I see a number of comedy shows. I mostly watch improv and it takes a lot for me to fall for a sketch show, but I've recently become pretty excited about a couple. If you have a hole in your heart that only laughter will fill, check out these four comedy events you MUST see before it's too late.
"That's What We Said" by Shanna's Mom
Where: Donny's Skybox at The Second City (1608 N. Wells St.)
This show starts out strong and never misses a beat. It opens with an original song about summertime in Chicago and winds itself through awkward dating situations, angry dancing, hipster individuality, political struggles and wraps up with an original thug-life rap. I don't want to give too many details because I hope you all get a chance to see the show.
I was continuously (and pleasantly) surprised by the smart, grounded and satirical perspective on life. A good comedic rap will win me over every time and these guys gave me not one, but two solid raps and a series of intentional and unexpected bad dancing. "That's What We Said" was everything I could have ever asked for in a sketch show and when the hour was up, it felt as if I'd only been there for 20 minutes. Congratulations Shanna's Mom, you've won me over.
The last show of this run is this Friday, August 16 at 7:30pm at Donny's Skybox at Second City. Do yourself a favor and get a ticket before they sell out...again. You can keep up with their future endeavors on Facebook.
"Kweens of Comedy" hosted by Middle Child
Where: The Playground Theater (3209 N. Halsted St.)
Ladies and gentlemen, I promise you have never seen anything like this before. Middle Child has teamed up with local Chicago drag queens to put on an improv show. There's a featured drag queen every week who answers questions from the audience which are used as inspiration for Middle Child's scenes. This show is a love child created by Casey Whitaker and her hairstylist, Britney Shears (James Rosko), with the intention of providing a new outlet for all artists involved to express themselves. Not only is Middle Child a wonderfully fun improv team to watch perform, but when you couple these gorgeous (seriously, they're gorgeous) drag queens with this comedic talent, it makes for a night of pure entertainment.
Kweens of Comedy will be performing at The Playground Theater every Friday night at 10:00pm in August and September (with the exception of September 13). It'll really be a drag if you miss this run...pun intended.
"The Lockout: A Musical" by Six Hours Short
Where: American Theater Company (1909 W. Bryon St.)
Loosely based on the 2011 NBA Lockout, "The Lockout: A Musical" follows the budding bromance of an owner and player who find themselves on opposite sides of a bitter labor dispute. Written by Six Hours Short co-founders Ben Fort and Jason Gallagher, "TheLockout: A Musical" has attracted the attention of real-life NBA writers and executives.
The 16-person cast has been rehearsing since early May to record a full-length album with 12 original songs. You can hear the album streaming on their website. The show is BYOB, so let's be honest, it doesn't get much better than that. "The Lockout: A Musical" opens next Friday, August 23rd and tickets are available now. I can't wait to see this show, it's destined to be an incredible production. You can follow the show on Twitter at @LockoutMusical.
"Jangleheart Circus" presented by The Upstairs Gallery
Where: The Den Theatre (1333 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
The proprietors of The Upstairs Gallery (and friends) have gone out of their way to pull together 96 teams, comprised of 404 comedians, to perform on three stages over a three-day comedy festival. You can thank them at said festival. "Jangleheart Circus" was created based on the idea that the average Chicago improviser (or aficionado) could go to one location, see a number of shows and have the flexibility to go from show to show with one ticket.
They only reached out to four acts - Cook County Social Club, Boyish, Tim Baltz and Rainbow Deli- all of which are confirmed and the rest of the shows were submissions and Upstairs Gallery house teams. Goes to show that word of mouth and a solid reputation spreads pretty fast. The festival will be next Thursday, Friday, Saturday, August 22-24 from 7pm to 3:30am. I would venture to guess this will hit capacity and sell out, so to guarantee yourself a spot, you can buy your tickets ahead of time. Day passes are $20 and a weekend pass is $50. Saddle up folks; this three-ring circus will keep you up past your bedtime.
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