This Thursday, April 11th at Riddles Comedy Club in Alsip, IL (5055 W. 111th st.), a benefit show is being held to help the club's owner, Ken Stevens. Doors open at 7 pm. The festivities will include music, some of the best comedians in Chicago performing, food, a silent auction, and a cash bar.
Ken was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November of 2012. He has undergone many treatments since then and will continue to receive long term care in order to battle the disease.
As a Chicago comedian I can tell you first hand, that Ken is someone who loves comedy, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, the Bulls, Elvis, and the Rat Pack. The first few years into a stand up comic's career can often be the most brutal. I remember several years ago other comedians telling me about this club Riddles on the South Side. I hadn't performed at many clubs yet and was having trouble figuring out what the hell I wanted to do onstage.
I somehow got the club's email and sent a short paragraph about myself and a short video clip. This is a process I have since done many times over. More often than not you don't even hear back from a club... But just a few minutes after sending the email, I got a phone call from Ken. He wanted to have me host a show with Jimmie J.J. Walker from Good Times.
I was so excited to be working with someone with a familiar name. Not only did family and friends come to see one of the shows I was in that weekend, but I made my now wife come with me to the club about a month early to watch some of Super Bowl XLIV when the Saints beat the Colts, as Ken had invited me when he first called.
It was then that I think Ken and I just got each other. I knew he was a South Side guy who loved comedy and the White Sox, and he knew I loved the same things and was hungry to get onstage. Kenny continually tried to get me at the club as much as he could.
For several years I witnessed him quickly move comedians up the ladder from open mics to hosting, from hosting to middling, and from middling to headlining. He loved comedians and wanted to help them. The open mic at Riddles was often the only open mic I went to because I knew I'd see other comedians I liked, I could watch the Hawks or Sox if a game was on in between sets, and I could see Kenny.
I've become good friends with a lot of comedians I worked with or met at the club, and it will always be a place in Chicago where I learned how to do comedy.
Knowing how amazingly funny a lot of Chicago comedians are and how Riddles has played such a big role in my career, I'd highly recommend checking out the show. It's a great cause for a great guy. It would be great to see Kenny at the club again soon.
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