Monday, August 23, 2010

Adam Carolla Live!

Damn!! When it rains it pours right!? I know I said I was going to try to post daily and that the last post was a week ago and everybody hates it when you start to dig a  blog but then they slack off. But man! o man! I just got my dream job (producer/editor) and have been working seven days straight since Tuesday with no days off in sight.

Since I signed a confidentiality agreement all I can really say about it is it's AWESOME and Adam Corolla will be hosting at the grand opening Aug 26th. Come check it out, 233 Huron 6 PM, it's FREE. And COMEDIANS, you can see one of the best stand ups in the country do his thing, maybe get a chance to meet him, did I mention it's FREE! I will post as much as I can when I can......

James Allen Kamp

Monday, August 16, 2010

Schubas Open Mic!

Marty DeRosa
In my head I knew what I had to do. If I was serious about producing a Chicago stand up comedy blog I was going to have to get it done. It had been a while and I knew it was time. Time to sit through an entire open mic. Now when you’re not a comic and you’re not there to support a friend or hang with your bartender buddy. Sitting through an open Mic can be a fucking painful experience. But in the Chicago Comedy scene there are a couple of exceptions to this and Schubas is one of them.

This is the room where the veterans come to do sets, comics who have years, not months, under their belts. So I went to Schubas last night for the weekly Sunday open mic. Scubas is kind of like the old west, anything can happen and you’re not that surprised when it does. If you’ve never been to schubas, they do the comedy upstairs, in a separate room which I like.

The overall feel is sort of a cocktail lounge atmosphere mostly with tables and chairs and then some comfy looking couches in the back. I pick a quiet chair with my back to the wall (cop one style), drop my bag and head over to the bar. Turns out the bartender is a comic named Brad Labree who will host his own showcase @ Schubas called “Laugh it up” featuring Rick Shapiro on September 8th.

Mike Lebovitz
Brad was nice enough to introduce me to the host for that evening Bradley Fojas. Turns out Bradley started this particular open mic with James Fritz and Prescott Tolk a few years back. He has since moved to LA to pursue his comedy and where he runs a weekly open mic and is only in town for a few days but agreed to host, nice guy. Things start a little rough, the first couple of comics were just so-so, one was awful, but Bradley keeps things moving smoothly and as the night progresses the quality really improves.

Set after set gets better and better, laughs get louder. I noticed veterans start popping up. Soon it’s a regular who’s who in the Chicago comedy scene, I spy James Fritz , Marty DeRosa, and Tony Blanco to name a few, all of whom are just chilling. Bill Dykes goes up (this is a 10 year vet) and cuts it up nicely. Liza Treyger goes up, she is a funny funny ass woman. Then Brad LaBree and Mike Lebovitz go up and rock it.

Brendon McGowan saunters up to the microphone and just KILLS IT, everyone in the room is busting up and Bradley lets him go on for like 10 minutes. Many others rocked their sets as well. Overall an impressive night. If you’re a comedy fan but have been reluctant to attend open mics for quality reasons. GO TO SCHUBAS. This room is really is a showcase open mic and you can’t beat the price. For you comics who want to perform @ Schubas you better bring you’re “A” game, because everyone else is, that’s for sure.

James Allen Kamp

Friday, August 13, 2010

Interview with Dave Odd

When I arrived in Chicago two years ago, one of the things I knew I had to try was an open mic. After much searching on the net I went to the The Edge Comedy Club at the Chicago Center for Performing Arts. I was terrified, my material was untested and to be honest mediocre. But surprisingly the experience was quite positive, the crowd was supportive and I actually got some laughs.

I have no desire to be a comic but I wanted to have the experience and The Edge was a great way to get my feet wet. The host was a funny guy named Dave Odd who would give notes to anyone who asked him. I went back a few times and saw regulars like Junior Stopka, Drew Michael and Hannibal Burress, all local comics who have since moved on to other "more seasoned" rooms, but at the time I had no idea who they were, just that they all were showing up at this particular open mic. Later after working at the Lakeshore Theater did I realize what a small world the Chicago comedy scene can be.

The Lakeshore is closed but Dave Odd's "Edge Comedy Club" is still going strong. I sat down with Dave and and got some insight into his perspective on the Chicago comedy scene. We covered everything from his motivation to the politics of comedy. One thing that really comes across when speaking with Dave is how passionate he is. The man has been producing comedy since 2001. He's done multiple shows in the city and suburbs, at one point he had showcases at seven different venues running simultaneously. In 2003 Dave produced a $1000 comedy contest at the Lakeshore Theater which was one of the first shows to bring stand up comedy to that influential venue.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Comedy of Chicago: Junior Stopka Video Interview Part 2

Junior Stopka Interview Part 2 with Bill Dykes. This is nice excahnge between two seasoned comics. Junior and Bill "TALK SHOP". They discuss everything from tips for newbie comics to stupid club owners and their retarded ways. These guys have over 15 years between them, if you want some insight into to the comedy game PAY ATTENTION. Plus more clips of Juniors recent show @ the Mayne Stage.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Comedy of Chicago: Junior Stopka Video Interview!

