December 18, 2014

Why I Teach an all Female Stand-up Class

For the last three years I have been teaching Feminine Comique, an all female stand-up class created by Cameron Esposito. Fem Com, as it is called by the locals, is under the umbrella of the non-profit organization Tight Five Productions* which is commandeered by Chicago’s legendary Brit, Mark Geary.

My connection to Fem Com was much like the 90’s infomercial Hair Club for Men. I was also a client. I enrolled in Fem Com** because I was a solo performer who needed to learn how to self edit and craft punchlines. A few of my friends took the class and recommended it. I loved it. When Cameron decided to move to LA she asked me if I would be interested in carrying on the Fem Com torch. I accepted.

December 17, 2014

Interview with Drew Frees

Born in Indiana, adopted by Chicago. Drew Frees’ experience on the stage spans well over 10 years. He started performing in plays back in school, then he moved on to doing improvisation with people like T.J. Miller at the iO Theatre and Second City, and then Frees graduated to stand up where he now performs all around the Midwest and all the top clubs & showcases right here in Chicago. Frees headlined at The World Famous Laugh Factory this past weekend, and was awesome enough to talk shop before the show, giving advice on how to properly construct an act, what it takes to be consistent, and why bombing isn't as bad as you think.

BACKSTORY

COC: How did you get into comedy?

Drew Frees: When I was in high school, I did this sketch show and someone from Indianapolis saw me and asked me to be in this comedy play that they did. I was 17 years old, I decided to do it. We went to all these high schools and did this play. I got to be “The Funny Guy” and everybody was laughing at me! I was just like, “Wow this is AWESOME! I wanna do comedy!” [laughs]

December 15, 2014

Wha'ts Popping!

Yo! As per usual there are some pretty stacked Chicago comedy events going down this week and the weather is actually fairly decent (for a Chicago winter) so it's a great week to get out. A show that should definitely be on your radar is An Informative Evening which is a collaboration between the satirical website The Whisky Journal and the stand-up comedy collective "Chicago Underground Comedy". The show is being billed as "a night of socially and politically driven Sketch and Improv comedy" along with a solid lineup of Chicago comics.

December 12, 2014

Weekend Popping!

Yo! Looking for cool stuff to do this weekend? No plans made yet? We've got you covered. As per usual the Chicago comedy scene is jumping with great shows and although we usually start the week off with a "what's popping" segment, sometimes a few weekend shows get lost in the shuffle... Here's what's popping this weekend...

ART OF COMEDY
at the NYCH Art Gallery - 643 W. 18th St. 773-413-9565
Not a traditional comedy show, but still pretty cool. Ten Chicago comedians show off their paintings, graphic designs, photography and sculpture at this show, which also features a stand-up and storytelling performance.
Featuring the art of:
Sam Norton (FOX's "Laughs") * 
Monte LaMonte (I Shit you Not) * 
Charlie Rohrer (Congrats on Your Success) 
Meredith Kachel (Hoo Ha Comedy)
Cody Melcher (Tomefoolery)
James Webb, (Stand Up Stand Up Producer)
Nathyn Gibson (Black Star Comedy)
Shannon Noll(Impress These Apes)
Luis Cardenas  (Chicago Underground Comedy)
Brandon Kirkman (Ego Trip Club producer)
6 - 10PM, It's FREE!
TONIGHT! 6 - 10PM

December 11, 2014

In the News...

So yeah, this site for the most part is a Chicago Centric comedy blog, but we also cover news and entertainment events from New York, Hollywood and all over the world and the last month of 2014 has been a real doozy of a news cycle. From Americas Got Talent Auditions to a Chris Rock & Dave Chappelle tour rumor to The 11 Best Stand-Up Specials of 2014. We put together a nice fat list of comedy and entertainment news links that should be on your radar.

Chicago leg of the Americas Got Talent auditions. First off we want to plug the AGT auditions (January 24 & 25th). The NBC network's number one talent show has started it's search for next summers contestants.  Word is they are specifically looking for some talented comedians to participate (contacted us on this directly) so don’t miss this opportunity to showcase your comedy skills. Now some hipster types might be rolling their eyes, but they shouldn't. Chicago's own Jacob Williams got on AGT as a semifinalist and parlayed that into a recurring role on MTV's Wild N Out with Nick Cannon - not too shabby. Even if your not a comedian AGT is open to any age and any talent so dust off those roller skates, juggling pins and batons.

December 10, 2014

The Kelsie Huff Interview

If you haven’t met Kelsie Huff, you’re in for a treat: A regular performer at Zanies, The Laugh UP Comedy Club, Mayne Stage, and Comedy on State, who has also appeared on Chicago’s daytime TV show, Windy City Live. She has played a variety of comedy festivals that include: New Orleans, North Carolina, Boston Women in Comedy, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Chicago Funny Female Festival, and the Chicago Comedy Exposition. Aside from all that, she and Amy Sumter formed the two-women sketch comedy team Children of the Absurd, and together ran a show titled 10% Less Fat all over the Midwest.
Factory,

Huff also has a couple of one-woman shows: Her first one titled Huffs was well acclaimed by Time Out Chicago and won the “Boulder Fringe Festival Encore Award” where she received the Camera Eye Award for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” for comedy. Huff’s second one-woman show, Bruiser: Tales From a Traumatized Tomboy received 4 out of 4 stars in the Chicago Stage Review as well as “Best Solo Performance of 2011”. On top of it all, Huff is a senior cast member of Comedy Sportz 100 Proof Comedy, she teaches a stand up class called Feminine Comique produced by Tight Five Productions, and she produces a monthly comedy showcase, The Kates. Oh, and she also does commercials, sketches & shorts, and voice-over work!

December 9, 2014

These are 10 Shows...

You know what's cool about Chicago's storytelling scene? You can't define it.

There isn't one right way to tell a story and there are countless ways to do a show: weekly mics, curated showcases, thematic one-off events and hybrids in between. Some performers read, while others never bring notes onstage. Musicians, comedians, puppets and spoken word artists. The only way to figure out if you like something is to try it.

So I asked a bunch of hosts to give me two words to describe what they want their audiences and performers to take away. Here are some of my favorites. I've experienced all of these as an audience member and all but one as a performer. If you want in, check out their sites or e-mail the hosts. Better yet, show up and give it a try.

December 8, 2014

Real Talk + What's popping

Usually I just do a straight "What's Popping" segment on Mondays, but wanted to switch it up and plug this video called Real Talk. It's a web based series where Chicago-based comics sit down and interview other performers (apparently drunk) in some random  car on the streets of Chicago. Yeah I know, sounds like a premise ripe for disaster.. but trust me there is some comedy gold in this clip. First guest was Chicago based rising star comedian Sean White, fresh off his new album recording. They talk comedy shop and Sean spouts drunk wisdom on stand-up, death and three piece suits... Funny shit. Produced by Araceli Vargas and Natasha Samreny


First guest was Chicago based rising star comedian Sean White, fresh off his new album recording. They talk comedy shop and Sean spouts drunk wisdom on stand-up, death and three piece suits... Funny shit. Produced by Araceli Vargas and Natasha Samreny

Don't miss the Sean Whites pet project BEEF at Hungry Brain this Thursday...
Or catch the man himself tonight at Sadsacks and Wisecracks at The High Hat Club