Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, July 30-Sunday, August 5, 2018

Visitors in town: Whoopi Goldberg, Miranda Sings and Andy Kindler. Chris Redd returns to his hometown.

At Zanies: Dwayne Kennedy (Chicago), Max Silvestri (Chicago), Tim Walkoe (Rosemont), Michael Issac (St. Charles).

At The Improv: Pat Chase (Thursday) and Bruce Bruce (Friday-Sunday).

Ticket Alerts:

August 7: The Book Stall After Dark – tickets have been selling out for this new comedy series in Winnetka.

August 10: Lorne Michaels, creator and executive producer of Saturday Night Live, at the Museum of Broadcast Communications Benefit.

August 10: An Evening of Comedy for First Responders with Maz Jobrani, Dom Irrera, Erik Griffin and Mike Faverman at the Rosemont Theatre.

September 10: Stand Up for Pits Benefit at Zanies

Chicago comedians in the news: T. Murph’s Comedy Central special, produced by Kevin Hart, will air this Friday, August 3 at 10:00 p.m. Drew Michael’s special, directed by Jerrod Carmichael, will debut on HBO on August 25. You can see a trailer here.

Following is this week’s spotlight, just a small fraction of  the great and original comedy happening in Chicago this week. Please confirm all details before leaving for anywhere!




Dwayne Kennedy at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. Through Wednesday. Go see why Dwayne Kennedy is one of the most admired stand-ups to come out of Chicago. He has appeared on Seinfeld, Martin, Amen, 227, The Late Show with David Letterman, Comedy Central, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and many more. He was a writer and on-air correspondent for the critically acclaimed Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. I especially love his material about his chronically argumentative dad, but it’s impossible to say one bit is the best – it all is! His album Oh No, It’s Dwayne Kennedy! can be found here.


Stand Up for the Service Industry at Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. Jokes and horror stories from Chicago’s funniest servers, bartenders and chefs. Featuring Chelsea Hood, Aaron Putnam, Chris Bader and more TBA.



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 great, diverse line-up of Chicago’s top comedians and surprise drop-ins.

7:30 p.m.: Mickey Housley hosts Tyler Fowler, Chris Trani and Abi Sanchez.

9:00 p.m.: Chris Trani, Jillian Ebanks, Kenny Metroff and Mickey Housley.


Jackpot Comedy at Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. Laughs and a chance for every audience member to walk away with a prize.

Large Print: A Blurry Look At My Life & The Best Little Black Boy in The World at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:00 p.m.

Large Print: A Blurry Look At My Life: “Exploring adolescence, relationships and the proper way to apply sunscreen, Jake will bring to light the ways people have interacted with him about his albinism and how he thinks they could do a little bit better.”

The Best Little Black Boy in The World: Gregory Taylor on being “TBLBBITW” and what all that smiling really means.



The Paper Machete Cocktail Hour at Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 6:30 p.m. Free weekly show with some of Chicago’s most interesting artists, comedians, writers, musicians and sometimes surprise out-of-town guests. Line-up announced closer to show time.

Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., 9:30 p.m. Jonah Jurkens hosts Correy Bell, Blake Burkhart, Allison Dunn, T. Murph and Nick Savarino.



Elaine Soloway Book Launch at the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St., 7:00 p.m. Book launch party for Elaine’s novel She’s Not the Type sponsored by Women & Children First. This event will also celebrate Elaine’s 80th birthday. Due to this event’s popularity, it’s kicking off at the Museum, then “we’ll parade to the bookstore (5233 N. Clark St.) for book sales, wine, and cake!” Elaine is a humor writer and author of my favorite memoir, Division Street Princess. She has also “seen aspects of her life immortalized on the Golden Globe and Emmy Award Winning Transparent, which is produced and written by her daughters, Jill and Faith Soloway.”

Congrats On Your Success at Uncharted Books, 2620 N. Milwaukee Ave., 7:00 p.m. Free stand-up showcase. Line-up announced on Facebook closer to show time.

