Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, October 21-Sunday, October 27, 2019

In town: Josh Mills, Paula Poundstone. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Luke Null return to their comedy hometown.

At Zanies: Gabriel Rutledge (Chicago, Rosemont), Guy Branum (Chicago), Ben Gleib (Chicago), Tracey MacDonald (Chicago, St. Charles), Tuesday Ten Showcase (Rosemont).

At Riddles: Step Up to the Mic Talent Showcase (Wednesday), The Figgs Foundation Presents “Got to Laugh to Keep From Crying” featuring Damon Williams (Sunday).

At The Improv: The Pump and Dump Show: Parentally Incorrect, Jim Belushi and the Board of Comedy, Desi Banks.

Second City is offering a 2-for-1 deal to all its Friday 11pm performances this October with the code SPOOKTACULAR.

Chicago comedians in the news:

Whitney Chitwood’s new album The Bakery Case debuted at #1 on the Amazon and iTunes/Apple Music charts.

Second City alum Molly Erdman was featured in Elle Magazine for her “uncanny impersonations” of Presidential candidate/Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Samantha Irby‘s new book Wow, No Thank You will be released on March 31, 2020 and is available for pre-order at independent bookstores everywhere.

Ticket alerts:

Rita Rudner at the Raue Center in Crystal Lake on November 16.

Deon Cole at The Improv on November 27, November 29-December 1.

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


Ladylike at Café Mustache, 8:00 p.m. “A storytelling show where women, femme-identifying, and non-binary individuals tell their most disgusting stories.” Stories by Alexa Jaeger, Holmes Holmes, Marissa Driscoll, Emily Duke, Derry Mac, Deanna Ortiz. Music from Emma Grace. Hosted by Allison Dunne.


Essay Fiesta at The Book Cellar, 7:00 p.m. Live lit/comedy. Arrive early for seats. All donations go to 826 CHI. One time I went to Essay Fiesta for my birthday (Essay Fiesta and I actually have the same birthday). We didn’t see the parking meter in the parking lot and got a parking ticket which we didn’t see until we were driving home on Lincoln Ave. at which time the ticket flew into the air across four lanes of traffic. Essay Fiesta is such a great experience that it was all worth it and I’d do it again.

Louder Than a Mom at Martyr’s, 8:00 p.m. “Because everyone has a depressing, shocking, miserable, vulgar, hilarious family story!” You can share your story or just come and enjoy/laugh/commiserate.

Manic Music Mondays at Frances’, 7:00 p.m. Live music and comedy hosted by one of Chicago’s fastest rising stars, Just Nesh.


Luke Null at Beat Kitchen, 8:00 p.m. The Saturday Night Live and iO alum brings his new album and tour Guitar Comic to Chicago.

Jackpot Comedy at Laugh Factory, 8:00 p.m. Featuring Paul Farahvar, Abi Sanchez, Felonious Munk, Beckett Kenny, Geoffrey Asmus and more TBA.


Stable Manners at iO, 10:00 p.m. A variety of opening acts, then it’s Stable Manners with one of their improv crushes. Cast: Heather Elaine Abbott, Kait Burch, Kayla Cole, Caraline Connor, Nikki Hartung, Katie Kincaid.


Last Call, Chicago at The Comedy Bar, 8:00 p.m. Stand-up about Chicago hosted by some of its finest comedians.

The Price is Right Live at Peoria Civic Center, 7:30 p.m. Maybe not comedy per se, but I have been addicted to this show for a lifetime and know it’s always good for priceless laughs, happiness and faabulous prizes. This is TPIR’s traveling version.

I’m Not A Comedian … I Am Lenny Bruce at Royal George Theater, 7:30 p.m.  Lenny Bruce’s journey to becoming one of the most unforgettable personalities in comedy history. From groundbreaking court battles about what you can say on stage to his comedic material and writings, it’s all woven together by director Joe Mantegna and the star and creator of the show, Ronnie Marmo. Through December 1. (This brings up a memory … I went to a crazy progressive middle school and our 7th grade teacher took us to see the R-rated movie Lenny about Lenny Bruce. We never did learn how to use commas, but we definitely got an education.)


