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Entries in chicago comedy (35)


The CHI Hip Tip

WHEN:    8 pm, TONIGHT
WHEREThe Annoyance Theatre & Bar, 4830 N. Broadway, Chicago, $7 for the show, $12 for the show and a signed copy of the album

Robert Buscemi is back in Chicago, and is celebrating the release of his latest comedy album, Palpable, released by Rooftop Comedy Records. Performers include Second City performer Abby McEnany, stand-up comics James Fritz, Nate Craig, and Ken Barnard, Annoyance Theater players Mark Sutton and Marz Timms, and sketch groups The Accountants of Homeland Security and Gentlemen Follies. Beth Stelling and the Puterbaugh Sisters host.

Recorded in December 2009 at the Lincoln Lodge, the album is an hour-long culmination of Buscemi’s material from 2009.

Buscemi spent last weekend hosting Chicago Improv Festival shows at the Second City Skybox and the festival’s closing-night gala.


Chicago Checklist

--The 13th annual Chicago Improv Festival began yesterday, through April 25. On Wednesday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m., awards will be presented to Severn Darden, The Improvised Shakespeare Company, Susan Messing, Harold Ramis, and Dick Schaal, in a ceremony that will include a screening of short videos about each award winner, a raffle for thirty items based on the theme “30 Days in Chicago”, and a presentation of the awards by guest speakers from the world of improv and theater. The full festival and venue line-up can be found here.

--Yesterday’s episode of Red Bar Radio contains possibly the best phone prank ever pulled off in the history of audio content, as authored by comedian Marty DeRosa and RBR host Mike David. You can download the episode here (download free from the iTunes store to get the full episode); the prank really gets going at the 1:50:55 mark, and continues getting more amazing and more ridiculous for the next 38 minutes. Bets on if this will crack in the mainstream media? NSFW, guys.

--Congratulations go out to Cook County Social Club member and general sketch extraordinaire Tim Robinson on the announcement of his acceptance to Second City Mainstage!

--Kristy Mangel


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


Chicago Checklist

James Fritz | Photo courtesy of Time Out ChicagoChicago mainstream media has been hollering at local comics recently. Steve Heisler wrote up a fun little blurb for Time Out Chicago about Resi's Bierstube, a favorite post-show spot, featuring current king of comedy James Fritz:

As the lights come up at the Lincoln Lodge stand-up showcase one wintry Friday night, comedian James Fritz slowly dons a hoodie, scarf and coat. It’s a short walk, but he’ll have a cigarette along the way. The other comics in attendance—performers or supporters, like Fritz—hang back until he moseys over and nods, stroking his beard. “You goin’ out?” he asks. No further explanation is needed. He’s headed to Resi’s Bierstube.

Robert Hines | Photo courtesy of the Chicago TribuneRobert Hines, of Jones Big Ass Truck Rental & Storage infamy, was featured in the Chicago Tribune last week, with news that Hines' film Chasing Robert, co-starring Andy Dick, Larry Miller, and Dan Castellaneta, has wrapped and is looking for distribution. 

Tribune writer Steve Johnson also gave shouts to "four comedians to watch" -- is local comedy writing in the Tribune making a comeback?

Cameron Esposito's first album, Grab Them Aghast, recorded at the Lincoln Lodge in early December, just released on iTunes and Amazon. You can catch Cameron tonight at the Whistler, 8 p.m., 2421 N. Milwaukee, for the presentation, "The Cardio Cabaret: A Total Body Experience". 

Read the good news that Kumail Nanjiani continues to be unstoppable, as he got recently cast in the hourlong TBS pilot Franklin & Bash. We'll await word on whether the pilot gets picked up; we have a feeling that with Nanjiani in the credits, it has an 82% better chance based on that fact alone. (via)

Like seeing girls get punched in the crotch coupled with vag-centric turns of phrase? Heh. Neither do we, but shouts have to be given to this Tosh.0 clip, featuring CHI ladies Becky Garcia, Emily Dorezas, and Joselyn Hughes:

Game Ovaries
Web Redemption2 Girls, 1 Cup ReactionDemi Moore Picture

--Kristy Mangel


Chicago Checklist

A few words/bits/baubles from Chi-City, pals. (And if you are reading this and involved in a scene outside of CHI or NYC and are thinking to yourself, "Hey, there's cool things HERE too ya know, what's up?" Then please, PLEASE drop us a line! We're looking for ALL the bits AND the baubles, nationwide. Feature interviews, too. Stunning photos. Hilarious video shorts. What's your crew doing? Drop us a line!).

