Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, October 15-Sunday, October 22, 2018

Visitors in town: Chris Gethard, Hannah Gadsby, Gad Elmaleh, Busy Philipps, author Adam Nayman, and comedian-at-heart Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Jill Soloway and Faith Soloway return to their hometown this week to celebrate the release of Jill’s memoir, She Wants It: Desire, Power and Toppling the Patriarchy. They’ll be joined by mom and author, Elaine Soloway. That’s why Hannah Gadsby is here, too. Pigeon Pagonis will also join the panel which  promises to be an exhilarating behind-the-scenes look at a cultural and personal revolution. All details below. Jill was on CBS This Morning earlier today and will be on The View this Thursday.

Cameron Esposito, Brian Babylon and Boots Riley return to their hometown where they’ll be joined by Hannibal Buress and other “radical creators.”

Jamie Campbell and Steven Lyons return to their comedy hometown on Sunday.

At Zanies: Eddie Brill (Chicago and St. Charles), Steven Haas and Becky Robinson (Chicago), Dr. Bill Miller (Chicago), Bobby Slayton (Chicago and Rosemont), Moses Storm (Chicago and Rosemont)

At Riddles: Damon Williams, Marcus Combs, Gary G Thang Johnson.

At The Improv: Adam Ferrara.

In the news:

Dave Maher took the Dave Maher Coma Show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The show was a success and he was featured in The Guardian. His life experience gives his comedy a perspective you won’t hear anywhere else. Sign up for his newsletter here. His podcast is here.

The November issue of Chicago magazine reveals Zanies’ five craziest moments in an interview with Executive VP Bert Haas.

Ticket Alerts:

On Wednesday, October 24, Hannibal Buress headlines a fundraiser at Zanies/Rosemont for the much anticipated film Laugh Till You’re Winded by Michael Alexander. The documentary reveals the rise, fall and then megaton rise of Chicago stand-up. The evening includes performances by Dwayne Kennedy and Erica Nicole Clark. Get tickets here while you still can.

Eddie Brill, the comedy talent coordinator and warm-up for the Late Show with David Letterman, will be at Zanies this week and next, and he’s offering a rare opportunity. On Saturday, October 27, he’ll give a comedy workshop with individual coaching. Enrollment is limited. Register here.

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



Comedy Night at Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark, 7:00 p.m. T. Murph hosts an evening of stand-up starring Michael Issac and featuring Russ Williamson and Just Nesh. With surprise guests.


Louder Than a Mom at Martyrs, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave., 8:00 p.m. Tonight’s topic: “Devil is in the details.” With storytellers: Kirsten Lambert, Marya Morris, Annie Watson-Johnson, Stephanie Medlock, Victoria Reeves, R.C. Riley, Martie Sanders, Joy Wright.

Dynasty at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. A weekly variety show starring Dynasty, an all-minority improv group. Includes an improv jam where audience members can participate. Tonight also features Simon Tran and Generally Available.

Ladylike at Café Mustache, 2313 N. Milwaukee, 8:00 p.m. Women get to tell their most disgusting stories. Tonight: Drew Loryn Soffer, Emma Grace, Madeline Claire Horwath, Whitney Chitwood, Melody Kamali. Burlesque from Titty Perkins. Hosted by Carly Ballerini.



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. Chris Trani hosts Prateek Srivastava, Matt Riggs, Mickey Housley

9:00 p.m. Pat Chase hosts Rachel Fab Monroe, Lainie Lenertz, Correy Boyd Bell


107th Mainstage Revue at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. The new just-premiered Mainstage Revue! Tickets sell fast. Advance purchase recommended.



Radical Creators at Edlis Neeson Theater/Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., 7:00 p.m. Boots Riley, Cameron Esposito, Brian Babylon, Hannibal Buress, Fawzia Mirza! A presentation of Chicago Ideas Week.

The Big Lebowski 20th Anniversary Screening at The Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, 7:00 p.m. Book event and screening. Author Adam Nayman will be there for a discussion about The Big Lebowski and his new book The Coen Brothers: This Book Really Ties the Films Together.

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. Comedians fly in from around the country to record their albums here. Tonight Jonah Jurkens hosts Em Brown, Erica Nicole Clark, Marty DeRosa, Shannon Noll, Samuel Priest, Mike Sheehan.



Fear(less) at VenueSIX10, 610 S. Michigan Ave., 12:00 p.m. Brian Babylon and Chris Gethard are two of the panelists talking about tackling and overcoming those jagged obstacles we throw in front of ourselves. A presentation of Chicago Ideas Week.

Jill Soloway at Chicago Waldorf School Auditorium, 5200 N. Ashland Ave., 7:00 p.m. Some of the most innovative, funniest, smartest minds in comedy are here tonight. Jill Soloway is joined by sister Faith, mom Elaine, Hannah Gadsby and Pigeon Pagonis. This will be a discussion between the panelists and the audience and a celebration of Jill’s new book, She Wants it: Desire, Power and Toppling the Patriarchy.

