November 28, 2014

Giving Thanks to Good Hosts

Kelsie Huff
Hosting a comedy show can be a thankless job. Often audiences don’t even realize when a host is crushing it. They simply feel the experience of a great night and don’t comprehend the power a host has in shaping the ebb and flow of their evening’s entertainment.

Most stand-ups have stories of shitty hosts, everyone remembers: the host who doesn’t take the time to correctly pronounce names, introduces comedians as “the girl”, or “the black guy”, or "the fifth bearded white dude of the night”. Those crap hosts ruin the the rep for the hosts who do the real work.

A solid host wears different hats throughout the night, holds down the fort, wins the spirit award, makes every comedian who walks up feel welcomed and successful and leaves the audience thinking, “I sure am glad I decided to put on pants and go out tonight.”

November 26, 2014

A Dangerous Question

Mary Runkle
“Why aren’t I getting booked?” is a question countless open mic comics have asked. It can be really challenging when you’re funny, having good sets, but haven’t turned the corner into showcasing yet. As a predominantly open mic comic, I want to share the things I say to myself when those hateful words run through my brain or even worse, eke out of my mouth!

1. No One Owes You Anything.
Producers book whomever they want, whatever their reasons. No one is entitled to a spot, even from their friends. The vast majority of shows have a specific focus and want to be the best they can be. Whether or not you’re invited has to do with how funny you are and if you’re right for the room, nothing else. Rejection can be a bitter pill to swallow, but remember, you don’t owe anyone anything, either.

November 25, 2014

INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS BADER

This Tuesday (Nov 25th), Laugh Factory Chicago is launching NEW MATERIAL NIGHT with Chris Bader. The first show features a stacked lineup including:
Kristen Toomey
Martin Morrow
Jeff Arcuri
Drew Michael
+ More

Contributing writer Matt Chiaramonte sat down with host and show creator Chris Bader to learn a little more about this new show.

COMEDY OF CHICAGO: How/When did you get into Stand-Up comedy?

CHRIS BADER: I did an open mic at college when I was 20 in front of my fraternity, shortly after I did a talent show. I did a few more shows and then stopped. I started back up in late 2011. 2012 was really the time the Laugh factory started giving me regular spots, although I was still kind of figuring stuff out.

November 24, 2014

Whats Popping!

Erica Clark Records her Album!
Well, it's almost Thanksgiving and the first real significant snow of the year is falling. Apparently winter is on it's way with a vengeance. But don't let that get you down. The Chicago comedy scene has lots of offerings to keep you inside, warm & entertained. 

A show to definitely keep on your radar is Erica Clark recording her album at Blackout Diaries. We've plugged the Blackout Diaries many times and this show is definitely worth checking out. If your not familiar with BD you should be. It's a hilarious live interactive comedy show where comics (& real people) tell true drinking stories. Plus audience members can ask the performers any questions they like at the end of the show, which quite often is as funny as the show itself. Rising star comedian and Blackout Diaries favorite Erica Clark (daughter of MR. T - yeah seriously) is going to record her album there this weekend. Get details here or just buy tickets here. Should be a bananas type event. Recommended highly.

Other shows to keep on your radar are Set to Scene, Comedians You Should Know, Punchline Panic, TWO & A HALF BLACK MEN, and The Shit Show just to name a few. Check out what's popping this week.

November 21, 2014

Interview with Tommy Davidson!

Tommy Davidson is best known for being one of the original stars of the hit TV show In Living Color, working alongside Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey, Jennifer Lopez, The Wayans Brothers, and even Tupac! Tommy went on to play countless roles in a number of films and TV series, and he never stopped doing stand up. He has three Showtime comedy specials: Takin’ It To D.C., Illin’ In Philly, & On The Strength In NYC. Tommy is in town performing this weekend at the Chicago Improv. He was nice enough to give advice for comics, discuss the ups and downs of fame & success, talk about working with Tupac, and of course, sharing his wisdom from the other side of the barricade. Enjoy!

TALKIN’ SHOP

COMEDY OF CHICAGO: You’re a very animated comedian. Where does that come from?

TOMMY DAVIDSON: There’s a few things: 1) I’m natural like that. I always used to be the kind of kid that was real descriptive about things. So that’s somethin’ that’s just in me. It’s like a natural part of how I am. 2) WATCHING. The comedians that I liked and the comedy that I’m attracted to is somebody who moves a lot and can convey a lot of ideas in a short amount of time. I never was attracted to the kind of comedians who go, “Sooo...I’m from Kansas City...annnd in Kansas City, we have this and we have that...” [laughs] I like something loud and fast-paced and energetic. And 3) LEARNING. Learning from stage and learning from improv, how to take that to another level.

November 20, 2014

Storytelling & Stand-Up Nerds Unite!

Question: What happens when a bunch of nerds join forces?

Answer: Awesomeness.

Real Genius. Awesome. Ghostbusters. Awesome. Goonies. Awesome. Sure, on the surface it seems that when nerds collaborate their alliances tend to lean towards chaos, destruction and explosions. (See also MythBusters) United nerds may accidentally (or on purpose) blow some shit up, but in doing so they also shift the consciousness of those around them, alter the landscape of their environment and often become more talented nerds in the process.

November 19, 2014

Recap of Chicago Mic Fest!

The Chicago comedy scene celebrated its very first Chicago Open Mic Festival this past weekend. The event was put on by Monte LaMonte & Collin A. Bullock. Over 60 comics came to take part in the extravanganza, experiencing all the elements that make open mics both lovely and loathsome. The goal was to attend every single mic, and out of the seven total mics that were part of the fest, I attended six of them. With that said, I give you the recap of the entire experience:

THURSDAY

The Mic Fest kick-off began at Candela Latin Cuisine in Logan Square. Sign up began at 8:00. Now, if you got there early enough you should have been able to get a good spot on the sign-up list, right? Wrong. It’s still an open mic! Which means there is bound to be an unpleasant surprise element designed to crush your soul just before you get on stage...

November 18, 2014

Queer Comedy at Zanies!

Adam Guerino
In honor of Tuesday’s Queer Comedy show at Zanies Comedy Club, I talked with three of the comedians in the show about performing comedy. Being a comedian is a very unique calling and defies many expectations. To lift the veil a little bit, I asked them how being a comedian is different than people might assume.

For myself, I think that unlike other careers, people have a lot of assumptions about a comedian’s life. Like it’s a character trait rather than a career. The number one thing I get asked in every day life is always, “Is this your bit?” Like every conversation I have is an open mic or something.