Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, August 5-Sunday, August 11, 2019

Visitors in town: Yvonne Orji, J. Keith van Straaten and Helen Hong (Go Fact Yourself), Jay Mandyam, Impractical Jokers. Returning to their hometown: Esther Ku and Jeremy Piven, plus some famous iO alums arrive to perform at the Bentwood Comedy Festival.

At Zanies: Alvin Williams (Chicago), Russ Williamson (Chicago), Steven Haas (Chicago), Top Ten Tuesday (Rosemont), John Roy (Rosemont), Vince Carone (St. Charles).

At Riddles: The Damon Williams Comedy Series with Em Brown.

At The Improv: Alonzo Bodden.

Chicago comedians in the news: Robin Thede’s A Black Lady Sketch Show debuted on HBO this past Friday, August 2, for a six episode run. The show also stars Quinta Brunson, Gabrielle Dennis, Ashley Nicole Black and is co-executive produced with Issa Rae.  A Black Lady Sketch Show has the  first all black women writers room (headwriter: Lauren Ashley Smith), the first female black sketch director (Dime Davis), and the first sketch series cast of all black women. Robin Thede is an alum of Northwestern University and Second City.


Chicago guests on Late Night:

Monday, August 5: Thomas Lennon on The Talk.

Monday, August 5: Sebastian Maniscalco on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Tuesday, August 6: Robin Thede on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Tuesday, August 6: Melissa McCarthy on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Thursday, August 8: Lil Rel Howery on The Tonight Show.

Thursday, August 8: Robin Thede on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Thursday, August 8: Pete Holmes on Lights Out with David Spade.

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



Funnier By the Lake: Serve Something Funny at Maggiano’s Little Italy, Vernon Hills, 6:00 p.m. Ricky March hosts Kat Rybarski, Katie Meiners and headliner Mike Hover. Seats are limited. Advance purchase recommended.

Thank God It’s Monday: Summer Series Part 3 at Live Stream, 9:00 p.m. Music and comedy live streamed from Logan Square. Attend in person or experience from home. Featuring Darius Kennedy, Tucker Millet and more TBA. Musical comedy from Jamie Shriner. Follow link for details.



I Love Lucy in theaters, 7:00 p.m. Happy birthday to Lucille Ball! In honor of what would have been her 108th birthday, you can experience five colorized episodes at a theater near you. Follow link for locations. On August 13, CBS Home Entertainment will release a collection of sixteen I Love Lucys in color, including those on screen on August 6. Chicago connection: Award-winning I Love Lucy writer Bob Weiskopf was a Chicagoan who went to L.A. in 1940 to become a comedy writer. In 1941 after Pearl Harbor, his wife Eileen Ito, whose father had immigrated to the U.S. from Japan, had to leave the West Coast to avoid the internment camps. She fled to Chicago to stay with her parents in the Hyde Park home where she grew up. Back in L.A., Bob Weiskopf moved in with his friend Jess Oppenheimer who thirteen years later would hire him to write for I Love Lucy. Bob and Eileen were reunited after several months when Bob got a job in New York writing for Fred Allen.

After Hours Comedy at The Book Stall, Winnetka, 7:00 p.m. Headliner: WGN’s John DaCosse. Featuring Rachel Hall. Produced and hosted by Richard Laible.




Bentwood Comedy Festival begins at iO. Schedule and all details here. Performances by TJ & Dave, Kate Flannery, Jordan Klepper with Tim Baltz, 3Peat, 50Women and more. Check out Zach Freeman’s article about Bentwood in the Chicago Tribune. Through August 11.

The Alchemy of Bliss at Greenhouse Theater Center, 9:00 p.m. A one-woman show by Sonal Aggarwal.


Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 9:30 p.m. Ed Towns hosts Mitchell Potts, Dave Losso, Reena Calm, Taneshia Rice, Michael Robinson and more TBA.



Freshman: A Show About Your Terrible Early Art at Transister Chicago, 7:00 p.m. “Diaries, letters, artwork, songs, it’s all fair game.” Tonight: Jason Melton, Spark Tabor, Clare Austen-Smith, Conor Cawley, Sandy Lee. Read more here and here. Free show.

House of Ha! at House of Za Vegan Pizzeria, 7:30 p.m. Ricky March, Adrienne Brandyburg and Adam Bowman. Produced and hosted by Laura Hugg. Free show. Donations appreciated.

Bentwood Comedy Festival at iO. Schedule and all details here. Through August 11.

Bobby V’s Tell All Fitness Training Comedy Show at Laugh Factory, 8:00 p.m. Bob Vani is a fitness trainer who has one-of-a-kind comedic stories to tell.

