Visitors to Chicago this week include Bill Bellamy, Howard Kremer, Alycia Cooper, Iliza Shlesinger, Jen Kirkman and Felicia Day. Also, two comedy duos: The Dollop Podcast's Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds and Pump and Dump's Shayna Ferm and MC Doula (a/k/a Tracey Tee).
Ticket Alerts! I’m betting on these shows selling out:
Comic magician and star of truTV’s Carbonaro Effect, Michael Carbonaro is at the Chicago Theatre on May 1. Tickets here.
Doug Benson will be at Zanies in Rosemont on May 4 and 5 with a live podcasting of Doug Loves Movies: tickets.
On May 6, one of my favorite bands, Chicago’s own Lola Balatro is at Subterranean with Lincoln Lodge comedy. More info here.
On May 7, the Harris Theater hosts what it’s modestly calling A Good Damn Comedy Show. It’s hosted by Clark Jones and features Beth Stelling, Nicole Byer and Liza Treyger. The show will benefit the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago. Tickets here.
On May 20, W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu will be at the Merle Riskin Theater. The evening is a benefit for the organization Housing Forward. Tickets here.
Following are the shows I had to spotlight this week. The sun’s suddenly so bright I had to hunker in the dark to put this together. What I’m saying is better confirm all details before setting out!
If you have a show you’d like me to include now or in the future, please email me at email@example.com and I’ll do my best to get it in.
Thank you to the Chicago comedy community. This is only a fraction of the extraordinary comedic goings-on this week.
MONDAY, APRIL 18
The Dollop Podcast Live at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., 6:30 p.m. Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds mine comedy from America’s weird history. The show is sold out, but if you read the calendar you know how I feel about that … it’s always worth a last minute call or even showing up at the venue and asking. I don’t know if it’s the Chicago spirit or if this happens everywhere, but I’ve heard many stories of people getting into sold-out shows due to others not showing or even a manager or usher feeling the pain. Crawling through the air ducts is also an option, but I don’t recommend it (though that scene in Paul Blart: Mall Cop is kickass.)
POV at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 7:00 p.m. A talk show where you can enjoy previews of the coming week at iO. Includes monologues, interviews and all the most fun talk show staples.
Gender is a Drag at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 8:00 p.m. This new show is every third Monday through June 20. A variety show hosted by Chuck Nasty (Chelsea Norment) and The Duchess (Kenzie Siebert). Each month features a different Chicago artist exploring the complexities of gender identity.
The Female Funnies at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Hosted by WGN Radio’s Pretty Late host, Patti Vasquez.
TUESDAY, APRIL 19
Is It Still Funny? at The Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport, 7:00 p.m. Film critic Mark Caro hosts four classic comedies over four weeks. This second week is all about Blazing Saddles. Then a discussion: has it held up? (Um … yes. YES.) Coming up are Duck Soup and There’s Something About Mary.
Old School Improv Jam at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, 7:30 p.m. The audience gets to learn and perform “old school” improv taught by Alan Baranowski, who was Del Close’s assistant director at his experimental workshops in the 1970s. An opportunity to learn Chicago comedy history by actually doing it. One night only.
Puppet Party at Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln, 8:00 p.m. Stand-up comedy, puppet commentators. Hosted by Tien Cao. Puppets by Lisa Peters and Paul Miller. Stand up by Gena Gephart, Scott Meyer, Jarrell Scott Barnes with co-Headliners David Philips and Sonia Denis.
Open Books and Laugh at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. A night of stand-up comedy benefits Open Book’s citywide literacy programs.
Pilsen Stand Up at Simone’s, 960 W. 18th St., 8:00 p.m. Featuring Oscar El Cuchillo Carvajal, Eli Hamilton, Amy Shanker. Headliner: Alex Ortiz.
104th Mainstage Revue: “Fool Me Twice, Déjà Vu” at The Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. Directed by Jeff-award winning Director Ryan Bernier. The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones calls this show “exceptionally funny.” Check site for additional show times throughout the week.
Larry Reeb at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. If you live in Chicago, it is mandatory to know the comedy of "Uncle Lar." He’s one of the original (in every best sense of the word) stars of Chicago’s stand-up scene. He’ll be at Zanies downtown all this week. Check site for additional show times.
Chicago Underground Comedy at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:00 p.m. Andy Fleming hosts Dan Sheehan, Kristen Lundberg, Keith Paesel, Blake Burkhart and Rebecca O'Neal with a performance by Actual Murderers.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20
New Country at The Den Theatre Followed by Special Ink Up Stand Up Event, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., 7:30 p.m. This new comedy drama was written by and stars Mark Roberts. Mark Roberts, who is from Urbana, began his career as a stand up comedian. His credits include appearances on The Tonight Show, Seinfeld, Friends and Fresh Prince of Bel Air, co-executive producer and writer for Two And A Half Men, executive consultant for The Big Bang Theory and creator of Mike & Molly. Follow link for show times throughout the week. Through May 14.
Following this evening's show, Mark Roberts will be interviewed by Michael Alexander. The interview will be filmed for Michael’s documentary about Chicago comedy. Attendance at the interview is free, but seats are limited and a reservations is required.
Drunk Science at The Comedy Bar, 500 N. LaSalle, 8:00 p.m. An evening of alcohol science from Sean Flannery, named “Chicago’s Best Drunk” by the Chicago Reader. I want to add that Sean is also one of comedy’s best storytellers.
Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks, 9:00 p.m. Martin Morrow hosts Marty DeRosa, Emily Galati, Goodrich Gevaart, Ricky Gonzalez, Michael Larimer and Chris Redd.
