Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, October 1-Sunday, October 7, 2018

Visitors in town:  Lewis Black, Nora McInerney, Guy Branum, Eric Schwartz, The Amazing Johnathan, Jay Larson, and The Mormon and the Meth-Head (Jessa Reed and Aaron Woodall). In town for the Chi City Comedy Jam: Sheryl Underwood (University of Illinois alum!), Kountry Wayne, Tony Roberts, Lavell Crawford, Earthquake, DC Young Fly and Chicagoan Taneshia “Just Nesh” Rice.

Chicagoans bringing non-Chicagoans back to their hometown: Nick Offerman (Chicagoan) with wife Megan Mullally (Northwestern alum, though not originally a Chicagoan). And Bob Odenkirk (Chicagoan) with Eric Idle (not).

Brian Babylon returns to his hometown! Watch for him on Windy City Live this week. It will be must-see and I can’t say anything more. But I do have an interview with him here about Chicago comedy and his new album Babylon Ball Z.

Ike Barinholtz returns to his hometown!

At Zanies: Charlie Weiner (Chicago, Rosemont and St. Charles), Tony Hinchcliffe (Chicago), Jared Fried (Chicago), Joe Machi (Rosemont).

At The Improv: Brian Hicks, Joel McHale and Russ Williamson.

At Riddles: Damon Williams Comedy Jam hosted by Damon Williams with headliner Henry Coleman.

Ticket alerts:

Jill Soloway with Elaine Soloway, Faithy Soloway, Hannah Gadsby and Pigeon Pagonis on October 18. Tickets

Hannibal Buress headlines the Laugh Till You’re Winded fundraiser at Zanies in Rosemont on October 24. Laugh Till You’re Winded is Michael Alexander’s exciting new documentary about the Chicago stand-up scene. Tickets

Conan and Friends: An Evening of Stand-Up and Investment Tips at The Chicago Theatre on November 28. Tickets

Living and Laughing Out Loud: An Improv Workshop for 50+ at The Annoyance on October 29. Must register by October 19. Registration

Following is this week’s Spotlight. Just a fraction of all the great and original comedy happening in Chicago this week. Thank you to the Chicago comedy community for making it possible. Thank you to you for stopping by. Please confirm all details before leaving home!


Monkey Wrench with Arish Singh at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 7:00 p.m. Stand-up, sketch and multimedia. With Devin Schiff (The Onion), Grace Thomas (The Onion and Clickhole), Kaitlyn Grissom (IWW), Olivia Corkery Perry (Lincoln Lodge).


Ike Barinholtz at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10 p.m. Comedian, actor and writer Ike Barinholtz is a Chicagoan and iO alum. His roles include The Mindy Project and Blockers. He stars with Tiffany Haddish in the new movie The Oath (Oct. 18) about a couple navigating life after the president pressures citizens to take a loyalty oath.



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 8:00 p.m. Stand-up showcases at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 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. Correy Boyd Bell hosts Tyler Horvath, Carly Ballerini and Mickey Housley.

9:00 p.m. Joe Kilgallon hosts Chris Damen, Chris Higgins and Jeanie Doogan.


After Dark at The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., Winnetka, 7:00 p.m. This new monthly stand-up comedy show is at a biblioholic’s paradise and tickets always sell out. Get them soon. It’s not too soon to get tickets for November!

Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman: Unscripted at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, 7:30 p.m. Just released today: their book The Greatest Love Story Ever Told.



The Second City’s Neighborhood Tour, 230 W. North Ave., 4:00 p.m. Tour guide is Second City alum Margaret Hicks, the author of Chicago Comedy: A Fairly Serious History. This walking tour covers Old Town history, architecture and famous occupants.

Paper Machete Cocktail Hour at The Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 6:30 p.m. This popular free salon features Chicago comedians, writers and musicians on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons. 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. Line-up TBA.



The Cupcake Comedy Cabaret Showcase and Open Mic at The Gallery Cabaret, 2020 N. Oakley, 6:30 p.m. Two treats: comedy showcase and fresh baked cupcakes. Open mic starts at 6:30 followed by showcase. Open Mic Host: Martin Felshman. Showcase Host: Kendall Klitzke. Showcase comedians: Malic White, Brendan Gay , Erin Grotheer, Meredith Kachel.

Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! at Chase Auditorium, 10 S. Dearborn, 7:00 p.m. This is rare. As of this posting, tickets are still available.

Congrats On Your Success at Uncharted Books, 2620 N. Milwaukee Ave., 7:00 p.m. One of Chicago’s most fun and best known showcases. First Thursdays.



