here to tell the truth and to laugh about it together. Interview with Kristin and Jen here!
THURSDAY, MAY 10
The Mother Cluckers at Jayne, 20 West Harris Ave., La Grange, 7:00 p.m. A party “for mamas and people who know mamas” hosted by Mother Cluckers Comedy and Suburban Parent Network. Comedy show, discount shopping, appetizers, cocktails and a raffle.
Tuxedo Cat Comedy at Beauty Bar Chicago, 1444 W. Chicago Ave., 8:00 p.m. Stand-up showcase hosted by Le Aboav. Featuring: Shannon Noll, David Drake (NYC), Sabeen Sadiq, Ashley Hamilton (NYC), Kendall Farrell and TCC’s Jerry Tran.
Comedy at Phyllis at Phyllis’ Musical Inn, 1800 W. Division St., 8:00 p.m. Stand-up showcase with Abe Rabinowitz, Amy Young, Brendan Gay, Brian Johnson, Dave Maher, Emily Szaflarski, Kate Cullan, Larry Fulford, Liz Greenwood, Rodescu Hopkins, Tessa Orzech, Tucker Millett, Tyler Horvath, Tyler Rhinhart, and Yoni Heisler. Hosted by Keegan Buckingham. Music from Rachael Wilson.
FRIDAY, MAY 11
Funny Ha Ha: Oh, Mother at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 6:30 p.m. Comedic storytelling by Chicago’s top storytellers. Tonight: Lily Be (Stoop Storytelling Series producer and host), Julia Sweeney Blum (Actress, storyteller and comedian. SNL Alum), Elizabeth Gomez (Windy City Rollers founder), Jennon Bell Hoffmann (Freelance writer, editor, and dance party enthusiast), Megan Stielstra (The Wrong Way to Save Your Life author), and Steve Delahoyde (“Official Steve Martin acquaintance”). Hosted by Claire Zulkey.
The Kates at The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln Ave., 7:00 p.m. All-women stand-up showcase created and produced by Kelsie Huff. Always an unforgettable evening of top comic talent and diverse voices. Tonight: Lauren Hooberman, Kenley Eaglestone, Jillian Ebanks, Alaina Hoffman, Lindsay Thobe, Ellen Wessel, Lindsay Williams. Hosted by Denise Medina. Arrive early for seats!
What’s It Like to Be You? At Colvin House, 5940 N. Sheridan Rd., 7:00 p.m. Go and you might get to tell your story live on stage to legendary Chicago television personality Ben Hollis (Wild Chicago). Whether you’re on stage or off, it’s always a funny, moving experience and kind of magical in the way the audience turns into a community over the course of the evening.
SATURDAY, MAY 12
Rita Rudner at Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, 8:00 p.m. An evening with Rita Rudner, one of comedy’s greatest, would make a perfect Mother’s Day gift! Last year, Rita was kind enough to tell me about her comedy career here. This year, we talked about Mother’s Day and some exciting news about her upcoming projects. To be posted Monday!
Steppenwolf Gala at 1340 N. Cherry St., 6:30 p.m. Emceed by Rainn Wilson who is currently starring in Steppenwolf’s The Doppelganger and an auction with auctioneer Chris Rock. Individual tickets start at $1,000.
Lucky: A Musical at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 10:30 p.m. Inspired by the American Girl book, The Care and Keeping of You. Lucky is a hilarious look at navigating those early college days according to the precepts of American Girl. Expect pop-driven anthems and a lot of relatability and answers to what it takes to find yourself. Produced by an all-female team with an all-female band. Through May 26.
SUNDAY, MAY 13
Julia Sweeney: Older & Wider at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 4:00 p.m. The Saturday Night Live alum, actor and bestselling author debuts 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 was a sold-out hit even in its previous workshopping mode!
Yo Mama at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Comedy from some of Chicago’s best stand-ups and they’re also moms. Hosted by Colette Gregory. Featuring Lia Berman, Jessica Besser-Rosenberg, Colleen Brennan, Kat Herskovic, Eunji Kim, Barbara Legan, Maya May, “Mr. Mom” Kenny Metroff, Nermin Moufti, and Lindsay Porter. Presented by Shade, “an actually diverse comedy show.”
Festival Laughs at Arie Crown Theater, 2301 South Lake Shore Dr., 7:00 p.m. Starring w/Sommore, Don “DC” Curry, Tony Rock, Arnez J, and George Wallace.
Token: We’ll MAYke You Laugh at Alulu Brewery and Pub, 2011 S. Laflin St., 7:30 p.m. A comedy variety show. Featuring Lindsey Shaw, Brittany Meyer, Max Friedman, Michael Njuguna Robinson, Jerry Tran, and Jared Chapman. Headliner: Sonal Aggarwal. Hosted by Liz Greenwood and Myriam Raymond.
Anthony Jeselnik at The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. The “Funny Games” Tour.
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.