Lakeshore Theater Manager Chris Ritter with Doug Stanhope and Junior Stopka | Photo by Brian Jarreau, courtesy of the Lakeshore Theater

Early yesterday morning we saw that Doug Stanhope dropped a big ol' props via Facebook on one our local underground superstars, Junior Stopka, who opened for Stanhope in four shows at the Lakeshore Theater this past weekend. You can peep some photos from the show here and here.

Mick Betancourt's got his hands on the new Web site Actually Funny, and tapped CHI comedian Ricky Carmona to submit the hilarious and inspiring blog, "Brad Pitt vs. Bootsie Collins." As Ricky says, it will do you no harm! Check it out!

Photos from the inaugural Laughing Skull Comedy Festival have emerged, granting us a little voyeur access into this new comedy hot spot. Props to Michael Palascak, Prescott Tolk, and expat Jena Friedman, representing CHI in ATL.

Local comedy writer Steve Heisler has been slowly and surely making his way to national reporting, and a few days ago he unveiled his new monthly column for the A.V. Club, called Laugh Track, that seeks to "round up new and noteworthy stand-up, sketch, and online video, much of it courtesy of under-the-radar comedians with a little too much time on their hands." Suitably, it features many Chicago folks, both here in town and those that have flown away for the coasts.

And finally, we'll leave you with a new video by comedian Paul Thomas, featuring comedians Jet Eveleth and Dan Telfer, and directed by Chad Wilson.

Creep from Paul Thomas on Vimeo.

EDIT: We just received word that Seth Herzog will be performing at the cozy Gallery Cabaret this Saturday, March 13, 7 p.m., as part of the new showcase, The Two-Hour Comedy Hour. Fun!

--Kristy Mangel


CHI Expat Superstars Reunite on NYC Stage

Chicago expats Kyle Kinane and Kumail Nanjiani will reunite at Comix, TONIGHT, with host and fellow expat Jared Logan, and guest Dan St. Germain. You can see these guys currently blowing up the national scene, in things like The Late Show with David Letterman, Comedy Central's Hot List, Variety Magazine, A Special Thing Records, opening for Patton Oswalt, Live at Gotham, the Colbert Report, etc. Let's take the Wayback Machine for a minute to some Chicago-era shorts (shot, incidentally, by Sundance and SXSW director Jordan Vogt-Roberts).

Nike Town, Kyle Kinane

He-Man, Kumail Nanjiani

The Complete Breakfast, Jared Logan

Click here for tix; show at 9:30PM, TONIGHT, Comix, 353 W. 14th St.

--Kristy Mangel


The CHI Honey Shot

Tim Robinson and Mark Raterman at Chicago Sketchfest 2010 | Photo by Kristy Mangel

  • THE PLUG: Don't miss My Mans (feat. Mark Raterman and Tim Robinson), happening TONIGHT @ 8PM at i.O. (3541 N. Clark St., Chicago). Show runs every Thursday through Apr. 8.

Wanna plug? E-mail me photo & credit. And join our flickr group. Send 10 days in advance.


The CHI Hip Tip

Bill Cruz | Photo by Heather Scholl

Tonight, Bill Cruz will kick off the new "Funny & Fabulous Queer Comedy Series," produced by the legendary Mikey O. Cruz will be recording his headlining set for the upcoming comedy CD, Athletic Supporter. Also performing will be Gwen La Roka and James Fritz, with host Tita Lopez

Doors at 7PM, show at 8; Joe's on Weed, 940 W. Weed St., Chicago, TONIGHT.