Chicago comedy spotlight for February 16-19, 2017

Visitors in town:

Kathy Griffin, Michael Palascak, Michael Ian Black, Rory Albanese, Sinbad, Warren B. Hall, Bobby Lee, Hampton Yount, Geoff Tate, Krish Mohan and Mike Lawrence.

Ticket Alerts:

Jay and Silent Bob Get Old podcast recording on March 30 at The Vic. Tickets

Freakonomics' Stephen J. Dubner brings the "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" Tour to Thalia Hall on April 5-6. Informative, funny conversation with a three-person celebrity panel TBA, likely to include "comedians, brainiacs." Tickets

Anne Lamott on April 10 at The People's Church talking about her new book Hallelujah Anyway sponsored by Women & Children First Bookstore. Tickets

Norm Macdonald on April 15 at The Vic. Tickets

Daniel Tosh with Tosh Show writers on April 16 at University of Illinois' State Farm Center in Champaign. Tickets

The Look at Me Now Tour on April 29th with Lavell Crawford, Jay Pharoah, Dominique, Michael Colyar and Rip Michaels. Hosted by Seandale, Shagg Nice and Ricky Rampage at UIC Pavilion. Tickets here.

In the news:

The much anticipated web series Brown Girls debuted this week with nationwide screenings. One of the stars is Sonia Denis who launched her comedy career in Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Episodes and more about the show here.

Michael Palascak's new album That One Thing will be released on February 24, but you can pre-order it on iTunes and rooftopcomedy.com. Michael is also at Zanies this week-see below!

One of Paste Magazine's Best Comedy Web Series of 2016 was Ian Abramson's 7 Minutes in Purgatory. You can find the series on the Comedy Central site here. Ian got his comedy start  in Chicago and is now in L.A.

The movie Del, about Chicago improv guru Del Close, will begin filming here in April, quite a bit of it at Second City. Mike Myers stars. Betty Thomas directs. Both are Second City alums. Betty Thomas was one of Del Close's students.

Following is the rest of the week's spotlight. Please confirm all details before heading out!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16

Real Couples at Under the Gun Theater, 956 W. Newport, 7:30 p.m. Couples get onstage to reveal how they got on each other’s nerves this week. The improv that follows may or may not save the relationship.

Warren B. Hall at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. Warren B. Hall has traveled internationally for U.S. troops and has also been featured on Fox's Laughs and is a regular on The Bob and Tom Morning Show.

 

Rory Albanese at Zanies, MB Financial Park, Rosemont, 8:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday night. At Zanies in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday. Rory Albanese won multiple Emmy awards for his work as a writer and executive producer on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and was a regular panelist on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. He is also a nationally touring headliner.

 

Group Improvised Comedy at Comedy Clubhouse, 1462 N. Ashland, 8:00 p.m. Long form improv (20-25 minutes) by three teams of up to 10 improvisers, each based on an audience suggestion. Thursdays through Sundays. Follow link for details, show times and a great explanation of what makes improv an art form like no other.

Kim Kong: A Comedy Monster at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. “Eunji Kim’s epic journey all the way from Busan to Moscow to the lowest ranks of the Chicago comedy scene ... Eunji recounts her father’s extraordinary immigrant story to become an ordinary American to highlight her own depressingly ordinary efforts to become extraordinary. Eunji uses animation, storytelling, characters and mad beats to convey her voyage to become the world’s most successful and powerful Asian-American-Jew-show-biz-personality. “Kim Kong:” is truly a frightening comedy experience.” Thursdays through February 23.

Michael Palascak at Zanies, Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, 8:00 p.m. Through Saturday. Follow link for all show times. Michael Palascak was one of my favorite contestants on Last Comic Standing where he was a finalist. He has been featured on The Late Show, Conan, and The Tonight Show and has his own special on Comedy Central.

Dwayne Kennedy at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday night when there is a 2nd late show. In addition to his stand-up, Dwayne Kennedy is known for his work as a television writer and actor, including as a writer and on-air correspondent for Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. He has been featured on The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Premium Blend, Comedy Central Presents, and Talkin' Dirty after Dark and as an actor on Martin, Seinfeld, Amen and 227. The Village Voice said he is a "world-class stand up."  He was kind enough to speak with me here. Find his album Oh No, It's Dwayne Kennedy here.

Just Dickin’ Around All Genders Showcase at Hydrate, 3458 N. Halsted, 8:30 p.m. Showcase at 8:30 followed by open mic at 9:45. 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 and free pizza. Tonight is hosted by Dina Nina Martinez. Featuring Krista Atkinson, Anthony Bonazzo, Michael Cooper, Marla Depew and Jonathan Giles.

Messing with a Friend at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 10:30 p.m. This is a show where the improvisers morph from character to character before your eyes. Believable and magical at the same time. A little bit dangerous, too. Anything can happen. Susan Messing was named “Best Improviser” by the Reader and “Improviser of the Year” at the Chicago Improv Festival. This week’s friend is Sam Super.