Rich Kids Doing Stand-Up at North Bar, 8:42 p.m. With one of Chicago’s most memorable and original comedians, Junior Stopka.

Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 9:30 p.m. Jonah Jurkens hosts Correy Bell, Ed Towns, Joe Fernandez, Russ Williamson, Whitney Chitwood, Nate Burrows. (Whitney Chitwood’s new album Bakery Case just debuted at #1 on the Amazon and iTunes charts.)


Book Stall After Hours Presents: The Truth or Lie Show, at The Book Stall, Winnetka, 7:00 p.m. Live lit/comedy. The Book Stall’s events sell out fast. Advance reservation advised.

Ernie Kovacs: A Centennial Celebration of his Life and Work at Film Row Cinema with Columbia College’s Director of Comedy Studies Ann Libera and Kelly Leonard of Second City at 7:00 p.m. Ernie Kovacs was one of the most inventive comedians in television history and he has a lot to do with the best of TV comedy today. From the Ernie Kovacs Facebook page: “Chicago has deep roots to Kovacs. The 1977 PBS affiliate WTIW produced the 10 half hours that made up the Best of Kovacs which relaunched his work to a new generation.”

Tonight features Josh Mills of Ediad Productions and the Ernie Kovacs & Edie Adams estates, and a screening followed by an audience Q&A and panel discussion with Columbia’s Cinema and Television Arts Chair Eric Scholl, Anne Libera, Director of Comedy Studies and Assistant Professor at Columbia College Chicago and Kelly Leonard of The Second City. Amazingly, this evening is free!


Drop In Improv at The Revival, 7:00 p.m. An all-levels 60-minute workshop led by Brian Jack of Deep Schwa followed by a 60-minute jam.


Holy Ghost Bingo: God, Goblins and Games at Royal George Theater, 8:00 p.m. A hilarious Halloween interactive comedy by Vicki Quade. Every weekend through November 10. Highly recommend – review here! Follow link for all show times.

Minimum Rage at Second City, 8:30 p.m. “Second City Diversity and Inclusion presents the cast of Urban Twist in ‘Minimum Rage,’ a hip sketch comedy revue featuring Bob Curry Fellows!”

Therapy Players: Live and Unrepressed at The Skokie Theatre, 8:00 p.m. Chicago’s unique, original, award-winning all-therapist improv group brings new material to Skokie.

Paula Poundstone at The Raue Center, Crystal Lake, 8:00 p.m. Known for her lightning-fast spontaneity, no two Paula Poundstone shows are the same.



Samantha Irby and Alison Roman at Chicago Humanities Festival at Venue Six10, 12:00 p.m. Awesome Chicago comedy writer Samantha Irby interviews food guru Alison Roman.

The Two-Hour Comedy Hour at Gallery Cabaret, 7:00 p.m. This long-running stand-up showcase is free.

55th & Heartbreak at The Revival, 8:00 p.m. “A South Side comedy show.”

Ryan Hamilton at North Shore Center for Performing Arts, Skokie, 8:00 p.m. Ryan Hamilton opens for Jerry Seinfeld and was named one of Rolling Stone‘s “Five Comics to watch.”

Doily at Second City, 10:00 p.m. An improv show starring Josh Vanderpoel and Joe Vargo. “For inspiration, Josh and Joe come to you, the audience, to talk about the people in your life.”


Everyone’s A Lawyer at Laugh Factory, 7:00 p.m. Chicago’s hit comedy game show created and hosted 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. Tonight’s comedians at law to be announced.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus at Chicago Humanities Festival at Cahn Auditorium, Northwestern University, Evanston, 6:30 p.m. Unfortunately, this event is sold out. Fortunately, you can be added to the wait list (always worthwhile!) by calling the box office at (312) 605-8444.

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