Laughs in the Lounge at Rogers Park Social, 6920 N. Glenwood, 9:00 p.m. Free show. Donations appreciated. Featuring Amanda Lynn Deal, Jonathan Giles, Shannon Noll, Soli Santos, Zac Hobert Thompson. Hosted by Marla Depew.
THURSDAY, APRIL 21
Bill Bellamy Interview on Chicago’s Comedy Scene Radio, 8:30 a.m. Tony Carr and Steve Touhy interview this week’s Improv headliner. Follow the link or download the Chicago's Comedy Scene Radio app and you’ll be there.
Pump and Dump: A Parentally Incorrect Comedy Show and Night Out, For Once at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. Comedian and musician Shayna Ferm and MC Doula (a/k/a Tracey Tee) present a night of comedy, music, games and raucous relaxation.
Stand Up Stand Up Turns Four at The Crocodile, 1540 N. Milwaukee Ave., 8:00 p.m. This free stand-up showcase turns four years-old. Any drink also gets you free pizza.
Just Dickin' Around All Ladies Showcase at Hydrate, 3458 N. Halsted, 9:45 p.m. The JDA showcase is "a women-run, queer-friendly showcase that provides a safe, supportive space with a positive energy for our performers and guests." Free show, although donations are appreciated. Free pizza. Co-produced by comedian, writer and ChicagoNow blogger Krista Atkinson. Come celebrate Krista’s birthday tonight with host Marla Depew and performances by Krista, Sayjal Joshi, Meaghan Strickland and Lilly Allison.
FRIDAY, APRIL 22
Comedy Night at The Crazy Pour, 105 E. North Ave., Villa Park, 7:00 p.m. Chicago's Comedy Scene Radio brings you dinner and a show featuring Sameena Mustafa, Dave Yates, Mike Wiley and Ricky March.
Matt Griffo at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 7:00 p.m. A night of music comedy with cellists even! Matt Griffo has been featured on Funny or Die and Buzzfeed. Shows also Saturday night and next weekend. Follow link for details.
Karen "Baby Sideburns" Alpert at Anderson's Bookshop, 123 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville, 7:00 p.m. The hilarious New York Times bestselling author and blogger will read and sign her latest book I Want My Epidural Back: Adventures in Mediocre Parenting. You must purchase your book at Anderson's to join the book signing.
[LAST TWO WEEKS!] Defiant Thomas Brothers at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 7:30 p.m. If you’re a fan of Steve Martin or Peter Sellers or Key & Peele or the best of SNL, you’ll love this evening and want to go back for more. Interview with Paul Thomas and Seth Thomas here. Through April 29.
Bill Bellamy at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 8:00 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Shows throughout the weekend. Check site for additional show times. Bill Bellamy can talk about anything. He’s a family man and yet years ago, he coined the term “booty call” on Def Comedy Jam. Interesting fact: he is Shaquille O’Neal’s cousin.
If you have time for a cool comedy vignette, check this out:
Here is Bill Bellamy talking about a one-time-only night of comedy which happened completely by chance:
The GQ article Bill Bellamy mentions is here. Here is a video recording of everyone on stage:
Howard Kremer’s “Who Charted?” at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave. 8:00 p.m. With Martin Morrow. A weekly review of the tops of all the charts.
Alycia Cooper at Jokes and Notes, 4641 S. King Dr., 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Alycia Cooper describes her comedy as a blend of Chris Rock, Margaret Cho and George Carlin. She is a nationally touring comedian whose TV credits include The Mo’Nique Show, Wanda Does It and Totally Biased with Kamau Bell. She will also be at Jokes and Notes on Saturday. Check site for details.
The Boys. We Make It Worse at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 9:00 p.m. A night of improv with Susan Messing, Rachael Mason, Craig Uhlir, Norm Holly and Ryan Archibald. These are some of the people who have made the Chicago improv scene internationally famous.
[LAST SHOW!] Liquid Courage: A Drinking Show at Second City’s Beat Lounge, 230 W. North Ave., 10:30 p.m. “What made Queen Mary get so bloody pissed? Why are Gin and Tonic getting a divorce? Will Shirley Temple ever stop being a buzz kill? Join us as these drink characters chat, sing and, of course, drink the night away in this interactive drinking show!” Featuring: Katherine Biskupic, Terrence Carey, Leah Frires, Adam Levin, Katie Nixon, Mollie Rehner.
SATURDAY, APRIL 23
Iliza Shlesinger at The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Early show is sold out.
Jen Kirkman at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport, 8:00 p.m. A special event celebrating the release of Jen Kirkman’s book, I Know What I’m Doing And Other Lies I Tell Myself. A night of “funny, personal and cringe-worthy stories” you won’t find in the book. There will also be a Q & A (“ask anything!”) followed by a book signing.
Reena Calm at WIP Theater 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 10:00 p.m.
SUNDAY, APRIL 24
Felicia Day at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster, 4:00 p.m. Sponsored by Women & Children First Bookstore. The actress (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), author (You’re Never Weird on the Internet) and comedian in conversation with Nerdette.
Lady Business at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 7:30 p.m. A themed comedy variety show for and by women.
Broad Squad at Skylark, 2149 S. Halsted, 8:00 p.m. This week is a celebration of The Golden Girls with host Ruthie Lichtenstein and “Paula Ann thanks you for being a friend, Kendall Klitzke traveled down the road and back again, Ju Lee Anna‘s heart is true and Odinaka Od Ezeokoli is a pal and a confidant.” Headliner: Sonia Denis.
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