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Chicago Checklist

Spring is here in the Midwest FINALLY, and everyone's nerves are a-flutter. Of course, Chicago comedy never rests, not even in our typical below 0 winters. However, spring brings with it a kinetic energy that permeates throughout the city and into back rooms, onto rock club stages, over to performance cafes, and spills out onto city streets after hours. Here's a brief round-up of happenings in the city and with our comedy brothers and sisters on the coasts:

Chicago golden boy TJ Miller is officially nominated to be an MTV Award nominee, for his role in She's Out of My League. Bounce over to their site now, plug in all your critical identifying info, and vote him into the nomination pool.

Local king Prescott Tolk has just begun a 6-week run of his new one-man show, High Jinxed, chronicling his "misadventures" as an adolescent. The show runs every Thursday through April 29 at Gorilla Tango Theater. Read Time Out Chicago comedy editor Jason Heidemann's piece on Tolk here.

The hilarious "Jones Big/Cheap/Good Ass" series by Big Dog Eat Child, starring Robert Hines, continues with Jones Cheap Ass Prepaid Legal and Day Care Academy Voicemails (Vol. 1), real voicemails left for a not-so-real business.

The LA Times recently had a fun little piece on "comedy scouts and their finds" and Chicago expat Mike Bridenstine got name-dropped by talent scout Rachel Rusch.

The print-n-digital comedy magazine The Comedians recently published a feature story on two newcomers to Chicago, Ryan Walker and Sam Norton, detailing their friendship and move to the big city to pursue a dream. Chicago writer and editor Michelle Peterson tells the tale of this unlikely duo, who can be seen already ensconced in the underground stand-up scene every night of the week.

Beloved sports comedy podcast The Visitors Locker Room, featuring stand-up comedians Sean Flannery and CJ Sullivan, have released their first-ever CD. Capturing highlights of the podcast's storied past, this CD is sure to earn its spot in regular listening rotation. Buy the CD and subscribe to the podcast now!

Via the Comic's Comic Sean McCarthy, Chicago expat Brooke Van Poppelen and local gal Andrea Wallace teach comedy on American Chopper! Here's the wonderfully random clip:

Finally, and what we are still hoping will reveal itself as an elaborate April Fools prank, the Lakeshore Theater announced late last night that it was shuttering its doors as of April 10. The Lakeshore has become a beloved venue of local and national comics alike over the last four years, and has been claimed "homebase" by many, many performers. Manager Chris Ritter infused a certain je ne sais quoi that was readily available to all of the talent he mentored, developed, and supported within his theater. The theater has boasted national acts such as Reggie Watts, Tig Notaro, Doug Stanhope, Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, Doug Benson, Andy Kindler, Nick Thune, and so many more. In addition, the theater had a reputation of nurturing local talent, as evidenced by its introduction of the Art of Local Comedy headlining series this year, the hiring of local talent to host and feature national acts (thus sparking otherwise improbable networking connections), the newly formed Lakeshore Open Mic, which introduced Lakeshore bookers to new people working hard on the scene, and, as a clear indicator of being on the pulse of art, a few years ago the theater hosted the very first installment of the then-unknown Kumail Nanjiani's now nationally acclaimed one-man-show, Unpronounceable.

Lakeshore, you will go down as legends. Chris Ritter | Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune

--Kristy Mangel

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