Chicago comedy spotlight for Monday, November 11-Sunday, November 17, 2019

Visitors in town: Rita Rudner, Michelle Buteau, Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy, Catherine Cohen, John Cleese, Kathleen Turner, Ari Shaffir, Brian Regan.

At Zanies: Gus Johnson (Chicago), Kelsie Huff & Friends (Chicago), Comedians Helping Comedians (Chicago), Helen Hong (Chicago), Top Tuesday Showcase (Rosemont), Pete Lee (Rosemont), Jimmy Pardo’s Never Not Funny Podcast (Rosemont), Derek Hughes (St. Charles).

BREAKING NEWS 11/14: Surprise Ari Shaffir pop-up show at Zanies Chicago on Saturday night at 11:15 p.m. after his show at The Vic.

At Riddles: TBA

At The Improv: Steve Trevino.

Chicago comedians in the news:

Tom Dreesen’s memoirs Still Standing …: My Journey from Streets and Saloons to the Stage, and Sinatra will be released on June 9, 2020 and is now available for pre-order. “From shining shoes in dark saloons on the south side of Chicago to traveling the country as the opening act for Frank Sinatra, this is the story of Tom Dreesen’s unlikely journey to a fifty-plus year career as a pioneer of stand-up comedy and a legend of the entertainment industry.” Rick Kogan recently spoke with Tom here.

Taneshia (Just Nesh) Rice appeared on TruTV’s Laff Mob Laff Tracks on November 8.

Jeff Garlin’s new special Our Man in Chicago debuts on Netflix this Tuesday, November 12.

Ticket alerts:

November 21: Eight-time Emmy Award-winning Chicago TV legend Ben Hollis (Wild Chicago) hosts “What’s It Like to be You” at the 1100 Florence Gallery in Evanston. One teaser he put out there: How do you feel about the tradition of going around the table saying what you’re grateful for? Attend the show and you’ll get some one-of-a-kind Thanksgiving preparedness training.

December 7: Prateek Srivastava records his album Nick and Sheila’s Kid at Bughouse Theater. Tickets sell out for his shows, so get tickets soon!

December 12: TEDx Oak Park Women with Mariann Aalda.

December 25: Joel Chasnoff returns to City Winery with my favorite holiday tradition Christmas for the Jews. With headliner Jason Suran and featuring Sohrab Forouzesh.

January 12:  Boomer Babes at The Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Arlington Heights. Jan Slavin and Pam Peterson.

March 28: Festival of Laughs at Arie Crown Theater starring Sommore, Gary Owen, Tony Rock, Tommy Davidson and Tony Sco.

April 30-May 3: Maria Bamford at The Den Theatre.


Michelle Buteau at The Hideout, 7:00 p.m. Michelle Buteau can be seen on Netflix in Always Be My Maybe with Ali Wong and in the Tales of the Cities series. She is also one of the stars of BET’s First Wives Club. Michelle’s stand-up specials aired on Netflix and Comedy Central, and she also appeared on 2 Dope Queens.


CAMP: A Comedy Show at Village Tap, 8:00 p.m. Tessa Orzech hosts Kellye Howard, Matt Riggs, Patrick Richardson, Danish Maqbool, Rebekah Gibson, A secret special guest, and CAMP’s Samantha Berkman.



Kelsie Huff and Friends at Zanies in Chicago, 8:00 p.m. Kelsie Huff hosts and headlines with Sonal Aggarwal, Brittani Ferguson, Gwen La Roka.


Chicago Underground Comedy at Beat Kitchen, 9:00 p.m. Mallory Bradford hosts her favorite comedians on her birthday: Mike O’Keefe, Audrey Jonas, Sohrab Forouzesh, Molly Kearney, Charlie Vergos and the ChUC debut of Jessica Besser-Rosenberg.


Do You Believe in Madness at Second City, 8:00 p.m. The new 108th Mainstage Revue. Read reviews by Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune and Rick and Brenda McCain on ChicagoNow. Show times throughout the week.



Comedians Helping Comedians at Zanies Chicago, 8:00 p.m. Comedian and physician Dr. Bill Miller founded the John Fox Memorial Comedians Fund so no Chicago comedian would suffer or die from lack of resources. Dr. Bill was kind enough to give me the backstory here.

Who Dis?! at iO, 7:30 p.m. “A showcase of Chicago’s talented artists from the disability, chronic illness, and mental health communities.”

Bobby Condon Album Recording at Comedians You Should Know, Timothy O’Toole’s, 7:00 p.m., 9:30 p.m.


The Adventure Zone: Become the Monster Tour at The Chicago Theatre, 7:00 p.m. Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy from My Brother, My Brother and Me got their dad Clint to appear on stage to play RPGs. Their first RPG podcast was adapted into a graphic novel.



