Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, November 5-Sunday, November 11, 2018

Visitors in town: Bill Burr, Ian Edwards, Wayne Federman and a big name yet to be announced by Lincoln Lodge (see below).

At Zanies: The premiere of Laugh Till You’re Winded (Chicago), Emo Philips (Chicago and Rosemont), Jubal Flagg (Chicago and Rosemont), Tim Cavanaugh (Chicago), Dr. Bill Miller (Rosemont), and Bill Gorgo’s stand-up class begins in Rosemont.

At Riddles: Damon Williams Comedy Jam with Don DC Curry.

At The Improv: Nikki Glaser, Joey Villagomez.

In the news: Two Chicagoans are Stand-Up NBC finalists: Sohrab Forouzesh and Calvin Evans. Stand-Up NBC is a nationwide search for the country’s most talented diverse voices. Finalists are invited to Los Angeles to perform and meet with industry executives.

Steppenwolf Theater announced its 2018-2019 Lookout Series and it’s got a spotlight on Chicago comedy. See the full schedule here, including Sonal Aggarwal, Erik Hellman and Jessie Fisher, Nester Gomez, Gina DeLuca, Las Locas Comedy, Trios (TJ Jagodowski, Billy Bungeroth, Emma Pope), and You’re Being Ridiculous.

Family Feud will hold auditions in Chicago on November 17-18. Survey says details here.

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



Laugh Till You’re Winded EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. A landmark event for Chicago comedy. Some of the biggest names in stand-up appear in this first-ever film all about the city’s stand-up scene. What makes Chicago comedy so powerful? Find out tonight. Produced and directed by Michael Alexander who was kind enough to tell me some behind-the-scenes details here.


Triple Headliner Event at Lincoln Lodge, Under the Gun Theatre, 956 W. Newport, 10:00 p.m. Lincoln Lodge Presents Ian Edwards (Keenen Ivory Wayans Show, Conan, @Midnight), Wayne Federman (Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, Crashing, Transparent, Curb Your Enthusiasm, head monologue writer for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon) and a surprise guest who “is a VERY well-known comedian, writer and producer who we guarantee you are VERY familiar with!” Follow Lincoln Lodge on social media beginning at 5:30 p.m. to find out who. You may want to get tickets in advance. (UPDATE: Mystery guest is Judd Apatow!)



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 Jemal Guichon, Ben Noble, Abi Sanchez.

9:00 p.m. Mickey Housley hosts Joe Fernandez, Chris Higgins, Jeanie Doogan.

Peter Sagal at The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln, 7:00 p.m. The host of NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! shares stories and unexpected lessons from his new book, The Incomplete Book of Running.

Just Kitten Around: A Comedy Fundraiser at The Catcade, 1235 W. Belmont Ave., 7:00 p.m. The Catcade is a rescue, café and arcade. Tonight’s line-up: Richie Owens, Ashley Leisten, David Freeburg and more TBA. Hosted by: Alex Collyard and Elsie How. Hang out with cats at 7:00. Show at 7:30.

After Dark at The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., 7:00 p.m. By now it’s usually “wait list only.” Give the wait list a try, but  sign up for this new monthly hit comedy series as far in advance as you can. It always sells out early. Tonight: Creator and producer Richard Laible, Amy Sumpter, Jim Flannigan and Greg Schwem.

Tuesday Ten Showcase at Zanies, 5437 Park Place, Rosemont, 8:00 p.m. Ten of Chicago’s rising stars. Denise Medina is part of tonight’s line-up!

Election Returns: Return of the Election Show at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 9:00 p.m. Theater Oobleck presents an evening of celebrating and/or coping with election results. Live coverage.

Chicago Underground Comedy at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. One of Chicago’s longest running, best known showcases. Alums include Cameron Esposito, Beth Stelling, Kumail Nanjiani and Kyle Kinane. Tonight Chad Weaver hosts Lael O’Shaughnessy, Lauren Walker, Toler Wolfe, Alex Kumin, J. Tyler Menz, Chrissi Rose and Bruse Kesselring making their CHUC debut.



Psychotic Break at Schubas-Upstairs, 3159 N Southport Ave., 8:00 p.m. Chicago’s mental illness and addiction themed variety show. Featuring comedy from Adam Kwaselow, funny songs from Tyler Snodgrass and Jasmine Devila. Hosted by Jenn Sodini and Dan Shapiro. Free show.

