Weekend Popping!

It's a stacked weekend for stand-up comedy. Festivals, anniversary shows, hot downtown mega shows, intimate river north clubs, you name it. Here's what's popping this weekend.

The Onion & AV Club Present
The 2nd Annual 26th Annual Comedy Festival.
If you know anything about the Chicago comedy scene you know that this festival has been in full swing all week. Don't fret if you've missed out so far, there are still some great shows to catch like:
at UP Comedy Club - 8:00 PM
with Adam Burke
at Thalia Hall - 9:00 PM

Kick Punch Stand Up - 5/29/2015
David Rader hosts
Joe Nudelman
Ben Banach
Danny Maupin
Tristan Nigel Triptow
Keith Paesel
Totally Free!
FRIDAY - 8:00PM!

That Makes You Crazy

In comedy we hear several tales of depression, mental disorders, and what would otherwise be sad stories being turned for humor purposes. The feeling is every comedian has their demons.

I’ve often times said that stand-up is my therapy. After dealing with the death of a close family member I dove head first into the comedy scene in my hometown without acknowledging that my career was my distraction from the realization of the loss. I remember the night of, I did a set at a local open mic with my mom in the audience. At the time that was my escape - but that doesn’t make me or any of my comedy peers lunatics.

The truth is for any job you have to be a little crazy. When you set yourself up for judgment it seems like a daunting task that no regular human would want to take on. Looking deeper, every job is like comedy in that sense. We work for laughs and the basis of our ranking in our career is based on laughs and who is around when those laughs happen.

If you’re an office intern and you want a promotion, you’re going to be judged and evaluated based on your performance. If you’re in the military, your ranking is based on what you do and how you do it. You’re rewarded with badges and raises. Comedians are awarded with festivals and TV credits. The truth is not in the art of comedy, but in living.

Contributing Writer
Martin Morrow

Whatever happened to that dude?

Junior Stopka
Remember that comic? You know the guy who would go up scream "Karate! Karate!" then leave?

I really love Chicago stand-up comedy. It's not as weird as I remembered, but it's definitely more inviting. Sometimes on a road, my drunk driver comedian friend will ask me, "Whatever happened to this comic?", or "Hey! I remember that guy!". Usually it's in the form of really bad comedians, really weird comedians, or really awesome comedians who just stopped performing.

I'm going to do a little background information so you can experience the brutality of performing and the dedication people had in this scene. I remember there was only a handful of open-mics six or seven years ago, some good, some bad and usually poorly attended. The first time I signed up at Mix (which was at that time called Crush and before that another name I can't seem to remember right now), I was number 50 on the list. The audience, who were also the comedians, dwindled at the end of the night and literally three comedians stared at you doing your threesome with a horse bit. It somehow "burned" and closed a few years ago. That's "too bad". But the memories of the performers were awesome.

Onion & AV Club Festival AFTERSHOW Sets!!


So apparently the Second Annual 26th Annual Comedy Festival, produced by The A.V. Club and The Onion is having a TON of amazing "Aftershows" next week after the regular festival events (props to Virgin Hotel & Silvercar). Case in point, you can check out Kyle Kinane and DJ Tony Trim for FREE.


What!? Yeah I know. Pretty ridiculous. The second comedy act on Thursday is listed right now as "secret comedy guest" but chances pretty damn good it will be equally as dope. This all happens, by the way, at the BRAND new, swanky as hell, Virgin Hotel Chicago on the 25th floor. Right!? I KNOW! But better hop to it and RSVP on the quick. Trust me, tickets will go fast and space is limited. Here is the complete Aftershow lineup:

The Jay Washington Interview

Jay Washington is one of the hardest working comedians in Chicago today: He runs the Laughing Insanity show once a month at The Laugh Factory, he produces a live radio show and website called Educated Insanity every Wednesday at 5PM Central, and he runs the open mic at Riddles Comedy Club every Monday night. Jay also auditioned this year for the prestigious Just For Laughs, festival in Montreal, and just got offered a part in Spike Lee’s latest film, Chirac. On top of it all, Jay is a professional wrestler of 13 years. And most importantly, he is a father of two children.

In this interview, Jay talks about what it is like to be a professional wrestler, advice on the business of comedy, tips for having the best JFL audition, and so much more. Enjoy!


How did you get into wrestling?

It used to be a secret society to learn how to become a professional wrestler. You used to have to know somebody who was in it. Not everybody knew about the business. There was no behind-the-scenes documentary to pro-wrestling. But, I loved it as a kid and one of my good friends joined a pro wrestling company back in 2000. He told me I should join with him, so I did and I started training there. Eventually, I started going on the road with it. And then, the rest is history.

Laughing So You Don't Cry

“Hey guys, here’s the worst thing about getting divorced … I now have to leave the house to
disappoint people.”

This is a joke I’ve been telling onstage for about two months. To me, this is one of the funniest things I’ve ever written. It’s cute and self-deprecating. I like the little twist. It’s a fun short little joke shell to lob into an audience and hope for a nice laugh explosion.

And yet, it never gets the laugh it deserves. The joke does well enough at open mics, but that doesn’t count. Often, the only people there are other comedians, and they’re just waiting to find something dark and painful to laugh at.

Is The Chicago Comedy Market Sustainable?

Danny Kallas
Laughter is a fickle mistress. Every night, all of the country, stand-up comics stand in front of microphones and attempt to make strangers laugh. From a half-empty bar in Danville, Kentucky to a sold out show at Carnegie Hall, you’ll find the same weirdos with a spark in their eyes, chasing after that basic human emotion.

Ask any comic why they do what they do, and you’ll get generally the same answer. “I want to make people laugh.” It seems like a bizarrely selfless need for such a cut-throat industry. It’s sweet to imagine that from the biggest headliners down to the kid trying out his first open-mic, they all crave the same thing. And if that was end-all and be-all of the comedy world, everyone would be happy and unicorns would fart rainbows. But unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your feelings towards unicorn farts) that’s not the way the world works. After the comic makes someone laugh, they want to keep doing it. That means moving up, making a name for themselves, moving from open mics to featuring at a small club to headlining all over your city. Suddenly, that selfless need has been replaced by new needs, namely, money and notoriety.

Adam Burke VS the Heckler

Comedian Adam Burke is a Stalwart if the Chicago scene. Originally from the UK, Burke is a fixture at shows/clubs across Chicago and the Midwest. Here he is at Fourstar Stand-Ups handling a heckler. By the way, Fourstar is really producing some excellent Chicago based comedy television right now. It's all filmed LIVE at the world renowned  JBTV Studios here in Chicago. This is a very exciting development for the Chicago scene since the production value is top notch. Keep an eye on this showcase for sure.

Wanna get in on the action?
RSVP as a member of the LIVE studio audience.
Next episode tapes:
May 19, 2015
318 W. Grand, Chicago, 60654 United States