Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, October 22-Sunday, October 28, 2018

Visitors in town: Ahmed Ahmed, Michael Rice, Aretha Sills. Weather Girl disco sensation Martha Wash is in Chicago to take on a comedic role!

The Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! 20th Anniversary Show is here with Paula Poundstone, Negin Farsad, Roy Blount Jr., Alonzo Bodden, Bobcat Goldthwait, Tomcat Bodett, Chicagoans Brian Babylon, Peter Sagal, Bill Kurtis and more TBA.

At Riddles: Damon Williams Comedy Jam with Tony Tone.

At The Improv: Bill Bellamy.

At Zanies: Hannibal Buress (Rosemont), Eddie Brill (Chicago), Erik Griffin (Chicago and Rosemont), Vince Carone (Rosemont), Jeff Arcuri (St. Charles).

Were you planning on seeing Aparna Nancherla at Thalia Hall on Friday? The show is canceled, but she has a message on her site to fans: ” … due to a very unexpected and exciting career opportunity that I am not allowed to share yet but will as soon as I able to, I have had to cancel all of my summer and fall tour dates, until further notice But I know many of you already bought tickets and I am so disappointed to not get to see you sooner rather than later. I apologize for any inconvenience I have caused and I am continually grateful and bolstered by your warm and generous support, enthusiasm, and messages.”

Ticket alerts:

November 12: Cameron Esposito, Reese Witherspoon and Luvvie Ajayi are some of the performers at Hello Sunshine at the Auditorium Theater.

December 19-20: Amy Schumer at the Chicago Theatre.

April 27, 2019: Trevor Noah at the United Center.

In the news: Last night, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a Northwestern and Second City alum, accepted the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center. Many other Chicago comedians were present. Her husband Brad Hall was there (they met at Northwestern). Stephen Colbert gave the opening remarks. Kumail Nanjiani, who guest starred on Veep, gave a talk endorsing Julia Louis-Dreyfus for president in 2020. Keegan-Michael Key appeared. Abbi Jacobson also spoke. She is not a Chicagoan, but will be here for a talk at the Chicago Humanities Festival on November 1.

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


FreakFest: Fright Freast at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 7:00 p.m. Spooky performances from Megan S talter, Richie Owens, Steve Gerard, Nicky Martin, Lydia House, Dan Sheehan and Melanie Menendez.

Studio B Launch Party at The Joinery, 2533 W Homer St., 5:00 p.m.30 Rock meets Spinal Tap” in this new web series launching tonight! In each episode, a different musical act records while the studio staff does their best to make the group a success and keep themselves solvent. Studio B is directed by Second City veteran and Jeff Award-winner Billy Bungeroth and its cast are some of Chicago’s most renowned inprovisers. Starring TJ Jagodowki as STUDIO B producer Peter “Push” Watts, Asia Martin as engineer Angela Cage, and Tien Tran, Jeff Murdoch and Max Thomas. With special guest appearances by hip hop artist Marcel “Green Weedz” Wilks, stand-up Odinaka Ezeokoli (Netflix’s Easy), members of the Second City’s Mainstage cast and the creator of Full Spectrum Features’ web series “The T,” Daniel Kyri.

Tonight you are invited to meet the creators and join them as they officially launch this “comedy with genuinely great music.”



Ahmed Ahmed at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. A fundraiser for the Alliance of the Great Lakes. Ahmed Ahmed is a comedian, actor, producer and director. You’ve seen him on Sullivan & Son, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan and Tracy Takes On. He directed the award-winning comedy tour documentary, Just Like Us.

Jackpot Comedy at Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. Stand-up by Joe Kilgallon, Ed Towns, David Philips and more TBA, plus audience members have the chance to walk away with all kinds of swag.

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 Mona Aburmishan, Manny Acosta, Abi Sanchez

9:00 p.m. Correy Boyd Bell, Prateek Srivastava, Michael Rice, Joe Kilgallon



Hannibal Buress at Zanies, Parkway Bank Park, 5437 Park Place, Rosemont, 8:00 p.m. Hannibal Buress headlines a fundraiser to support the completion of Michael Alexander’s Laugh Till You’re Winded, the first film to focus on the Chicago stand-up scene. Azhar Usman and Erica Nicole Clark will also be performing. Michael was kind enough to speak with me here.



Waistwatchers: The Musical at Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. It’s about friends and day-to-day struggles for self-acceptance framed by music and comedy. Wednesdays-Sundays through the end of the year. NOTE: Disco queen Martha Wash of the Weather Girls (“It’s Raining Men,” “Everybody Dance Now”) is one of the stars, but only through October 28! Follow link for all show times.

Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! Twentieth Anniversary Celebration at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 7:30 p.m. Promises to be the biggest Wait Wait yet! Host Peter Sagal and scorekeeper Bill Kurtis host the panel of panels: Brian Babylon, Paula Poundstone, Negin Farsad, Roy Blount Jr., Alonzo Bodden, Bobcat Goldthwait, Tomcat Bodett and more, plus surprise celebrity guests.

The Comedy Nosh at Max and Benny’s Restaurant, 461 Waukegan Rd., Northbrook, 7:00 p.m. Dinner and comedy hosted by Ricky March. Featuring Jack Baker and Sarah Manning. Headliner: Nate Weatherup.

Stand Up Stand Up presents Chris Higgins at Little Olive Lounge, 1540 N. Milwaukee, 9:00 p.m. Chris Higgins (Lincoln Lodge, Second City). Featuring Felonious Munk (Comedy Central, The Second City), Michael Rice (In town from Dublin, Zanies, iO, Riff Raff Comedy), Ed Towns (National touring comedian, Stand Up Stand Up), Todd Massey (SUSU founder) and special guests. Hosted by Jake McKenzie. Music from DJ Bergadelic.



Bench Moms at Second City’s Blackout Cabaret, 1608 N. Wells, 7:00 p.m. Sketch and video in the Halloween spirit presented by two devoted dog moms, Megan Hansen and Taylor Lumpkin. “Recommended for dog people, but cat people can come, people people, and lizard people are also welcome.”

Drinkers with Writing Problems at The Kedzie Inn, 4100 N. Kedzie, 7:30 p.m. All genres of storytelling, including comedy. Hosted by Anita Mechler. Featuring Elizabeth Gomez, Kim Nelson and J.H. Palmer. Tonight’s theme is spooky stories.

Lincoln Lodge at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 8:00 p.m. The longest running independent showcase in the country and launching pad for lots of famous alums including Hannibal Buress, Cameron Esposito, Kumail Nanjiani and Pete Holmes. Tonight’s headliner: Joey Villagomez.

Dreamboat at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. Featuring iO performers who are also members of the  a LGBTQIA+ community.



Comedy workshop with Eddie Brill at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 10:30 a.m. Eddie Brill, the comedy talent coordinator and warm-up for the Late Show with David Letterman, is performing at Zanies this week and offering this rare opportunity. Today’s workshop includes individual coaching. Enrollment is limited. Follow link to register.

Viola Spolin Workshop Weekend Intensive at Foxhole Creative, 2444 W Montrose Ave., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Taught by improv master Aretha Sills, granddaughter of Viola Spolin. The focus is on Viola Spolin’s acting, directing and teaching methods which her son Paul Sills (Aretha’s father) would use to create Second City. This workshop is now full, but follow the link to get on the waitlist.

Lincoln Lodge at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 8:00 p.m. The longest running independent showcase in the country and launching pad for lots of famous alums including Hannibal Buress, Cameron Esposito, Kumail Nanjini and Pete Holmes. Tonight’s headliner: Cameron Gillette.

ICE (Immigrant Comedy Experience) at Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted, 10:30 p.m. Featuring comedians with a connection to the immigrant experience. They are immigrants themselves, grew up in an immigrant household, or advocate for immigrant rights

Therapy Players Fifth Anniversary Show at Open Door Theater, 902 South Ridgeland, Oak Park, 8:00 p.m. Chicago’s award-winning all-psychotherapist improv group. “Their revue ‘Phobia Shmobia’ won a standing ovation at the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, and they brought down the house at the International Society for the Study of Self Injury, where they performed at the happy hour.” True laugh therapy. Tickets typically sell out. Advance purchase is recommended.



The Second City’s 107th Mainstage Revue at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 7:00 p.m. The new Mainstage revue. Just premiered earlier this month. Tuesdays-Sundays. Tickets sell out fast, especially on the weekend. “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!”

Everyone’s A Lawyer at Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 7:00 p.m.  Chicago’s hit comedy game show created by comedian and attorney Paul Farahvar. Paul has been named one of the “Top 40 Up and Coming Comedians in America in 2017” and one of “Top 40 under 40” lawyers in Chicago, so you can expect a great night of comedy and legal drama as comedians take the stage to present the funniest arguments in real life cases. Paul hosts with comedians TBA.

Go Hard Comedy: A Culture Variety Show at Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 9:00 p.m. Hosted by Vincent Bryant. Featuring Sonal Aggarwal, Ty Riggs, Adrienne Brandyburg, Taneshia Rice, Vincent Bryant, Aaron Branch and more comedians TBA.


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