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God, Sex & Death Variety Hour

First Wednesday of the month: 7:30 PM

Many a mental health professional advises that if you're really afraid of something, the best thing to do is confront your fear. That's sort of what comedian/musician Danny Black is up to with the God, Sex, and Death Variety Hour. During his opening monologue at the August show, Black, who plays host, admits he's terrified of death but swears that "talking about it makes it better." In reference to the god part, Black says he had a religious experience on a retreat once—god spoke to him, obviously—but he mostly ignored it at the time; so giving the guy (or gal) a nod now seems like the polite thing to do. The inclusion of sex as a topic—at any time, in any universe—seems self-explanatory. Continue reading >>

Schubas (map)
3159 N. Southport Ave.
phone 773-525-2508
God, Sex & Death Variety Hour


No-Tell Motel

Open run: Wed 10 PM

If you need a little burlesque excitement to make it through your workweek, look no further than No-Tell Motel, the weekly showcase dubbed Best Midweek Burlesque Break in our 2014 Best of Chicago issue. Reader contributor Jay Gentile writes that the "hump-day party features pyrotechnics and dancers humping power sanders that spray streams of sparks into the audience." So maybe bring some protective eyewear.

Debonair Social Club (map)
1575 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Wicker Park/Bucktown
phone 773-227-7790


Surprise Party

Wed 8 PM

As we took a couple of bar seats near the stage at Lilly's, on Lincoln, my friend whispered to me, "This isn't going to be an open-mike thing, is it?" I don't necessarily have a problem with open-mike nights—hey, comedians gotta learn how to comedy somewhere—but I could tell from his tone he does, so I told him no and crossed my fingers. I was basically telling the truth. Surprise Party, which had its inaugural show just last week, is more like a variety-show/open-mike hybrid that benefits from some structure and curation—and a bologna sandwich. As emcee Jamie Campbell explained, the show operates thusly: each week five walk-in open-mike spots are drawn from a beer pitcher. In between the stand-up, comics perform prepared bits, including a character piece, a demonstration, and a rant. It culminates in a joke-off in which two comedians take the same audience suggestion and write a three-minute routine on the fly. The evening's highlight was Ali Clayton's character piece, a hilariously physical bit in which she played a sexy bologna sandwich—a sultry rendition of the Oscar Mayer bologna song and some tasteful air humping included. Cody Melcher delivered an impassioned demonstration about how not to be a horrible human being. And Tyler Snodgrass shared confessions about a certain sexual act Southern Baptists can perform with limited guilt. Kelsie Huff, who is just great, wrapped up the night with a story about coming face-to-face with her dad's penis during a house fire. "This is gonna be a real dumb show. It's gonna be stupid as shit," Campbell said during his opening monologue, the understanding being that that's a good thing. Which it was. —Gwynedd Stuart

Lilly's (map)
2513 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-525-2422
Surprise Party


The Flabby Hoffman Comedy Cavalcade

Open run: Wed 8 PM

A comedy variety show hosted Flabby Hoffman.

3420 West Grace Street
Irving Park
phone (773) 478-4408
The Flabby Hoffman Comedy Cavalcade


Virgin Daiquiri

2/25, 8 PM

Improv by an all-female ensemble.

iO Theater (map)
1501 N. Kingsbury


Cole's Comedy Open Mike

Wednesdays, 9 p.m.

Originally started by Cameron Esposito and Adam Burke, this is a great place to check out—or try out—some fresh material.
Cole's (map)
2338 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Logan Square
phone 773-276-5802


Congrats On Your Success

First Thursday of every month, 7 p.m.

Rebecca O'Neil hosts this BYOB comedy show that features local stand-ups and is, curiously enough, operated out of a used book store.

Uncharted Books (map)
2630 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Logan Square Congrats On Your Success


Chrissy Gardner

Thursdays, 8 PM

at the Piano Bar


Parlour Car

Open run: Thu 8 PM

Local comics Matty Ryan, Kenny DeForest, and Adam Burke present a weekly stand-up showcase.
Bar DeVille (map)
701 N. Damen Ave.
Ukrainian Village/East Village
phone 312-929-2349


Stand Up Stand Up

Open run: Thu 9 PM

A weekly comedy showcase featuring local performers, hosted by Keith Paesel, Todd Massey, Ken Witzgall, and Jake McKenzie.

Crocodile Lounge (map)
1540 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Wicker Park/Bucktown
phone 773-252-0880


Happy Hour

Open run: Thu 6 p.m.

Maria Wojciechowski and Marty DeRosa host this BYOB comedy showcase, complete with audience drinking games throughout the night. $5

Playground Theater (map)
3209 N. Halsted St.
phone 773-871-3793


Deja Vu (map)
2624 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-871-0205


Bernice's Tavern (map)
3238 S. Halsted St.
phone 312-907-1580


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