Girl, Let Me Tell You at Joe’s Bar, 940 W. Weed St.,7:30 p.m. “Chicago’s funniest women stand up to breast cancer” with Patti Vasquez and Jeanie Doogan. Proceeds benefit the Kedzie Center.

Gorilla: A live comedy album recording by Xavier Lamont at Two Brothers Roundhouse, 205 North Broadway, Aurora, 8:00 p.m. Xavier Lamont records his debut album at the “Still Not Friday” showcase. Xavier Lamont has opened for Tim Meadows, Bobby Lee, Dwayne Kennedy, and more. He appeared in the film Killing Poe and on Comedy Central’s Roast Battle.


Enjoy Your Pumpkin Spice Everything at Anderson’s Bookshop, 26 South La Grange Rd., La Grange, 8:00 p.m. This free show by the Mother Cluckers will be followed by an after party at Barrel House Social. More about the Mother Cluckers here.

Busy Philipps at Pfeiffer Hall/North Central College, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville, 7:00 p.m. The Oak Park native is here to discuss her new book This Will Only Hurt A Little. Her comedy roles include Freaks & Geeks, Cougar Town, Drunk History and HBO’s Vice Principals. Sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshops.

Neil deGrasse Tyson at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St. 7:30 p.m. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “For so many people, learning is a chore, but laughing is not. If we can combine learning with laughing, you can teach anybody, anything.”

Parlour Car at Sportsman’s Club, 948 N. Western, 8:30 p.m. “The best stand-up showcase in Chicago” according to Chicago Magazine. This free show is back for a limited time only-just through October 25.



Gad Elmaleh at The Vic, 3145 N Sheffield, 7:30 p.m. Comedian and actor Gad Elmaleh grew up in Morocco and later became one of France’s biggest stars. France’s Ministry of Culture awarded him the “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres” in 2006 and he was also voted “The Funniest Person in France.” He speaks Arabic, French, Hebrew and English.


Las Locas Comedy at The Revival, 1160 E 55th St., 10:00 p.m. Tonight: South Side Show Part Dos. Hosted by Las Locas Comedy founder Janice V. Rodriguez. Featuring Tribble Tribble (P Power Radio), Estephany Guzman (Fuse), Melissa DuPrey (SEXomedy), Jesnaira Baez (Laugh Factory) and Kimberly Marion (Comedy Shrine).


Soul So Sweet Saturday R&B/Comedy Jam at Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., 7:00 p.m. Starring Carl Thomas. Featuring Correy Bell, Mike Samp and B. Cole. A Sweetest Day celebration.

You’re Being Ridiculous: Spooky! at The Writers Theater, 325 Tudor Court, Glenview, 8:00 p.m. One of Chicago’s greatest storytelling series. Hilarious and powerful. The first time I went to YBR, it was in Chicago. Thirty minutes before the show started, there was a drive-by shooting a few doors down. Getting to the venue meant navigating a police detour, but the audience was determined to get there and there was  not an open seat in the house. Tonight: Margaret Benson, Amy Danzer, Jennie Ellman, Elizabeth Gomez, Allison Hendrix, Archy Jamjun, Taylor Flory Ogletree and YBR creator and producer Jeremy Owens.



Boomer Babes at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 7:00 p.m. The Boomer Babes are part of the line-up at the Chicago Cabaret Professionals 2018 Gala! I always recommend every opportunity to see them and the rest of the evening sounds fun, too, including awards to some of Chicago’s beloved performers and a silent auction.


Mickey Housley: Growing Up Funny at Joe’s Bar, 940 W. Weed St., 7:30 p.m. Special guest: Vic Pandya. Mickey Housley is a stand-up comedian and author of Chronicles of a Stand-up Guy: A Peek into the Daily Grind of a Comedian, just published last May.


The Three Stooges! The Live Vegas Show! at the Arcada Theater, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles, 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Favorite Stooges routines reenacted, pie fights and audience participation. Classic Stooges transported to 2018. Plus, Curley’s real life grandson will be in house for a Q&A.

A Nightmare on Wells Street at Second City’s Blackout Cabaret, 230 W. North Ave., 6:00 p.m. A “boo-tiful” comedy experience and Halloween celebration featuring Kristen Aviles, Lilly Bolduc, Sarah Cait Hall, Rebecca McNamee Croft and Karla Serrato.

She the People at Second City’s UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave., 7:00 p.m. The women of Second City present the “Sisters’ guide to doing it for themselves.” Thursday-Sunday.

Lyons & Campbell Return to Chicago at Laugh Out Loud Theater, 3851 N. Lincoln Ave., 8:00 p.m. Jamie Campbell and Steven Lyons met doing comedy in Chicago. They created Talk Hard, which was named “Best Sketch/Improv Troupe” by the Chicago Reader. Steven is now back in the U.S. from New Zealand for a limited time, so catch them now before he’s back on the other side of the world.

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