Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, November 12-Sunday, November 18, 2018

Visitors in town: Tenacious D, MST3K, Myq Kaplan, and the women of Hello Sunshine: Cameron Esposito, Reese Witherspoon, Sophia Bush, Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach, Luvvie Ajayi, Priya Parker, and MILCK.

Gary Gulman is here!!!

At Riddles: Jay Deep hosts Alex Olinger, Em Brown and Mohammed at the Damon Williams Comedy Jam.

At Zanies: Bill Miller (Chicago), Vince Carone (Chicago), Shane Torres (Chicago), Corinne Fisher & Krystyna Hutchinson of Guys We F*cked (Chicago and Rosemont), Nate Weatherup (Rosemont), John DaCosse (St. Charles).

At The Improv: Jason Mewes, Mo’Nique and Bill Bunker.

Ticket Alerts:

November 21: Comedians You Should Know  celebrates its tenth anniversary with Blake Burkhart, Chris Condren, Marty DeRosa, Allison Dunne, Ricky Gonzalez, Kellye Howard, Jonah Jurkens, Joe Kilgallon, Mike Lebovitz, Marilee, Chris Redd, Mike Sheehan, Jeff Steinbrunner, Kristen Toomey, Nick Vatterott and more TBA. Tickets and more details here.

November 23: Funny Ladies with Pam Peterson, Jan Slavin, Judy Rossignuolo-Rice, Heather Currie, and the Queen of Chicago Cabaret, Denise Tomasello. Hosted by Daryl Nitz with musical director George Howe. Tickets and more details here.

Thanksgiving: If you need comedy during the holiday, Second City will be open for funny business.

Adam Burke, one of stand-up’s best, just released his new schedule of Chicago shows.

In the news: Congratulations to Leah Frires and Katherine Biskupic, a/k/a Pure & Weary, for being named Best Sketch Group at the Joshua Tree International Sketch Comedy Festival! They got their start in Chicago and now live in L.A.

Following is this week’s spotlight! Please confirm all details before leaving home! (Another reason I love Chicago comedy: you can start this week with “Hello Sunshine” or “The Haters Club.”)


Hello Sunshine x Together Live at Auditorium Theater, 50 Ida B. Wells Dr., 7:30 p.m. Cameron Esposito, Reese Witherspoon, Sophia Bush, Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach, Luvvie Ajayi, Priya Parker, and MILCK present an evening of ultra-honest comedy, storytelling and music.

Haters Club at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 8:00 p.m. A “comedy show with the sole intent of hating, roasting, wrecking-to-bits, and telling the G-d’s honest truth about all of the people, places & things that give us hell on the way to the grave.” Tonight’s theme: family. Hosted by Danny Catlow and Kate O’Connor. With Dave Maher, Trumane Alston, Geoff Dow, Erin Grotheer, Ian Owens, Derry Queen, Jo Scott.



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. Jonah Jurkens hosts Carly Ballerini, Vik Pandya, Erica Clark.

9:00 p.m. Correy Boyd Bell hosts Manny Acosta, Abi Sanchez, Joe Kilgallon.

Tenacious D at Riviera Theater, 4746 N. Racine, 7:30 p.m. The comedy rock duo of Jack Black and Kyle Gass.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Sweater at Second City’s UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. A Second City look at the holiday season. Follow link for show times throughout the week.

Chicago Underground Comedy at Beat Kitchen 2100 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. One of Chicago’s most legendary stand-up showcases. Meredith Kachel hosts Olivia Perry, Terence Hartnett, Maya May, Ricky Gonzalez, Ken Shultz, Meg and Paula, and Geoffrey Asmus. ChUC debut: Lucia Whalen.



Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Special event: Joe McMahon album recording. Joe McMahon won a prestigious honor this year when he was featured as a New Face of Comedy at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal.



The Kates at The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., Winnetka, 7:00 p.m. The awesome Kates! The Kates are Chicago’s all women stand-up showcase always featuring an evening of outstanding, diverse, unforgettable talent. Created and produced by Kelsie Huff (Windy City Live, The Jam). Tonight: Denise Medina, Jan Slavin, Lele Mason, Laura Hugg, and Soli Santos. Hosted by Amy Sumpter. Reserve your spot by calling The Book Stall at 847-446-8880, or emailing


Mother Cluckers at Anderson’s Bookshop, 26 S La Grange Rd., La Grange, 8:00 p.m. The “I’m Sorry Your Family Is Awful Pre-Holiday Spectacular.” Free comedy show followed by an after-party at Barrel House Special.

Comedy in the Cellar at 210 Restaurant, 210 Green Bay Rd., Highwood, 8:00 p.m. Chicago stand-up comes to Highwood with Jesse Rothenberg, Jhovany Diaz, Mike Stricker and headliner Whitney Wasson. Produced by Larry Bloom of Funnier By the Lake.



MST3K at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. The 30th Anniversary Spectacular. VIP packages available. Joel Hodgson (a/k/a Joel Robinson) the original host and creator, is back for the first time in twenty-five years!

FBTL Comedy Showcase at Small Town Brewery Taproom, 1000 N. Rand Rd., Wauconda, 8:00 p.m. Melissa Richelle, Eric Mitchell, Larry Bloom, Bobby Hayes, Denise Medina, and Winslow Dumaine. Hosted and produced by Larry Bloom and Bobby Hayes.

Comedy Killz at Shakers, 3160 N. Clark, 8:30 p.m. Stand-up with Steven Springer, Alydar Skyy, Kate Cullan, Anna Long, Emily Ogle, Skyler Higley and headliner Darrick J.



[LAST SHOW!] Happy Spanxxgiving at Second City’s de Maat Studio Theatre, 230 W. North Ave., 10 p.m. Starring Lucy Brooks, Hannah Fitz, Zoe McKee, Lili McLaughlin and new performers each week. An improv variety show “built on the principles of joy, self love, and female empowerment.”


Gary Gulman: Must Be Nice at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 8:00 p.m. What makes Gary Gulman one of the greatest comedians of all time? Melissa McEwan explained it in The Radical Comedy of Gary Gulman. (“In a time of institutional cruelty perpetrated by people who don’t care if we fucking die, jokes told with kindness about survival are radical as fuck.”) Go see him! His comedy makes the world better; that is, more manageable, more capable of understanding and friendlier than you may feel right now before you’ve been to his show. You know that saying, “the whole world is a narrow bridge” …? He helps me across it. His site is here.

One of thousands of fans who’ve tweeted thusly:


Myq Kaplan at The Red Line Tap, 7006 N. Glenwood Ave, 7:00 p.m. Myq Kaplan is here for the Little Bit of Rage Fundraiser with Chicago comedians Shannon Noll and Alex Kumin. “Not your average church comedy show.”

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. UPDATE: today’s show is canceled due to circumstances beyond control. Back next week and on 12/2!

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.

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