Chicago’s Best Stand-Up at Laugh Factory, 9:45 p.m. Fabulous lineup: Jay Mandyam, Felonious Munk, Pat Tomasulo, Sarah Perry, Correy Boyd-Bell and more TBA.



The Kates at The Book Cellar, 7:00 p.m.  Created and produced by Kelsie Huff (Windy City Live, The Jam). Chicago’s all-women stand-up group.  Always an unforgettable evening of Chicago’s top diverse and comedic voices. Laura Hugg hosts Le Aboav, Ellen Wesley, Soli Santos, Adrienne Gunn, Sonal Aggarwal and Brittany Meyer. Hosted by Laura Hugg.

Bentwood Comedy Festival at iO. Schedule and all details here. Through August 11.

Esther Ku at Laugh Factory, 8:00 p.m. Esther Ku was born in Rogers Park and grew up in River Grove. She was a Top 10 finalist on Last Comic Standing and has too many TV credits to list. She is an internationally touring headliner.

Go Fact Yourself at Sleeping Village, 9:00 p.m. J. Keith van Straaten and Helen Hong bring their podcast live to Chicago. With special guest Bill Kurtis and more TBA.

Chalo Haso Desi Comedy Show at Seven Bar and Restaurant, 8:00 p.m. “The only showcase for Desi’s, Run By Desi’s, and Performed By Desi’s.” Connor King hosts Sonal Aggarwal, Naz Nazim, Sohrab Forouzesh, Sabeen Sadiq, and headliner Vikram Balaji.

Jeremy Piven at The Vic, 7:30 p.m. Ari Gold in Entourage and Harry Selfridge in Mr. Selfridge. Jeremy Piven has a long Chicago provenance. His parents were part of the group that founded Second City and they created the famed Piven Theatre Workshop. Jeremy Piven is a graduate of Evanston Township High School.



Go Fact Yourself at Sleeping Village, 9:00 p.m. J. Keith van Straaten and Helen Hong bring their podcast live to Chicago. With special guest Peter Sagal and more TBA.

Therapy Players at Bughouse Theater, 7:30 p.m. Chicago’s award-winning all-therapist improv group presents “Jung at Heart.”

Bentwood Comedy Festival at iO. Schedule and all details here. Through August 11.

Luvvie Ajayi and Yvonne Orji in Jesus and Jollof Live at The Vic, 7:00 p.m. “A podcast featuring Luvvie Ajayi and Yvonne Orji, two proudly Nigerian women (who have no behavior) talking about the things they love, their stories, and life in general. Why Jesus and Jollof? Those are the two things they cannot do without. Besides, the other option was ‘2 Goat Queens.’” Luvvie Ajayi is also a bestselling humor writer whose first book was I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual. Yvonne Orji is also a comedian and known as Molly in HBO’s Insecure, a role she landed without an agent, manager or acting experience. Great story about how she did it here.


Headscarf Above Water at Second City, 9:00 p.m. “Have you ever felt like you’re treading water and can barely keep afloat? Mariam knows that feeling. She’s been trying to navigate her identity as an American woman who happens to be Muslim and all the baggage that everyone else seems to associate with it. Join her as she shares a peek into the secret world of Muslim women and what they’re really thinking.” Written and performed by award-winning journalist, news anchor and Second City alum Mariam Sobh. Directed by and in collaboration with Kim Schultz.

Impractical Jokers at Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre, Tinley Park, 7:00 p.m. TruTV’s Impractical Jokers’ “Cranjis Summer Spectacular” with Kyle Kinane, Jessica Kirson and Pat McGann.

strip-jokerStrip Joker: Goodbye Moonthem at Mary’s Attic, 10:00 p.m. Chicago’s body positive stand-up comedy show! Tonight Le Aboav hosts Sunny Grissom (Strip Joker Producer), Brittani Jeanette (Former Lincoln Lodge member), Adam Burke (of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, & Man Of The People TV), and musical guest Chrissi Rose (Strip Joker favorite and seen on the The Second City and Steppenwolf Stage). Tonight is also a farewell to producer Le Aboav who is departing for New York. An after-party follows the show. Seating is limited and tickets sell out. Follow link for advance purchase to guarantee your space. 



To Make A Long Story Short: Comedy Storytelling Show at Laugh Factory, 9:00 p.m. Featuring Kellye Howard, Toby McMullen, Correy Boyd-Bell, Felonious Munk and more TBA.


Two Weeks Notice at Lo Rez Brewery, 8:30 p.m. “A monthly comedy series where comedians tell stories about their horrible day jobs.” Matt MacLean and Jeff Kemp host Nick Ogle, Abi Sanchez, and Vik Pandya.

[LAST DAY!] Bentwood Comedy Festival at iO. Schedule and all details here.

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