September 30, 2011

The Chaser Open Mic!

Jamie Campbell
Kevin Hogan
Derek Smith
Decided to go to the weekly open mic at The Comedy Sportz Theatre, AKA "The Chaser", which is back from it's summer hiatus on Monday nights in the neighborhood of Lakeview. In my opinion this is one of the best open mics going on right now. Why? Well, most importantly, it's a proper damn theater. Dark and noisy bars might be fine for drinking and carousing but not so much for getting your laugh on. Unfortunately, a makeshift stage next to the kitchen, poor lighting, drunk douche bag patrons and suck ass inadequate sound is the the norm for far too many open mics. Audiences will always be distracted and comedians always less focused in that type of venue. This is where Comedy Sportz shines. Great lighting, a superb a sound system and professional seating really add to the fancy pants theater quality experience for both audience members and comics alike. Secondly host Jaime Campbell runs a tight ass room. As far as I could tell every comic got stage time and no one went over the time limit. I love the fact that they have a timer on flat screens next to the stage and will cut the mic off if need be, which keeps things moving along smoothly. I also dig the egalitarian policy of letting those comics who wait until the end of the night get first crack at signing up for next weeks show. What!? I think that's brilliant, what other open mic does that? Nobody (I know of). It ensures all comics get a fair shot for the prime early time slots, plus its a subtle way of keeping the audience padded. But the coolest aspect of "The Chaser" is that audience members get to vote for their favorite comic at the end of the show and who ever wins gets a spot on the lineup of the popular "100 Proof" comedy showcase that immediately precedes it. Again a cool perk that I don't think any other open mic offers.  Speaking of audience members, the chaser has them. Most open mics are 90 percent comics waiting for their turn, not always the best audience, but at the "The Chaser", as far as I could tell based on questions posed to the crowd, was 40% regular civilians. Any open mic veteran will tell you that's a great ratio. So if your a comic looking to practice your craft in a professional venue or a just a Chicago comedy fan who wants to attend an open mic in a super comfortable setting then "100 Proof" is for you.  Highly recommended.  Every Monday, 9:30 PM @ Comedy Sportz Theatre 929 W. Belmont

James Allen Kamp
Editor