The Best of Chi-Town Comedy
Filled up on beer and food? Now it’s time to laugh. Chicago is home to some of the world’s best comedy clubs, and have fostered the careers of Jim and John Belushi, Tina Fey and Jack Benny, to name a few. See below for an at-a-glance look at some of the funniest the city has to offer.
Best Chicago Comedy Clubs
Founded by Mick Napier 24 years ago, this legendary comedy club serves as a home for classic comedians on the Chicago scene, as well as up-and-coming writers eager to create a loyal audience following. Many people that have performed within this troupe have gone on to become successful stage and screen actors, including film director John Waters and comedian Charlie Callas. Mick Napier even penned his experiences running Annoyance Theatre in a 2004 manual called Improvise, which is often used as a guidebook for aspiring improv performers.
4830 N. Broadway
This improv, sketch and standup joint has helped launched the careers for Jason Sudeikis and Jack McBrayer (Kenneth on “30 Rock“), and provides a more experimental slant on comedy. The Playground is a non-profit, and its progressive DIY attitude allows writers and actors more creative control. This black-box theater is open seven days a week, always $10 and under. Don’t forget to bring your green, as the theatre is cash only.
3209 N. Halsted St.
List of the Top Comedy Clubs in Chicago
Best Chicago Stand Up Comedians
This 35-year-old comedian/actor has been working the comedy circuit for over 10 years. He got his start during his college years when, while he attended a local school and his friends went away, he began writing them hilarious letters of his “crazy experiences” at home. What began as letters to friends grew into a small mailing list. That’s when he knew he could make people laugh. Last year, Flannery performed a successful run of his one-man show, “Never Been to Paris,” in both NYC and Chicago. Now the show has been revived for the fall season at The Comedy Bar, and features Jim Belushi as the opener. In 2010, Flannery was named “Best Comic in Chicago.”
Texas native and now top Chicago comedienne, Ever Mainard is known for tackling taboo themes in her standup acts that have helped earn her the title of one of the most influential women in Chicago comedy. So far this year, Mainard has performed at several comedy festivals, including Just for Laughs and Bridgetown Comedy Festival. Her monthly show, “The Shit Show,” has been called “hip with cross-genre comedy,” by the Onion A.V. Club. She’s also a member of Chicago Underground Comedy and performs at the Beat Kitchen every Tuesday night.