A Kiki is urban slang for a party with good music and friends meant to calm the nerves, allowing people to spill the tea and dish the dirt for the purpose of reducing anxiety and stress. Given the political climate, the LGBTQ community and their allies seem in desperate need of a kiki.
Early in 2017, the Laugh Factory Chicago (3175 North Broadway) launched the new LGBTQ monthly show, the Kiki — Queer Comedy with Variety. Since then, the Kiki has provided a solid roster featuring Chicago’s top queer talent.
Comedy, Variety and the Unexpected
Kiki Coproducer Scott Duff had been hosting/producing Chigayco, a monthly night of queer and queer friendly comedy at Laugh Factory Chicago for three and a half years and featured some of the most talented gay and gay-friendly comics in the nation. The Kiki came about when Duff began looking for a way to expand the reach of the show, both in terms of the audience and in the type of performers. “I knew I wanted a greater variety of performers, so I partnered with Erin Diamond, Eric Lewis-Baker, and Peter Kim to create an all queer show that incorporates other comedic disciplines: music, essays, character work, storytelling, as well as stand-up.”
The Kiki features spoken word artists, improvisers, and of course, comics and offers a terrific platform for queer talent outside the traditional stand-up label. The show has a new line up every month. Duff added, “Our show is all about looking at life through a queer lens, and celebrating the queer experience through fabulously funny artists. You will see stand-up, music, storytelling, and whatever else we cook up.”
The LGBTQ Recipe for Humor
When asked about the essence of LGBT humor, Duff replied, “I think LGBTQ humor, like most humor, comes from a place of honesty, pain, and perseverance. It's all about holding up a fun house mirror to society and show all of the warped bits to folks. Only with a little bit of glitter and snark.”
Duff’s Chicago Picks
For LGBTQ places to hit for a cocktail or two before or after the show, Duff suggests patrons hop on over to Halsted and hit up Sidetrack (3349 N. Halsted) or Roscoes (3356 N. Halsted), Hydrate (3458 N. Halsted), or stay on Broadway and try The Closet (3325 N. Broadway). “There is something for everyone nearby. The Kit Kat Lounge (3700 N. Halsted) has great martinis and drag queens!”
If you’re looking for brunch before you hit up The Kiki, Duff suggests the Lakeview eateries D.S. Tequila, (3352 N. Halsted), Ceres' Table, (3124 N. Broadway), or Wilde, (3130 N. Broadway). After the show, Duff loves going to Ping Pong (3322 N. Broadway). “They are open late, have fabulous cocktails, and their Beijing Vegetarian is not to be missed.”
As his must-see-Chicago item, Duff recommends the Thorne Rooms exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago (111 S. Michigan), “These tiny rooms are incredibly detailed recreations of rooms throughout history. I think they are amazing!”
An LGBTQ Ally
The Laugh Factory and its innovative owner Jamie Masada have always maintained a fundamental philosophy of treating the talent and the audiences with respect , and this core idea extends to the LGBTQ community. From the start, Masada worked to make his clubs progressive, accepting, and a safe place for all patrons. When AIDS began to ravage the gay community, condoms were distributed at shows and when Masada discovered some of his comics remained closeted in fear of public backlash, he started the popular gay comedy show, “Coming Out of the Closet.”
In 2012, the Laugh Factory brought its brand, and philosophy of acceptance to Chicago, opening at the renovated Lakeshore Theatre. Chicago's Laugh Factory offers seating for 311 in an intimate, dinner theater-like setting. The high ceilings allow for balcony seating and the venue includes a full bar with table service and a selection of appetizers.
At The Kiki one can expect the sometimes unexpected as well as video clips, audience interaction, games, and, of course, comedy. One thing patrons can he sure of is an evening of laughter and pride. The Kiki is the second Sunday of every month at 5:00pm. Doors open at 4:00 and seating is first come first serve, so arrive early for optimal seats. At Laugh Factory Chicago all shows are 18 and over. For details and reservations please visit laughfactory.com/clubs/chicago or call (773) 327-3175.
Find other entertainment options with these spotlights on Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club and The Baton Show Lounge (home to the longest-running female impersonation show of its kind), plus game nights/dance parties at Big Chicks. For more LGBTQ events, itineraries and neighborhood essentials, explore the online Gay Travel Chicago Guide and download the 2017 OUT! Chicago & Illinois LGBTQ Visitor's Guide.