Chicago Comedy Spotlight for New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2018

Comedy is necessary every day, but New Year’s Eve is when we need comedy at the utmost. On New Year’s Eve, we’re supposed to reflect on the past year and brace ourselves  — I mean, make resolutions – for next year. That’s a lot to ask of one night! You know what’s more therapeutic and fun? Go see some masters of comedy and have a lot of laughs. That’s the best way to prepare for anything, including 2019. Here’s a list of New Year’s Eve comedy in Chicago.

Want comedy on New Year’s Day? Second City, iO,  The Laugh Factory and the United Nations Comedy Pop Up Comedy Show be open for funny business on January 1.

Please confirm all details before leaving home!


Jeff Dunham at The Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Rd., Rosemont, 3:00 p.m. Jeff Dunham is a ventriloquist, comedian and author who is here with friends Walter, Peanut and Achmed. Rumor has it that Bob, a Trump advisor, will be joining the crew on stage.

Michael Palascak at Zanies, Parkway Bank Park, 5437 Park Place, Rosemont, 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Michael Palascak is warm, hilarious and profound. He finds every funny facet of any topic he addresses whether it’s parking on the sidewalk or marriage equality. His recent material about religion was so disarmingly brilliant that it left me breathless. It’s on his album That One Thing and you can see it on his recent appearance  on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Tonight is all new material. He’s a new dad, so expect some very original insights there. He has appeared on just about every late night television comedy show and was a top five finalist on Last Comic Standing.


Pat McGann at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Pat McGann created and hosted one of the best television shows of all time, the Emmy-nominated Chicago Stand-Up Project. David Letterman twice invited him on The Late Show and he also recently appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He is known for his quick, sometimes sarcastic and always hilarious wit and is one of Zanies’ favorites. These days, when he’s not at his home club, he’s opening around the country for Sebastian Maniscalco and will appear with him at Madison Square Garden in January.


Landry at Zanies, Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Landry is the winner of both the Boston Comedy Festival and the World Series of Comedy. He says “none of that matters so long as his mom thinks he’s funny.” He is originally from Canada and is a nationally touring headliner. Landry’s observations and stories are about everything from fish and chips to racism, and are always spot-on and guarantee laughter and a great time.


Pat Tomasulo and Friends at Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W 111th St., 8:00 p.m. Pat Tomasulo is a WGN news anchor, stand-up comedian, and creator and host of Man of the People which this year redefined late night television comedy and gave it a unique and hilarious Chicago spin. He is also on  a mission to end the debilitating pain condition trigeminal neuralgia. That’s not part of tonight’s show, but it is another reason I’m a fan. Tickets for the April Laugh Your Face Off fundraiser that he and wife Amy host will go on sale in February. Pat was kind enough to speak with me here.

Patti Vasquez at The Kenosha Comedy Club, 5125 6th Ave., Kenosha, 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. WGN’s Patti Vasquez headlines a special New Year’s Eve show with three comedians and music by the Chevelles. I once laughed so hard at a Patti Vasquez show that I couldn’t breathe and wondered if I would have to call an ambulance. Tonight also stars three more greats: Dobie Maxwell, Hari Rao and Steve DeClark.

DeRay Davis Annual Funny & Famous Chi Town Comedy Countdown at Arie Crown Theater, Lakeside Center/McCormick Place, 2301 South Lake Shore Drive. 8:00 p.m. DeRay Davis brings a stellar line-up every time. Tonight: Lil Duval, Michael Blackson, Gary Owen, Jess Hilarious (co-star of Fox television hit Rel), DC Young Fly. December 29-31.


Gilbert Gottfried at The Comedy Shrine, 4034 Fox Valley Center Dr., Aurora, 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. One of the most unique comedians anywhere, Gilbert Gottfried is an actor, author and voice artist who has given life to Aladdin‘s Iago, T.M.N.T.’s Kraang Subprime, and of course, the AFLAC duck. If you want to know more about him, take a look at his Wife Swap episode in 2013 when he switched places with Alan Thicke. I was moved by the difference between his on- and off-stage personas and just liked him even more. The New York Times wrote about it here.

Christopher Titus at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. “Be normal and the crowd will accept you, be deranged and they will make you their leader.” (From his special, Norman Rockwell is Bleeding.) The Amerigeddon Tour. The early show is a dinner show. The late show includes champagne.

New Year’s Comedy Bash at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. An all-headliners evening.

8:00 p.m. Jonah Jurkens, Russ Williamson, Dale McPeek, Sammy Arechar, Kellye Howard, Special Guest, and more TBA.

