Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, October 8-Sunday, October 14, 2018

Visitors in town: J Smiles, Hari Kondabolu, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Shayna Ferm and Tracey Tee, and Erica Rhodes. Skokie native Esther Povitsky (Niles North alum) returns to Chicago.

At Zanies: Jared Fried (Chicago), Dr. Bill Miller (Chicago), Andrew Schulz (Chicago), Steven Haas and Becky Robinson (Chicago), Michael Issac (Rosemont), Erin Foley (Rosemont), Lenny Schmidt (St. Charles).

At The Improv: Jeff Bodart, Alonza Bodden.

At Riddles: Damon Williams Comedy Jam.

Ticket Alerts:

October 29: Phoebe Robinson at Thalia Hall/Chicago Humanities Festival. Tickets (almost gone)

November 1: Abbi Jacobson at The Vic/Chicago Humanities Festival. Sold out, but call (312) 605-8444  to be added to the wait list.

November 16-17: Mo’Nique at The Improv. Tickets

November 20: Kyle Kinane at Thalia Hall. Tickets

December 2: Jimmy Carr – one of the U.K.s most famous comedians – at Thalia Hall. Early show already sold out!  Tickets

Following is this week’s Spotlight. Please confirm all details before leaving home!


Esther Povitsky at Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. Esther Povitsky is from Skokie and a Niles North alum. She is the co-creator and star of Hulu/Freeform’s Alone Together and is Maya on the CW’s Crazy Ex Girlfriend. She was one of Variety’s “Ten Comics to Watch at the Montreal Comedy Festival” in 2017. She also appeared on Brooklyn 99, Key & Peele, Lady Dynamite and Parks and Recreation. Her stand-up has been featured on the Late Late Show and Comedy Central and she is the host of the podcast Glowing Up.


Maggiano’s Serves Something Funny, 307 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills, 6:00 p.m. Dinner and stand-up hosted by Ricky March. Featuring Katie Meiners and Michelle Krajecki. Headliner: Jim Flannigan.



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. Anthony Bonazzo hosts Carly Kane, Manny Acosta, Marty DeRosa

9:00 p.m. Chris Trani hosts Joey Villagomez, Joe Kilgallon, Aaron Foster

Premiere: The 107th Mainstage Revue at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m.This is the most exciting time to see a show on our stages. The cast is fresh, new material is worked into the show every night, and your laughter in the audience helps shape the final show!”

Generation LatinX at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:00 p.m. New fourth season for this all Hispanic cast. New sketch comedy each week. Tonight features the Harold Team “Cecilia.”



The Shrews Present: Unsex Me Here at Second City’s Judy’s Beat Lounge, 230 W. North Ave., 8:30 p.m. Long form improv the way Shakespeare would have done it. The Shrews are a group of women sharing interests in improv, theater, Shakespeare scholarship, and Renaissance Faire. Through October 24. 

Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., 9:30 p.m. One of Chicago’s best-known stand-up showcases. Follow link for line-up TBA.

World’s Worst Witch at Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. It’s the year 666 in Ireland and a young woman is convinced she’s the “World’s Worst Witch.” Her ghost father and Magic Mythica Creatures of Celtic myths will convince her otherwise. Through October 31.



Bordering on Hilarious at Cards Against Humanity Theater, 1551 West Homer St., 8:00 p.m. This wow of a stand-up show benefits the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights and features comedians from immigrant backgrounds. They are some of Chicago’s absolute best: Oscar Carvajal (Laugh Factory), Sonal Aggarwal (Laugh Factory), Stuti Sharma, Adam Burke (Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me) and Meg Indurti (Stand Up NBC Finalist). Headliner: Azhar Usman (The Comedy Cellar).


Hari Kondabolu at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St., 8:00 p.m. Hari Kondabolu is known for his hilarious and powerful political comedy. His recent documentary The Problem with Apu changed minds and got people seriously thinking about the way television represents people of South Asian heritage. His Netflix special Warn Your Relatives debuted this year.


The Excited State at The Revival, 1160 E 55th St.,8:00 p.m. Improv comedy featuring different scientists at each show. Tonight: Sidney R. Nagel, Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Prof., University of Chicago.



The kates at The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln, 7:00 p.m. The kates are Chicago’s all-women comedy showcase created and produced by Kelsie Huff (Windy City Live, The Jam). Always an outstanding evening of diverse, hilarious and unforgettable voices. Tonight Denise Medina hosts Shanna Shrum, Hannah Starr, Lindsay Porter, Kate Cullan, Kyna Lenhof, Alex Seligsohn and Colleen Brennan.

J Smiles at The Revival, 1160 E 55th St., 7:00 p.m. J Smiles left corporate life to become a comedian. She says, “Humor is the healing wand that allows me to disrupt traditional thoughts and offer alternatives to the crunchy edges of life without being a politician, preacher or professor.” This is her 2018 nationwide tour, 1 Woman, 1 Hour, More Than 1 Laugh. Visit her  J Smiles Cares page for very interesting and inspirational facts about her life.


Queer Little Hamster at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:30 p.m. Laurel Zoff Pelton’s new solo show. Directed by Andel Sudik. A comedic and musical exploration of love, addiction and “the tricky queer place she finds herself between.” Through October 26.



Mary Lynn Rajskub at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. She was a cast member of Mr. Show and is also known for playing Chloe O’Brien on 24, although she recently revealed that she was left out of the reboot. Did you know she is also very funny and a nationally touring comedian?

Faded by T Murph at The Revival, 1160 E 55th St., 10:00 p.m. Fast-rising Chicago star T Murph and friends. Zach Freeman interviewed T Murph in the Chicago Tribune here.



Pump and Dump at The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 8:00 p.m. Shayna Ferm and Tracey Tee are here with interactive, “parentally incorrect” comedy, music, games and prizes.

Don’t Tell Comedy in Logan Square, 7:30 p.m. Follow link for secret location.



Erica Rhodes at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 7:30 p.m. Erica Rhodes has appeared on Modern Family, Veep and New Girl and was a regular panelist on Comedy Central’s @midnight and Fox’s Punchline. Her comedy has also been featured at comedy festivals nationwide.

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