Friday, March 6, 2015

8 Mics in 1 Monday

My goal was to do 10 mics on a Monday night. Why 10 mics? Because there’s a ton of mics on Monday, and why not? I've been hitting as many mics as I can, doing 69 total mics last month. I decided to mix it up and get a little crazy. Faizan Hussain agreed to join me in the challenge, along with a couple crew members:

Allen Green – Our very own comedy driver. Allen produces the “Tell It From the Heart” storytelling/comedy show every first & third Tuesday at Sedgewick Stop, and he is producer/photographer of the Second City Sunday Morning stories & open mic.

Lauren Huffman – Our comedy cheerleader. She is co-host & co-producer of the Second City Sunday Morning stories.

The master mic list was set (or so we thought). It originally included: Wheelhouse, Smush, Globe, iO, Comedy Sportz, Logan Theatre, Merkles, Schubas, Town Hall, & Rockwood. These are all excellent Monday mics that I personally recommend. With the amount of mics available on Mondays, I recommend attending at least 3 of them.

Before the night began, we heard Merkles was off. No biggie, we could substitute in Subterranean Lounge. Then, we heard Rockwood was off, BUT we heard that Jeff Steinbrunner was starting a new mic at the Drop Lounge on this night, so bam! Still good! THEN...Smush—canceled as well. Damnit! We had to go to either Kafein mic in Evanston or Riddles in Alsip—hosted by Jay Washington. Evanston was a shorter drive and we would be strapped for time, so we chose accordingly.

Mic #1: Kafein
Located at Kafein coffee house in Evanston. Hosted by Brandon Cummings.
Sign up: 6:30 PM
Start: 7:00 PM

This is a coffee shop music mic in the Northwestern University area. Despite the drive, it was a great start to the night, and a fun experience outside of the city.

Mic #2: Not My Wheelhouse
Located at The Butcher’s Tap. Hosted by Dave Metz, Mathias Muschal, and J. Michael Osborne.
Sign up: 7:00 PM
Start: 7:30 PM

This isn’t your average bar mic with TVs, darts, and other distractions. It is in a separate room upstairs, dedicated to comedy. They offer a $10 “All You Can Drink” wristband from 7-8PM, and cheeseburger, fries, & PBR tall boy for $11.

The night was going well, and then we got word about Comedy Sportz—also canceled. NOOOOO!!! But hey, no time to cry, had to move on to the next mic.

Mic #3: Globe
This is a long time successful Monday mic. I don’t have to say that it’s great, because we already know it is. Run by the one and only, Laura Hugg, and on this particular night, hosted by Jim Choy.
Sign up: 8:00 PM
Start: 8:30 PM

Always a fun time. We tried our best to not get distracted and stressed over the fact that we had to find a 10th mic to replace Comedy Sportz. That’s when cheerleader Lauren turned into logistics Lauren, as she found us a mic at Quenchers Saloon—a music mic, but they welcome comedy. Back on track! WOOO!

At this point of the night, we went to Schubas nearby hoping to get a fourth set in. Although, they seemed too busy to put us up and told us to come back in an hour. In the meantime, we kept it movin’.

Mic #4: Logan Theatre
Another historic Monday night mic run by the lovely Lia Berman.
Sign up: Online through Facebook & at OR arrive at 8:00
Start: 8:30

In the heart of Logan Square, this is the only mic located inside a movie theater, which makes it that much more fun and unique. And sure, other bar mics also serve popcorn, but you can’t beat movie theater popcorn! We had a fun time at this mic. Lia could not have been nicer and more helpful with our pursuit.

Mic #5: Town Hall
Located at Town Hall Pub. Hosted by Seth Crowe.
Sign up: 10:00 PM
Start: 10:30 PM

I heard rumors that this mic used to be frequented by Hannibal Buress & Robin Williams. Is it true? Who knows? I do know that it is a fun late night mic that prides itself with $1 jello shots, vodka gummy bears, drunken pudding, and of course, $3 PBRs. No matter what you choose, Kim the bartender will treat you well.

At this point of the night, we decided to go to iO before it got too late. We got there and noticed a crowd of people leaving the showroom. I wanted to stay positive and believe that maybe it was an improv class that had just ended. That’s when we opened the doors to an empty room of darkness. 10 mics would no longer be possible. It was a hard pill to swallow. But, we had to keep moving.

We drove to Schubas a second time, hoping that this time we could get our set in. Still too busy. Still unable to put us up. We were told to come back again...

Exhaustion set in strong. Motivation waned, and we began to feel discouraged. It was becoming realistic that we may not even be able to do 9 mics. We were tired, frustrated, and annoyed. Only one thing would turn this night around: A good set.

Mic #6: Subterranean Lounge
Located in the heart of Wicker Park. First Monday of every month. Run by Sean Monroe, hosted by Kevin Bulger. They do a podcast called Podtalk312 at, in which we were featured.
Sign up: 9:00
Start: 9:30

For all the comics who complain about Jokes & Notes being too far, Sub T Lounge gives you no excuse. It is a warm, welcoming atmosphere with a bar that offers a $6 cocktail and $3 shots.

I’m glad to have discovered this room. I had a fun time, and a fun set. I began to catch a second wind. We were ready to keep the night rockin! On the way back to Schubas!

As soon as we finished our set at Sub T Lounge, we got word...Schubas just ended. NOOOO! It was a kick in the groin. Faizan was ready to call it a night then and there, and I angrily shouted, “If mics are still going, then we’re still going!”

Mic #7: Quenchers Saloon
Run by Ray the bartender. Hosted by Darren Amaya.
Sign up: 9:30 PM
Start: 10:00 PM

Even though this is a music mic, Ray the bartender allowed us to come through. The crowd was great, atmosphere was friendly. Another fun set that went our way to help us forget about the parts of the night that didn’t go our way.

Mic #8: The Drop Lounge
Run by Jeff Steinbrunner—yes THE Jeff Steinbrunner of Chicago Underground Comedy & CYSK. It’s a great set up with a drink special that includes a rotating selection of craft Drop shots for $6. Oh, and they’re open till 4am!
Sign Up: 10:30
Start: 11:00

A lot of comics kept asking, “Why would Jeff Steinbrunner run an open mic??” Uhh, ‘cause he can?! Just go to it! This was a fun late night room with an amazing turn out on its debut night.

All in all, Allen the driver drove us 44 miles on this crazy pursuit. Yes, we went for 10 and sure, we came up short with only 8. But hey, we STILL did 8 mics in a single night! Is 10 mics in one night possible? Without a doubt! Will we do it again? God no! But who knows, maybe somebody else will...

Staff Writer: David Gavri
David Gavri is a stand-up comedian, writer and founder of the online comedy sites Gonzo Fame and Comedy Scene in Houston.