Wasteland: A Night of Mandolin, Happiness and Others at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. This show promises to be like no other! We’ve needed a post-apocalyptic bluegrass musical (with puppets) and thankfully, it is here! Directed by Richard Scruggs. Through August 23.

The Decolonizing Comedy Show at Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark, 8:30 p.m. Hosted by WakandaCon. Featuring headliner Chris Redd (SNL, Popstar, Netflix’s Disjointed) and Dewayne Perkins (Netflix’s The Break with Michelle Wolf), Taneshia Rice (HBO, Kevin Hart Presents: The Next Level), Chicago’s fave 3Peat Comedy (Comedy Central), Rashida “Sheedz” Olayiwola (HBO’s Insecure), Kellye Howard (Comedy Central).

Just Kitten Around at The Catcade, 1235 W. Belmont, 8:30 p.m. A monthly comedy fundraiser for The Catcade (a non-profit cat rescue in Lakeview). Play with the cats at 8:00. Watch comedy with a cat on your lap at 8:30. First Thursdays of the month. Tonight Elsie How and Alex Collyard host Jamie Shriner Biddle, Gary Pascal, Carly Ballerini and Brianna Murphy.



Whoopi Goldberg at Ravinia, Highland Park, 8:00 p.m. The comedic truth-teller extraordinaire is one of the few people to have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. Tonight is “an evening of unique observations on current events and a wide variety of topics that are on Whoopi’s mind.”

Miranda Sings: No Offense at The Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont, 7:30 p.m. Miranda Sings is an internet singing phenom known for her “delusional self-confidence.” In reality, she is Colleen Ballinger whose comedy went from cult sensation into the stratosphere after Jerry Seinfeld invited her on Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. She now has 20 million loyal followers.


EbonyEssenceJet: Wanted at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:30 p.m. Starring Kimberly Banks, Ashley Bland, Briané Goodrum and Lele Mason. A “signature brand of topical and conscious humor, performed through improvisation, storytelling and stand-up and musical comedy … Hear these four African-American comediennes deliver their unique humor to Chicago.” UPDATE: unfortunately, tonight’s show has been canceled due to an unforeseen emergency. iO will refund tickets. Stay up to date with @ebonyessencejet on twitter and on Facebook.


The Joke-Off at Gallery Cabaret, 2020 N. Oakley, 7:00 p.m. The Two-Hour Comedy Hour presents The Joke-Off for one night only! A rapid fire competition of one-minute jokes where you’ll get to hear 24 Chicago stand-ups: Featuring Audrey Jonas, Blake Burkhart, Bobby Budds, Cameron Gillette, Carly Ballerini, Casey Larwood, Cleveland Anderson, Dale McPeek, Dan Drees, David Philips, Gena Gephart, Joe Fernandez, Maddy Smith, Mark James Heath, Michael Robinson, Nicky Martin, Olivia Perry, Rebecca Loeser, Samantha Berkman, Sarah Perry, Stephanie Weber, Toler Wolfe, Tom Wisdom and Tyler Snodgrass.



Andy Kindler at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Andy Kindler played “Andy”, a friend of Ray Barone (Ray Romano) on Everybody Loves Raymond. He is known for his not-always-friendly analysis of other comedians and claims to have met Marc Maron at a misanthrope’s convention (which made me like them both even more). He is also known for his annual “State of the Industry” address at the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival. You can hear this year’s here. Here are two great interviews with Andy Kindler: by Ed Kaz! and on Andy Kindler’s podcast Thought Spiral with J. Elvis Weinstein here.

Roast of Mister Rogers at Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 7:00 p.m. What?! Who could roast Mister Rogers?! And why? (And now I want to know.)

We’re All Fine Here, How Are You? at Cole’s Bar, 2338 N. Milwaukee, 8:30 p.m. Comedy showcase on the first Sunday of each month. Tonight Elise Fernandez hosts Lily Schulder, Brian Emuge, Gena Gephart, Nicky Martin and Sonal Aggarwal.

ShiOwcase: Beyond Borders at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:00 p.m. This unique showcase features the improvisers from all over the world who came to Chicago for the 2018 iO Summer Intensive.

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