Marty DeRosa Album Recording at Comedians You Should Know/Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., 7:00 and 9:30 p.m. One of Chicago’s favorite stand-ups, Marty DeRosa is also known for his podcasts Wrestling with Depression and Marty & Sarah Love Wrestling. He has also appeared on WGN morning news and Pat Tomasulo’s late night show, Man of the People.



Emo Philips at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. Zach Freeman in the Chicago Tribune described him perfectly as a cross between Mr. Rogers and the Addams Family. A comedy fan’s life isn’t complete until you’ve seen Emo in person. Tonight and tomorrow night at Zanies downtown and at Zanies in Rosemont on Saturday.


Bill Burr at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. The only angry man who is a pleasure to be around. He announced this tour last spring and had to add more and more shows to Chicago as each one immediately sold out. He’s here through Saturday. Still a few seats available. can also be a good option for finding scarce tickets at the last minute.



Chicago Comedy Film Festival at Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash Ave. Through Sunday, November 11. Once in a lifetime opportunity to see many of these films. Follow link for schedule of films and events.


Emo Philips at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. “So I’m at the wailing wall, standing there like a moron, with my harpoon.” At Zanies/Rosemont on Saturday.

Bill Burr at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 8:00 p.m.  “Eating a donut is easiest way to tell the world you don’t give a fuck.”

The Kates at The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln, 7:00 p.m. Chicago’s all-women stand-up showcase created and produced by the awesome Kelsie Huff (Windy City Live, The Jam). Always a memorable and hilarious evening with diverse and gifted comedians. Arrive early for seats-they go fast! Tonight’s line-up: Ariana Freeman, Sarah Liken, Holly Gabriel, Mary Lorenz, and Jenny Epstein. Hosted By Alexandra Tsarpalas.

Post-Election Cure-All Show at Shakers on Clark, 3160 N. Clark, 8:00 p.m. With Steven J Springer, Andrew Burcastro, Lindsey Shaw, Stephanie Lee Burgeous, Robert Rule, Peter Daniels, and Jeff Hawks. Hosted by Thomas Bottoms and Phil Burns.

Handicap This at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., 8:00 p.m. This show began in Chicago, became a hit, traveled the globe and now it’s back home for its farewell performance.



Chicago Comedy Film Festival at Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash Ave. Through Sunday, November 11. Once in a lifetime opportunity to see many of these films. Follow link for schedule of films and events.

Emo Philips at Zanies, 5437 Park Place, Rosemont, 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. “A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.”

Bill Burr at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 8:00 p.m.  Season 3 of F is for Family premiers on November 30 on Netflix.


Spanxxgiving at Second City’s de Maat Theater, 230 W. North Ave., 10:00 p.m. SPANXX is all women improv “built on the principles of joy, self-love, and female empowerment.” New seasonal theme each week along with apple cider and cookies so everyone will truly feel at home. Featuring: Lucy Brooks, Hannah Fitz, Zoe McKee, Lili McLaughlin, and new performers every week.



Chicago Comedy Film Festival at Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash Ave. Last day! Once in a lifetime opportunity to see many of these films. Follow link for schedule of films and events.

Ray & Kannan Present A Free Tote Bag at Second City’s Blackout Cabaret, 230 W. North Ave., 6:00 p.m. Sketch, improv and solo comedy about friendship, heritage, and food. Written by and starring Ray Hui and Kannan Arumugam. “Ray and Kannan purport that their revue has too many laughs for one sitting, so every audience member will receive a complimentary Ray & Kannan™ tote bag to take home the extras.” Through November 25.

Thank You For Your Laughter at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 7:00 p.m. and Sets for Vets at 9:00 p.m. Comedy by military veterans for everyone. Proceeds benefit veterans in need.

Ben Hollis: Sex, Booze and Candy Bars: A Wild Man’s Musical Memoir at Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 7:00 p.m. Why do we love behind-the-scenes stories about celebrity lives? Well, their secrets are intriguing and often their lives are a lot like ours and it’s possible to connect through both the hardships and the joys. But how often are celebrities really that honest? Here’s one who is- Ben Hollis is 100% authentic, inspiring, and nothing is sugar-coated in this show about his life, his rocky adolescence, his early missteps, his Emmy Award-winning TV show Wild Chicago, his marriages – the wrong one and then the beautiful one – and his recent brain surgery. He’s been through a lot and isn’t hiding any of it. This is a chance to truly meet this beloved Chicago television personality. Through December 2.


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