 

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17

Michael Ian Black  at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport, 9:00 p.m. I was very sad when The Jim Gaffigan Show folks decided not to go on with a third season. It meant saying goodbye to the very funny and real characters, including Michael Ian Black as Daniel, Jim’s nemesis who was always armed with a verbal stiletto. But it’s still easy to catch Michael Ian Black’s work as a nationally touring headliner, actor (as one of the stars of Wet Hot American Summer) and author, most recently of A Child’s First Book of Trump and Navel Gazing: True Tales of Bodies Mostly Mine (But Also My Mom’s Which I Know Sounds Weird).

Group Improvised Comedy at Comedy Clubhouse, 1462 N. Ashland, 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Long form improv (20-25 minutes) by three teams of up to 10 improvisers, each based on an audience suggestion. Thursdays through Sundays. Follow link for details, show times and a great explanation of what makes improv an art form like no other.

Bobby Lee at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 8:00 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Through Sunday. Follow link for all show times. Bobby Lee is know for his work as a cast member on MadTV and in the films Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Pineapple Express and The Dictator. Bobby Lee has said that his parents had trouble accepting his decision to become a comedian, but came around after he appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

 

The Lincoln Lodge at Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. The Lincoln Lodge is known for the comedians it helped launch: Cameron Esposito, Hannibal Buress and TJ Miller and more. Always high quality comedy with local and visiting performers. Dedicated to making comedy accessible and affordable.

Black Box Comedy presents The Prime Time Nine Producers at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 8:00 p.m. A rare line-up of WIP producers.

Black Box Comedy presents Zach Peterson at WIP Theater, 6670 N. Northwest Highway, 10:00 p.m. Tonight and Saturday. Zach Peterson is one of the producers of Chicago’s Arguments & Grievances, the comedy debate show named “Best Variety Show” by Chicago Magazine.

 

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18

Kathy Griffin at North Shore Center for Performing Arts, 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. The bestselling author, Emmy and Grammy-award winning comedian is back in the North Shore for the first time in over ten years! Kathy Griffin’s way is honest, hilarious stories about our culture’s mayhem and it’s fearless and unfiltered, thank God. Her Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin is one of my favorite of my favorite genres, comedian autobiographies. She’s also friends with Cher! Her latest which I haven’t yet read, but it’s right at the top of the list is Kathy Griffin's Celebrity Run-Ins: My A-Z Index. She is an Oak Park native.

 

Rory Albanese at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 7:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. Thru Sunday. Check site for all show times.

Mike Lawrence at Zanies, MB Financial Park, Rosemont, 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. At Chicago Zanies on Sunday. Comedy Central's 2016 Roast Battle champion.

Jury Doody at The Comedy Clubhouse, 1462 N. Ashland, 7:30 p.m. A Main Stage theatrical and a long form improv piece which “flash[es] forward and backward into the lives of 10 unlikely jurors to see how we are more alike than different. Nine professional comedians play 118 characters in a story packed with wild fantasy, unlikely heroes, and a hint of the 90’s.” Saturday nights.

Guest List Comedy at Ancien Cycles, 688 N. Milwaukee Ave., 8:00 p.m. Headliner: Steven King. Featuring Blake Burkhart, Jillian Ebanks and Guest List producer Allison Dunne. Hosted by Guest List producer Miles Hendrix.

Fuck Trump: A Collection of Songs to Demonstrate What a Horrible Person Donald Trump Is at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. Directed by Mick Napier, the world renowned founder and director of The Annoyance.

Hampton Yount at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. Hampton Yount is a writer and comedian who has appeared on Conan, Comedy Central and MTV and at comedy festivals around the country including Just for Laughs and SXSW. He offers his debut album for free here (donations accepted).

 

Sinbad at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 8:00 p.m. Hey, do you know Sinbad’s original name? He was born David Adkins. He got his comedy break as a Star Search finalist (he beat Dennis Miller). Ultimately losing to comedian and voice of the Crypt Keeper John Kassir did not set him back any. His TV and movie credits include It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Jingle All the Way, Houseguest, Necessary Roughness, A Different World and The Sinbad Show and his HBO comedy specials, Brain Damaged, Afros & Bellbottoms, Son of a Preacher Man, and Nuthin But The Funk.

 

Group Improvised Comedy at Comedy Clubhouse, 1462 N. Ashland, 10:00 p.m. Long form improv (20-25 minutes) by three teams of up to 10 improvisers, each based on an audience suggestion. Thursdays through Sundays. Follow link for details, show times and a great explanation of what makes improv an art form like no other.

 

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19

Comedy at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 4:20 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Geoff Tate's 4:20 show is at 4:20, followed by Approaching Happiness with Krish Mohan at 8:00 p.m., followed by the Alone Star Open Mic at 10:00 p.m. Krish  Mohan clip below, but check out this description of his show tonight-very intriguing. "Approaching Happiness: What makes us happy? Comedian Krish Mohan explores the idea of Happiness and perceptions of mental illness in today's society. He removes the stigmas associated with immigration, drugs, gun control, racism and being accountable for the problems we've created, all revolving around the subject of mental health. Will he find out how we can all approach happiness?"

 

Mike Lawrence at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 6:30 p.m. Comedy Central's 2016 Roast Battle champion.

Group Improvised Comedy at Comedy Clubhouse, 1462 N. Ashland, 8:00 p.m. Long form improv (20-25 minutes) by three teams of up to 10 improvisers, each based on an audience suggestion. Thursdays through Sundays. Follow link for details, show times and a great explanation of what makes improv an art form like no other.

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