Jay Larson at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 7:30 p.m. Comedian/actor Jay Larson’s famous comedic storytelling has been featured on This American Life and Comedy Central’s This is Not Happening. He is here with his “WHAT DID WE LEARN?” tour, “an experience in stand-up, crowd work and conversation.”

Chi City Comedy Jam at Arie Crown Theater, 2301 South Lake Shore Dr., 8:00 p.m. Featuring: Sheryl Underwood, Kountry Wayne, Tony Roberts, Lavell Crawford, Earthquake, DC Young Fly and Just Nesh. Friday and Saturday.


Funny First Friday at Firehouse Grill, 750 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 8:00 p.m. Host: Aaron Foster (Last Comic Standing, Chicago Med, Fire & P.D.). Featuring Chicago P.D.’s J.P. McAllister. Headliner: one of comedy’s greatest storytellers, Sean Flannery (Comedy Central).

Terrible Thanks for Asking at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 8:00 p.m. “You know how every day someone asks ‘how are you?’ And even if you’re totally dying inside, you just say ‘fine,’ so everyone can go about their day? Terrible, Thanks for Asking is a podcast that is the opposite of that. They ask real people to share their complicated and honest feelings – sometimes sad, sometimes funny, and sometimes both at once.”  Hosted by Nora McInerny. Tonight is part of WBEZ’s Podcast Passport and The Fest curated by Third Coast International Audio Festival.

Damon Williams and Michael Ross at The Promontory, 5311 South Lake Park Avenue West, 6:30 p.m. Comedian and actor Damon Williams is also a frequent guest host on Windy City Live. He has also hosted Showtime at the Apollo and opened for the Kings of Comedy. His comedy has been featured on Comedy Central and he has had his own one-hour special on BET’s Comicview. He appears tonight with Michael Ross & The Boss Quartet.

Eric Schwartz at Joe’s Bar, 940 W. Weed St., 7:30 p.m. Eric Schwartz is known for his stand-up, musical comedy, physical antics, multicultural satire and social commentary. With special guest Gwen La Roka.

The Amazing Johnathan at Genesee Theatre, 203 Genesee St., 7:30 p.m. The comedian magician is known for his “unscripted antics.” He was a headliner on the Las Vegas strip for thirteen years. In 2007, doctors told him he had cardiomyopathy and had eighteen months to live. How has it changed him? Answer here.



Late Late Breakfast at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 2:00 p.m. Featured around the country, this comedy show is anything-can-happen: pie fights, polygraph tests, expect anything and everything, including always solid stand-up. Hosted by Tyler Jackson and Danny Maupin. Produced by Liz Maupin.

Eric Idle with Bob Odenkirk at Pfeiffer Hall/North Central College, 310 E. Benton Ave, Naperville, 7:00 p.m. Ticket purchase includes a pre-signed copy of Eric Idle’s new book Always Look at the Bright Side of Life. Sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshops.

20×2 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 7:00 p.m. Twenty Chicago creatives (including comedians) get two minutes to answer/interpret the same question. Tonight’s question: “Why is it important?”

Chi City Comedy Jam at Arie Crown Theater, 2301 South Lake Shore Dr., 8:00 p.m. Featuring: Sheryl Underwood, Kountry Wayne, Tony Roberts, Lavell Crawford, Earthquake, DC Young Fly and Just Nesh. Friday and Saturday.

Lewis Black at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, 8:00 p.m. Grammy Award-winning comedian Lewis Black is here with “The Joke’s On Us” Tour.


Jessa Reed and Aaron Woodall at @Northa Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 9:30 p.m. From the very original comedic podcast, The Mormon and the Meth-Head.

House Lafayette at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:30 p.m. A new production by Briane Goodrum. Her first solo performance takes place in a New Orleans haunted house. The house’s horrors reflect her own fears and many characters will materialize to help her conquer them. Briane’s goal is for audiences to feel buoyed and more confident about tackling their own life obstacles. Saturdays through October 27.



The Roast of Stephen King at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 7:00 p.m. These roasts by Character Assassination are recommended by RedEye and The Reader. October’s roast takes on storytelling’s spookiest, scariest master of human and non-human insanity.

Lincoln Lodge presents Guy Branum at Under the Gun Theatre, 956 W. Newport, 8:00 p.m. Guy Branum is the creator and host of truTVs Talk Show The Game Show and author of a book at the top of my to-read list, My Life As A Goddess.

Dream Freaks Fall From Space at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Last chance to see Second City’s Tribune 4-starred 106th Mainstage revue. New revue premiers on October 9.

Matt Damon Improv at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. The cast is all women-of-color and the format makes listening and hearing something that really happens. Sketch, stand-up and solo performance. Last show for now at The Annoyance!

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