October 30, 2014

An Open Mic Protocol...

Joe McMahon
Like it or not, there are rules to everything. Life is full of them, from our judicial system to professional sports. Sure you don't have to follow those rules and some choose not to, but there are  will be repercussions.

Open Mics are no exception. There is a protocol to it, a certain way of doing things. If you are familiar with the Chicago Open Mic scene you know there is a ton of new hopeful comedians that attempt this art/craft each week. To help this newbie influx, we wanted to put together a brief list of unwritten rules that might help new folks get acclimated to the Chicago scene.

1: Note book manners:
Many new comics bring a notebook on the stage to help reference material and that's fine, but don't just stand there and read your jokes line by line (seen it happen many times). That will kill the energy of the room and you'll never learn the finer nuances of timing, delivery etc.

October 29, 2014

The Brand New WIP Theater!

As a comedian, if you’ve had the pleasure of doing any shows in the neighborhood of Edison Park, there is a good chance that show was produced by Tony Valle. For years now Tony has dedicated himself to both the craft of comedy as well as his desire to bring live entertainment to the traditionally under-served Edison Park neighborhood.

Those desires are culminating now in his new venture, The WIP Theater. Located in the heart of Edison Park, the goal of the WIP is to be a one-stop shop for the locals. The styles of shows they offer are varied: Plays, Comedy Shows, Free Children’s Theatre, Improv, etc. It’s an entertainment hub, giving something for everybody, close to home instead of 45 minutes away.

October 28, 2014

Weekly Top 5

The Weekly Top 5 is back! This list is subjective, based on opinions and only covers events we actually went to. So of course, we missed some shit. Here are the 5 BEST THINGS that happened last week.


Doug Stanhope at Reggies Rock Club: Wow, what a monster of a show. It was standing room only and the rowdy, hard drinking crowd was packed in like sardines. No one complained though, because the man they had come to see was on fire. Stanhope murdered the crowd for well over two hours, delivering the goods to the point of exhaustion. Covering everything from Muslim extremism, to atheism, to his body's various ailments. It was non strop laughs from front to back. Plus Stanhope handled a jackass, anoyingly British heckler, in such a deft and brilliant manner that security had to escort the offender away from the stage - not because Stanhope asked them to mind you - but because the comedian laid in to the poor bastard so thoroughly that the crowd was getting ready to rip his head off.

October 27, 2014

What's Popping!

Punchline panic @ Zanies - Tonight!
As usual, there are some solid Chicago comedy events happening this week. Shows like the Laugh Factory's Halloween Show, the Punchline panic at Zanies, and The Blind Bet Show are all recommended highly. This is of course just a small sample of what's happening. Check out our club/show  page for a more complete listing of Chicago comedy options. Here's what's popping this week...

at Zanies
1548 North Wells St.
Each month, 8 of Chicago's best comedians receive 90 minutes to write and perform brand new material based around a common theme.
September Lineup:
Brian Babylon
Brian Aldridge
The Puterbaugh Sisterz
Sydney Adenyii
James Vickery
Adam Grabowski
Kyle Scanlan
David Drake
Hosted by Emily Galati and Nate Weatherup

October 24, 2014

Interview with Mike Lebovitz!

Everything about Mike Lebovitz is hilarious. His wildly energetic, off-beat yet "classic comedy" style has made him a well deserved Chicago favorite. One of the founding members of the popular Chicago-based collective, Comedians You Should Know, Mike is recording his debut album in his home town/club this weekend (Fri at 9PM & Sat at 8:30PM & 10PM), at Timothy O'Toole's. We sat down with Mike inside the showroom of Timothy O'Toole's (the very home of CYSK) to get the low down on his new album recording.

THE ALBUM

COMEDY OF CHICAGO: What are your thoughts about your set going into this album recording?

MIKE LEBOVITZ: I don’t want it to be TOO polished, ya know what I mean? Like, I want to be able to be strong and hard hitting and have the material work, but I still want to be able to make a connection with the people in the room. When you listen to it, I want you to feel like you’re part of the crowd.

COC: Is there any particular theme for the album?

ML: Eh, basically I just kinda wanna put it all down. I want to make an imprint and say, “This is where the act was at on October, 2014.” And that will be there forever. I feel like I have an hour that I like and I won’t always have that hour. So, I feel like it’s time to put it on record—literally!

October 23, 2014

The Controversial Definitive Answer To Your Halloween Comedy Show - By Jeff Hansen

On the surface, it would seem the marriage between stand-up comedy and Halloween is a perfect one.

Right? Wrong.

Beneath the surface of this "white, picket fence, two and a half kids, great business jobs" relationship lies a dark underbelly of controversy, lies, hate, and malice. Is it North side Halloween? Is it South side Halloween? East side? West? Northcoast Halloween? South by Southwest Austin Halloween? Are there more ghouls than ghosts? Are you an all ghost show? Do too many of your ghosts have beards? Do you have at least one skeleton on the show to keep it REALLY Halloween? Can you even really say you're a Halloween show WITHOUT a skeleton?
Put on your favorite mask, think of a half-assed backstory twelve minutes before your set, tell a few play-on-word jokes, and VOILA. You just did Halloween Comedy.

Good. Fucking. Christ.

Yeah. It's a lot to handle.

October 22, 2014

Interview with Yannis Pappas

Yannis Pappas (international headliner from Brooklyn) is bringing his variety show to Chicago at the UP Comedy Club this weekend. Yannis has been featured on CBS, ABC, BET, MTV, AXS TV, VH1, and Comedy Central. He's well known for his characters, Maurica Rodriguez and Mr. Panos who have become internet sensations generating millions of views on YouTube.

Yannis’ comedic journey has been nothing close to ordinary. He survived being shot, and he’s also been struck by lightning. A true survivor who is one of a kind, and was nice enough to share his crazy tales, along with tips on how to prepare for a TV special, and what it takes to have a long, successful career in this industry.

October 20, 2014

Clean Makes Green

Dobie Maxwell
As I sat around looking at my laundry list of topics, subtopics and tangents I wanted to address concerning the subject of standup comedy, the one I think is most important to get to before even thinking about getting started with anything else is the term “clean”. What does it mean exactly?

I’ve been around a long time and this has always been a major point of heated discussion to the point of bitter argument. The term itself is rather cloudy, and has a different meaning to everyone who uses it. It’s like describing a potential blind date’s looks to a friend using the word “cute”.