34 not out: the first week (Adam Burke)

So, about a week ago, and through no fault of my own, I turned 34. While this has, as you can imagine, taken quite a psychic toll on as winsome and effete a soul as I, the transition has not been without its benefits. To whit, I got to spend it in the company of some of the most talented and all-round delectable souls in the Chicago comedy community. A brief recap of the past six or so days, you ask? Why, certainly:

Sunday 10th: I had the good fortune to spend part of my birthday over at the marvelous Entertaining Julia showcase at Town Hall Pub. The manifold pleasures of appearing on this delightful and always gangbusters show were topped by its being closed by Mr. Brady Novak, one of the most exquisitely hilarious people I've ever had the pleasure to meet. To sample just a soupcon of Mr. Novak's indefatigable wit please peruse this clip (absolutely NSFW, nor for the faint of heart), which he wrote and produced with members of the brilliant HeavyWeight sketch group (who happened to be in town for SketchFest).

Monday 11th: I was honored to be part of the inaugural line-up for the brand new Please Enjoy Yourself showcase at the Underground Lounge. I think this is going to be a solid showcase; it's in a great neighborhood and the venue is tailor-made for fun, intimate stand-up.

Wednesday 13th: Chicago stand-up got to kick its heels into some of the most hallowed performance turf in the city. Longtime Schuba's bartender and inchoate comedian Brad LaBree threw together (and hosted) an amazing show at the prestigious Southport music venue which looks to be a monthly staple of the scene. The first Laugh It Up Kid showcase -also part of the Tomorrow Never Knows Festival- featured myself alongside James Fritz, Mike Sheehan, Cameron Esposito, and Prescott Tolk.

Thursday 14th: The Three Graces of the Chicago comedy scene- that is, Lauren Vino, Renee Schultz, and Liza Treyger- host a marvelous show called Riot Comedy over at Chicago Joe''s every Thursday. I got to do a set here this night, and had the pleasure of seeing headliner  Brendan McGowan do the most effusive version of his famous "Steak Story" I'd ever seen.

Friday 15th; I closed out my week with a set at the Cakewalk extravaganza, a marvelous improv showcase curated by the eponymous Cakewalk group at the Playground Theater. The show begins at midnight, and as befits such a late show, the crowd was dutifully and correctly rowdy. Shows like this can be rough, or they can be as they were in this instance; an utter delight. Having a tipsy crowd lob non sequiturs at you can be a lot of fun- when you're in the right frame of mind- and this group were the exactly the right mix of playful and respectful. I had a lot of fun, and it was an excellent end to my first week of being 34.

Cheers, you lovable rogues.

Adam Burke



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