As promised here is the part one of a video interview with Junior Stopka. He talks about his first open mic and why he is driven to do stand up comedy. The interview is cut with some great one liners from his set at the Mayne Stage this past Saturday. This is a Comedy of Chicago exclusive video, you won't find it on youtube, myspace, facebook etc. Funny stuff, enjoy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Interview with Junior Stopka!

I got chance to interview Junior Stopka after he performed a great set on Saturday night as part of the Lakeshore Theater Presents showcase at the Mayne Stage in Rogers Park.

Junior went for a solid 30 minutes and had the audience in Stitches the entire time. If you have never seen Junior perform live, YOU are missing out, they guy really is an amazing talent.

His style is a little hard to describe. Definitely edgy, manically endearing and slightly creepy. A young Williams Carlin hybrid? But whatever his "style" is, it works.

Junior just has an ability to connect to whatever audience happens to be in front of him at any given show. Audiences like him, I like him you will like him too. Someone to watch in 2010

Full interview is now online!

James Allen Kamp

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Comedy of Chicago: Lakeshore Theater Presents!

Damn what a great show last night! The Mayne Stage in Rogers Park hosted the Lakeshore Theater Presents Stone Cold Comedy (yeah I know it's a mouthful) and it was a nice slice of heaven for all Chicago comedy fans and Lakeshore Theater supporters in particular. Hosted by funny girl Stacey Norgren, the show was a who's who of the great comedy scene here in the Chicagoland area. First came Drew Michael who was his usual sardonic self "Makeup sex is nothing compared to restraining order sex". Mike Stanley was polished as always explaining how he would not do well in prison "lets face it folks I'm rape-able". Beth Stelling was KILLING the crowd last night with her self mocking deadpan one liners "so I was on my way to CVS..... for dinner". And last but not least you got Junior Stopka who had the crowd in the palm of his hand with his first freaking joke, "I'll tell ya who gives the best head... VAGINAAAA!" Over 90 minutes of grade A, uncut, real deal, art of comedy material. Comic after comic, joke after joke. Last night's show was a perfect example of why I do this blog, and why I think the Chicago Comedy scene is the best in the country and should be blowing up in a huge way. This is not hyperbole or ass kissing, the scene here is unlike any comedy scene anywhere else period. I hope they do more of theses showcases at the Mayne Stage because the place is perfect for it.

James Allen Kamp

Friday, August 6, 2010

Funky Fridays

Lots going on this weekend. First and foremost if you support local Chicago comics, hell if you just want to lounge around in a $10 million theater like your rich, get YOUR entire ASS up to the Mayne Stage this Saturday for the "Lakeshore Presents" showcase with Drew Michael, Beth Stelling, Junior Stopka, and Mike Stanley, plus some surprises. All for $5.... Wait let me spell that out for you F-I-V-E DOLLARS! Cant beat that with a baseball bat, plus it really is the best talent in the city. I know, I know, it's father north then Santa's fucking workshop, but trust me, it will be worth it. Also this weekend you got tons of other showcase options like: Red Bar Comedy Show and a Showcase @ The Edge Comedy Club, just to name a few. For a super way more complete listing check out 5 Drink Minimum's Chicago comedy calendar. Happy Friday!

Yo!! The Open Mic @ Rockit has been CANCELLED I went in there and it sounds like it's once a month but no word on the next show....

James Allen Kamp

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rocky LaPorte

Went to the Mayne Stage Saturday night in rogers park to see Rocky Laporte. I had never heard of the guy so I was a bit dubious, but I gotta say he was very funny.

He's definitely channeling the ghost of Lou Costello and has got the "I'm just a simple Italian guy" routine down pat. But don't let that fool you, the man is a polished professional with quite a repertoire of family friendly material. He worked the Chicago crowd like a pro, cracked some improvised jokes, handled some light heckling and kept the set moving at a tight pace.

The small crowd seemed more then satisfied and he was nice enough to take pics with whoever asked.  The drinks are surprisingly affordable ($3 PBR) and the staff was friendly and attentive. No drink minimum and I hear the food is superb. And the theater? Forget about it. Plush luxurious booths, dark wood paneling, top notch sound and lights, not a bad seat in the house a decent place for comedy despite the far north address.

James Allen Kamp

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Welcome to Comedy of Chicago

Well here we go the first freaking post of Comedy of Chicago. Our goal is to be a comprehensive site/blog that supports and informs those involved in the Chicago Comedy scene both as performers, supporters and spectators. The main impetus for the creation of this site was the lack, as I see it, of sites that are dedicated to blogging/reporting about the scene as a whole. Now before you scream at me about the great Chicago comedy sites like:, 5 Drink Minimum, Comedians You Should Know or Chicago Underground Comedy, let me simply say those sites are great and they promote very well their own rooms or comedic view point. What we (by we I mean me and my invisible interns) are trying to do is bring it all together and to post about the whole scene on a (almost) daily basis. If your new to the scene, you should be aware that there is great comedy to be had Mon-Sun in this town and our goal is to bring it to you through reviews of open mics and local showcases, interviews with comics and producers, upcoming shows and links to anybody doing anything good for comedy in Chicago.