Jan Slavin at The Comedy Nash at Max & Benny’s, Northbrook, 7:00 p.m. Headliner: Jan Slavin, one of comedy and music’s best! Hosted by Larry Bloom and featuring Jeremy Drazner and Todd Glover. A Funnier by the Lake Production.


Catherine Cohen: The Twist? She’s Gorgeous at The Hideout, 9:00 p.m. Catherine Cohen’s comedy cabaret hits on hilarious truths about the human need to hide and be the center of attention at the same time and other things that can go wrong.


House of Ha! At Chicago House of Za, 7:30 p.m. Producer Laura Hugg hosts Oscar Carvajal, Aaron McDavis, Hi Betty! at this vegan restaurant.

Excited State at The Revival, 8:00 p.m. Improv comedy with ingenious University of Chicago scientists. Tonight stars Borja Sotomayor, scientist and t-shirt designer.

Justin Golak Album Recording at Hostel Earphoria, 7:00 p.m. Tickets are selling out! He was previously kind enough to speak with me here.

My Brother, My Brother and Me: Become the Monster Tour at The Chicago Theatre, 7:00 p.m. Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy record a live episode of their podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me, “an advice show for the modern era.”

Out of Our Minds at iO, 8:00 p.m. A mix of improv and mindreading by an honest-to-goodness mentalist.



John Cleese at The Genesee Theatre, Waukegan, 8:00 p.m. “Offering both a historical and hysterical perspective on his career and personal life, this engaging conversation will be the Holy Grail for Monty Python fans.”

Christmas Bingo at The Royal George, 8:00 p.m. “Get into the Christmas spirit with Christmas Bingo: It’s a Ho-Ho-Holy Night. Brush up on your Yuletide trivia, play for actual prizes in this uniquely interactive show. Vicki Quade, co-creator of the smash hit Late Nite Catechism, tackles the wackiest myths and most outrageous facts about Christmas, including jolly old St. Nick’s origins and where candy canes come from.” Fridays and Saturdays 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 2:00 p.m., Nov. 15 through Dec. 29.

Kathleen Turner: Finding My Voice at the Broadway in Chicago, 8:00 p.m. “Singing songs and sharing stories.”


Watch What Crappens at City Winery, 7:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m. Ben Mandelker and Ronnie Karam’s “podcast that revels in all things Bravo.”

Justin Golak Album Recording at Hostel Earphoria, 7:00 p.m. Tickets are selling out!



Cards Against Humanity Loves Chicago at Empirical Brewery, 2:00 p.m. You’re invited to test new games and beer.

Las Locas at DSTRKT, 8:00 p.m. Hosted by Janice V Rodriguez (Las Locas Comedy). Featuring Delmy Cabrera (Stand Up Chicago), Suz Ballout (My Buddys), Yaz Bat (The Kiki), Elise Fernandez (Diamond Comedy Hour), Laura Hugg (Laugh Factory). Produced by Janice V Rodriguez & Jess Martínez.

Kathleen Turner at the Broadway in Chicago, 8:00 p.m. “Singing songs and sharing stories.”

Justin Golak Album Recording at Hostel Earphoria, 7:00 p.m. Tickets are selling out!

Rita Rudner at The Raue Center, 8:00 p.m. A chance to see one of comedy’s all-time greats! Rita Rudner was kind enough to speak with me here and here.


Laugh Tracks at The Den Theatre, 7:00 p.m. Lael O’Shoughnessy hosts headliner John DeCosse (WGN Radio). Featuring Christina Lundin, Jackson Ingle and Tok Moffat. Live music from Breezy Love. Live Art from Artist and Heroes Founder with host Nancy Iida. All proceeds benefit Henry’s HEROES Foundation, a 501c3 that raises awareness and funds for Epilepsy Research and Support Programs.

Ari Shaffir at The Vic, 7:00 p.m. The “Ari Shaffir: Jew” Tour. His background with religion and the roads he’s traveled since will make this an unforgettable show.

Brian Regan at The Genesee Theatre, 8:00 p.m.



Story Jam at City Winery, 12:00 p.m. “Story Jam invites Chicago celebs to the stage for a special charity event to benefit The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights” including Peter Sagal of NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!; actor/improv great David Pasquesi; LGBTQ advocate and publisher of The Reader Tracy Baim; actor/comedian and Empire star Antoine McKay; and WGN host/comedian/politician Patti Vasquez.



Jimmy Pardo’s Never Not Funny Podcast at Zanies Rosemont, 3:00 p.m. Live recording. South Side’s Jimmy Pardo also has a new YouTube show Jimmy’s Records & Tapes. “A weekly walk down memory lane” via Jimmy’s record collection. The first episode is about Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run and the novelty 45 Mr. Jaws. I watched-very fun, very enjoyable. A lot to relate to.

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