The comedy scene in Chicago is huge. In fact, you can see shows live seven nights a week all over the city. Many of them come and go, but these four Chicago comedy staples always entertain, no matter when—and how often—you drop in for a show.
3Peat // FREE show first Mondays of the month
Mondays at 10 p.m. at the iO Theater (1501 N. Kingsbury Street). Tickets are $5.
3Peat is taking Chicago by storm. This group of African American improv, sketch comedy and stand-up performers and teachers put up one of the best long-form improv shows week after week at the iO Theater in Lincoln Park.
Each show begins with a suggestion or a personal question from the audience. Someone from 3Peat will perform a monologue based on that suggestion, and then the group does what they do best—slay the stage. Their range of characters, nonstop energy and hilarious dialogue ensure an unforgettable evening. What makes them truly stand out is the kinetic energy on stage: You can truly tell these comedians love performing with each other. 3Peat also closes out the DiOversity Jam on the first Monday of each month (and it's free!).
VAMP: A Music Comedy Drinking Show // BYOB!!
Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30 p.m. at MCL Chicago (3110 N. Sheffield Avenue). Tickets are $18 general, $15 student.
You don't have to be a musical-theater geek to enjoy performances at MCL Chicago Comedy Theater in Lakeview, the home of musical improv. Their weekly show, VAMP, mixes games, singing, a live band and alcohol for a night of nonstop laughter. The fabulously dressed cast of 16 rotates each show, plus they mix up the improv games, so you'll see a variety of songs, scenes, raps and celebrity impersonations. Performing improv is already impressive, but watching them rhyme takes things to a whole other level.
The Best of The Second City // See the next big stars
Mondays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 4 p.m. at the Second City Mainstage (1616 N. Wells Street). Tickets start at $23.
Iconic comedians have performed on The Second City Mainstage, and this show gives you the opportunity to see the next big stars! The Second City Touring Company casts rotate to perform an archive show Monday nights and Saturday afternoons, featuring the best sketches, songs, and improvisations from the theater's 50+ year history.
It's election season, so I was lucky enough to catch an outstanding political satire show. All of the productions at The Second City are hilarious, but this weekly show gives you the chance to see classic material. Be sure to stick around for the improvised third act!
ComedySportz // Comedy heats up the competition
Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. at CSz Theater Chicago (929 W. Belmont Avenue). Tickets are $25.
If you like fast and funny improv comedy, then look no further than ComedySportz at CSz Theater Chicago in Lakeview. This 90-minute competitive match features two teams going head to head all night long and a referee to call the games and essentially host the entire show.
It's commonly compared to the popular TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, but I think ComedySportz stands out on its own. The professional ensemble performs clean comedy for all ages, proving they don't need to swear in order to make you laugh. Plus, it's highly interactive, with the "loyal fans" (AKA audience members) offering suggestions and volunteering to participate throughout the show. Jock status not required. You simply have to be in the mood to laugh!
Learn more about the local comedy circuit with a Chicago comedy guide to all the top clubs and festivals, or head straight to the laughs at The Second City to see where famous alumni like Tina Fey, Bill Murray and Stephen Colbert learned their craft.