In town: The Capitol Steps are rare out-of-towners in a week of homecoming Chicagoans: Kathy Griffin, Chris Redd and Mike Lebovitz. Plus, Groundhog Day returns (as it does).
At Zanies: Calvin Evans (Chicago and Rosemont), Girl With No Job (Chicago and Rosemont), Vince Carone (Rosemont) and Tim Harrison (St. Charles).
At The Improv: Bret Ernst
July 22: The Boomer Babes Still Rockin' returns to the Skokie Theatre after its premiere earlier this month when tickets sold out and people had to be turned away at the door. Those hot tickets are available here. Interview with Jan Slavin here.
July 6: Outcasted Comedy Tour at iO with Skyler Higley, Mona Aburmishan, AK Agunbiade, and Sharup Karim. The show is about immigration and identity. Their tour has sold out around the country. Tickets here.
Chicagoans in the news: This is a great summer for W. Kamau Bell fans. His Emmy Award-winning United Shades of America is currently in its third season on CNN. His new special Private School Negro debuts this Tuesday on Netflix and he has a new "short book" Everybody Loves Kamau on Amazon (in addition to his 2017 memoir The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell).
Laughbutton.com has a behind-the-scenes of how Hannibal Buress came to do an innovative new commercial for the Turo car rental app.
In its first week, Cameron Esposito's new special Rape Jokes raised over $30,000 for RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. Watch this space for a link to my interview with Cameron.
Following is this week's spotlight. Please confirm all details!
MONDAY, JUNE 25
This One Woman at Hopleaf, 5148 N. Cark, 7:30 p.m. Performances inspired by Ellen DeGeneres. Featuring Sara Waggle, Dana Rochelle, Lila Hofmann, Ryan Oliveira, Marla Depew, Hector Manuel Reyes Junior, Eunice Jarrett, and Elyse Nylin. Hosted by Kyna Lenhof with guest host Kelly Beeman. Free show, but donations are appreciated and go to performers.
Service Industry Night at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. Hospitality horror stories and jokes from Chicago’s funniest chefs, bartenders and servers. Featuring Chelsea Hood and more TBA.
TUESDAY, JUNE 26
Groundhog Day at Millennium Park, 6:30 p.m. Famously filmed in Woodstock, IL. Part of the Millennium Park Summer Film Series. Each film presentation this summer will begin with a “ChicagoMade Short.”
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27
You Joke Like A Girl at Volumes Bookcafé, 1474 N. Milwaukee, 7:00 p.m. All women comedy night produced by Elyse Nylin.
Clear CONscience at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 8:00 p.m. “Clear CONscience is the sketch revue focused on what makes humans do predictably stupid things: cognitive biases. Each sketch centers around one cognitive bias so you can see why people are idiots without having the required reading of a psychology course.”
Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., 9:30 p.m. A nationally-renowned stand-up showcase. Marty DeRosa hosts Kristen Toomey, Chris Damen, Joe M. Kilgallon, Mike Lebovitz, Matty Ryan, and Kellye Howard.
Teacher/Student Jam at iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury, 10:00 p.m. Improv featuring five iO teachers and five lucky randomly selected students.
THURSDAY, JUNE 28
Cupcake Comedy Cabaret at Gallery Cabaret, 2020 N. Oakley, 6:30 p.m. Stand-up open mic and showcase.
Gaslight District at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones said, Gaslight District is “funny and it knows how to hit hard against soft targets, but the key to excellence in this format is what lies beneath, which means homing in some aspect of shared terror at the horrors of our own shared existence.” Follow link for show times throughout the week.
Kathy Griffin at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 8:00 p.m. The fearless, hilarious, hold-nothing-back, Emmy and Grammy-winning comic is back in her hometown with her worldwide “Laugh Your Head Off” tour. Very few tickets left, so get ‘em as soon as you can.
FRIDAY, JUNE 29
Chris Redd at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. From Saturday Night Live, Chris Redd is a triple threat known for his talent in sketch, improv and stand-up (and for his scene-stealing renown in the movie Popstar: Never Stop Popping). He is originally from Naperville and began his comedy career in Chicago. Tonight and tomorrow night.
SATURDAY, JUNE 30
The Kates at The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln Ave., 7:00 p.m. Chicago’s all women stand-up showcase created and produced by Kelsie Huff. Always a memorable evening of extraordinary comedic talent and diverse voices. Tonight: Soli Santos hosts Carly Ballerini, Denise Medina, Adrienne Brandyburg, Catherine Dee and more TBA. Seats go fast! Early arrival recommended!
Chris Redd at The Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
SUNDAY, JULY 1
Just Nesh Laffa-POOL-looza Pool Party Comedy Show at Crete Pool House, 812 Huntley Woods Dr., Crete, 4:00 p.m. Birthday bash for Taneshia "Just Nesh" Rice with live music, comedy, food and drinks. Tickets are limited. Just Nesh is a national headliner who toured with Dick Gregory and was featured on Kevin Hart's Hart of the City and The Next Level on Comedy Central.
The Capitol Steps at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, 7:00 p.m. The Capitol Steps began over thirty years ago as a group of Senate staffers who saw the need to make much more fun of our government. The current cast's collective experience includes working in eighteen Congressional offices for sixty-two years.
Matt Damon Improv at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. Stand-up, sketch and solo performance. “Each weekly show promises to be 'Intersectional AF' and provide a safe platform for women of color to share performances that confront the current racial tension and social issues within the world around us.”
You can stay up to date with Comedians Defying Gravity by typing your email address in the box and clicking the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam, spam, spam, spam free, and you can opt out at any time.