10:30 p.m. Paul Farahvar, Sarah Perry, Clark Jones, Abi Sanchez, Marty DeRosa, Joe McMahon, Special Guest, and more TBA.

18th Annual Steve Cochran New Years St(EVE) at Tivoli Theater, 5021 Highland Ave, Downers Grove, 7:00 p.m. “The show for people who can’t stay up until midnight.” WGN radio morning host Steve Cochran hosts Dean Richards (National critic/WGN critic), Rocky LaPorte (Late Show, Tonight Show, Last Comic Standing), John Da Cosse (WGN radio morning show musical director and voice of the Coach and many other characters, National touring and stand-up headliner), Tim Benker (Tonight’s announcer, stand-up comedian, performer of his one man show Idiot’s Guide to Fixing Stoopid.)

New Year’s Eve Celebration at Gallery Cabaret, 2020 N. Oakley, 7:00 p.m. Evening begins with a comedy open mic, then a New Year’s party and the music of Impossible. Free admission.

Brian Regan at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, 8:00 p.m. Brian Regan originally planned to become an accountant until his college football coach encouraged him to try theater. He ended up dropping out of college his last semester to pursue stand-up and it turned out to be the exact right decision. He finished his degree seventeen years later, but in the meantime, he became a nationally touring, late night appearing headliner.



Second City’s NYE Celebration Featuring Gaslight District, 1616 N. Wells, 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. The Second City e.t.c.’s 42nd revue. Second City aims its hilarious lens at the folly and foibles of our modern world. Dinner and special NYE packages available.

The Second City’s NYE Celebration Featuring Algorithm Nation or The Static Quo, 1616 N. Wells, 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. This new 107th Mainstage revue is about “hyper-violence, astrological love connections, being woke, pyramid schemes, Facebook soldiers, Black Twitter, morning TV and a whole lot more.” Dinner and special NYE packages available.

The Second City’s NYE Celebration Featuring The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Sweater at UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave., 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. A show that roasts and toasts our Chicago winter. Dinner and special NYE packages available.

Hitch*Cocktails: New Year’s Eve at Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave., 10:00 p.m. Improvised thriller in the style of Alfred Hitchcock and some drinking games. Doors open at 8:00. The Annoyance lounge is a great place to hang out before the show begins. Ticket includes appetizer, dessert buffet and champagne toast.

New Year’s Eve: An Improvised Musical at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m.Veteran improvisers Stacey Smith and Matt Castellvi interview the audience about their favorite NYE moments to create an entirely improvised musical complete with all the drama, heartbreak, success and failure of a good New Years Eve!” Followed by interactive games.

Your F#$&KED Up Relationship: NYE Edition at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m.

Comedy Dance Chicago presents The Interactive New Year’s Eve at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:30 p.m. Comedy and stories come alive with sketch, improv, physical comedy, and dance.

New Year’s Eve Interactive Celebration with Virgin Daiquiri & Guests at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:30 p.m.

New Year’s Eve Celebration at ComedySportz, 929 W. Belmont, 5:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m. “Put on your fanciest and join us for a hilarious 90 min. show, fabulous party favors, and festive beverages, all culminating in a sparkling toast and countdown to midnight in London at the 5pm show, Reykjavik at the 7pm show, and Chicago at the 10 pm show! The perfect venue for all ages on Monday, December 31, 2018!”

New Year’s Eve at Laugh Out Loud Theater, 3851 N. Lincoln Ave., 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

8:00 p.m. Best of Laugh Out Loud 2018 features with Part Dog, Big Shoulders and It’s That Reality Show Show.

10:30 p.m. The SingEasy.

New Year’s Eve at Laugh Out Loud Theater, 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Drinks, party favors, a raffle, and comedy show.

7:30 p.m. All ages.

10:00 p.m. Party.

New Year’s Eve Celebration at The Comedy Shrine, 4034 Fox Valley Center Dr., Aurora, 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Two family-friendly improv shows.

Whose Line? at The Comedy Shrine, 4034 Fox Valley Center Dr., Aurora, 8:00 p.m. The show’s special New Year’s Eve edition.

New Year’s Eve Celebration: Naughty Show at The Comedy Shrine, 4034 Fox Valley Center Dr., Aurora, 10:00 p.m. Improv and music with a lot of input from the audience. Includes champagne toast at midnight.

New Year’s Eve Cornstravaganza 2019 at The Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln Ave., 8:00 p.m. Drinks, buffet, champagne toast and the Cornservatory’s patented sketch comedy.

Stay up to date with Comedians Defying Gravity by typing your email address in the box and clicking the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam, spam, spam, spam free, and you can opt out at any time.


Leave a Reply