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Stand-Up Search – Recommended

4 total results

Gilbert Gottfried

Thu 11/20, 7:30 and 9:30 PM

With a loudmouth voice as subtle as a chorus of chain saws gnawing through a monster-truck tire—which is, coincidentally, a pretty decent description of its timbre—comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried has long had success lending his pipes to cartoon characters. His embodiment of Iago, Jafar's hotheaded parrot sidekick in Aladdin, probably remains his most notable voice-acting role ("Look at this. I'm so ticked off I'm molting"). By no stretch, however, is Gottfried's voice used only for good. While it might translate as colorful and uproarious in a family-friendly Disney film, it'll sound abrasive and derisive when spouting absolute filth and malice in jokes that would make Caligula blush. Those are Gottfried's bread and butter: the inappropriate and the outrageous. That's when he hums. The proof is in the Comedy Central Roasts, in which Gottfried is a regular participant, annihilating easy-target celebrities like David Hasselhoff, Bob Saget, and the late Joan Rivers, with whom he shared a fictional sexcapade that he riffs about in excruciating, gruesome detail. He's poetic in his takedowns, his signature squint staring straight into the camera as he taunts comedy with how far he'll push a joke, and push a crowd. (His roast of Hugh Hefner in 2001 included a 9/11 joke that prompted a "Too soon!" cry from the audience.) And the yelling only makes it funnier, because it adds shock value. No matter how raw or gross Gottfried's punch lines get, the over-the-top production of the joke is more hilarious than its reveal. It's like watching the man behind the curtain burn the curtain to the ground and then take a piss on it. For further proof, please track down the YouTube video of Gottfried's rendition of the infamous "the Aristocrats" joke from the 2005 movie of the same name. There are more references to fisting in his five-minute-plus version than should be legally allowed in a comic's lifetime. —Kevin Warwick

$25 plus two-drink minimum

Zanies (map)
1548 N. Wells St.
Old Town
phone 312-337-4027


Todd Glass

11/20-11/22: Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 10:30 PM

Glass is a thinking man's comic with a boisterous stage presence and a well-informed opinion on virtually any topic. On his podcast The Todd Glass Show, he and fellow comedians dissect everything from their starts in stand-up to Glass's love of candles, but tonight he'll probably just tell some great jokes. $20

Up Comedy Club (map)
230 W. North Ave.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992
Todd Glass


Entertaining Julia

Open run: Sun 9:30 PM

The strength of Chicago's small but lively stand-up scene is its make-your-own-show mentality. Long overshadowed by a storied improv tradition, local stand-up comics have essentially been forced into adopting a DIY approach to producing and booking shows. The best places to see stand-up in this town remain bars, bookstores, and anywhere else that doesn't require a two-drink minimum. Case in point: Entertaining Julia, the free comedy/variety show started in 2007 by Jena Freidman (currently a field producer for The Daily Show) that's located in the back of a Boystown dive. Now hosted by local staples Danielle and Tiffany Puterbaugh—aka the Puterbaugh Sisters—the weekly show at Town Hall Pub promises not only the best in local stand-up but anything that fits the sisters' absurd, irreverent, and queer-friendly ethos. A night at Entertaining Julia—so named because the point of the show is to get Julia Pishko, the bartender, to crack a smile—might include stand-up, sketch, improv, music, burlesque, performance art, or a one-person show. It's up for grabs. The only thing that's certain about EJ is its reputation. Chicago expats like TJ Miller, Cameron Esposito, and former cohost Beth Stelling are sure to pop in whenever they're in town, and even national acts (Bobcat Goldthwait, Robin Williams) have been known to drop by. —Drew Hunt

Town Hall Pub (map)
3340 N. Halsted St.
phone 773-472-4405
Entertaining Julia


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


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