There's no denying it: Chicago is seriously funny. Whether you want to send groups to see hilarious improv sketches, head-to-head comedy battles or straight-up stand-up, it's all here. Review this guide for highlights on the hottest comedy shows in town.
The beauty of improv comedy is that you never see the same show twice. The Second City is one of the most masterful companies within this genre, helping launch the careers of celebs like Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert. In fact, in September 2012, Saturday Night Live hired three new cast members who had all performed on The Second City stages.
A great show for groups? The Second City's highly interactive Improv All-Stars, offered year-round. Or, check out some seasonal shows, like winter's Nutcracking Holiday Revue, which features a blend of hilarious scenes, songs and trademark improv with a sprig of holiday mischief.
Group tickets: Call Tiffany Smith at 312-664-4032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Two teams. One referee. Endless laughs. That's the name of the game at ComedySportz Theatre in Lakeview.
The ComedySportz show is one particular fan favorite — and, no, it's not a show filled with sports jokes. Putting a twist on traditional improv, the Blue Team and the Red Team play short-form improv games in front of a referee, as the audience influences every scene and song. The Applause-o-meter helps measure which team receives the loudest laughs and cheers, while the ref calls the infamous "Brown Bag Foul" whenever a bad word slips out. It's smart, clean comedy at its best.
Group tickets: Call 773-549-8080
OPEN MIC NIGHT
When you're looking for laughs from fresh faces, new talent and the next big stars, open mic night is the way to go — specifically Open Mic Night at the world-famous Laugh Factory.
Open Mic Night is held every Wednesday at 7:30pm and features a round-up of locals who each have three minutes to shine while performing original, G-rated material. (Those who perform well move onto showcase, and top showcasers become Laugh Factory regulars, like Jamie Kennedy.)
Group tickets: Call 773-327-3175
WEEKLY STAND UP
No matter when you're visiting Chicago, there's bound to be a side-splitting stand-up show at Zanies Comedy Club. Nearly every night brings hilarious comedians onto the stage.
A few examples: Kevin Bozeman from "Last Comic Standing," Jimmy Pardo, Hannibal Buress, Gilbert Gottfried, Tom Green, Greg Proops, Doug Benson and Richard Lewis all had shows at Zanies in 2012. Of course, there are regular comedy series to keep on your radar as well. The Rising Star Showcase features 10–12 professional comedians of all styles; Female Funnies launches a ladies night of laughs featuring five to 10 of Chicago's funniest femaile comics; Queer Comedy brings you a mix of gay and straight comedians, new faces and favorites; and the Crystal Pistol Showcase brings together six of the best comics in Chicago once a month for one show.
Tickets: Call 312-337-4027
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