Despite its name, this comedy club, billed as the largest in the country, features some of the biggest names in stand-up. $17-$30, 21+, 2 dr. min.
The restaurant-cabaret presents a Roaring 20s-themed musical comedy revue in a speakeasy setting, with dining and drinking integrated into the show. $60-$70 (includes food and refreshments; alcoholic beverages extra)http://tommygunsgarage.com
Part of a national chain of comedy clubs, this company is known for quick improv games (think Whose Line Is It Anyway?), but it also stages long-form improv. LCD screens and sophisticated lighting and sound systems amplify the sports-style improv of the company's eponymous production, ComedySportz. There's a snobbery in the Chicago improv community that looks up at the "art" of the long form, with its emphasis on story and characters, and down on the "entertainment" of the short, with its emphasis on games and punch lines. ComedySportz falls emphatically in the entertainment camp; its bottom line is laughter, and it gets plenty of it. The show is structured as a competition between two teams performing multiple games that require audience participation. A referee ensures that the players--a rotating roster from a company of about 50--work clean or they finish the game with a brown bag over their heads. The formula is practically foolproof: players may flash their quick wits in winning responses, but they're even funnier when they fail. In one game a team had to devise a pick-up line, each member contributing a word. Moving rapidly from player to player, the line developed: "Tonight-I'll-tango-with-your-face." Probably wouldn't work at a bar, but at ComedySportz it killed. --Ryan Hubbard $19
Staged readings of unproduced screenplays. $7
Three original 20-minute shows. $5http://annoyanceproductions.com
With Scott Free, featuring gay and lesbian spoken-word artists.http://homolatte.com
Sketch groups perform material that "they are still playing around with." 21+http://thepubtheater.com