Prominent names in comedy, like Janelle James and Dave Attell, join on-the-rise comics and a returning stand-up pop-up in this latest batch of Chicago comedy shows and events.
Brandon Wardell at The Hideout
The very young (and already famous) Wardell is most popular amongst twentysomethings, but his humor is translatable to jaded thirtysomethings as well. He’s logged many appearances on Comedy Central, MTV and VICELAND, as well as two albums, with one due out later this year with an ASMR theme.
Details: March 10, 9 p.m.; $10
Dave Attell at The Improv
The term “comic’s comic” gets used frequently to describe a comedian who fellow comedians enjoy, and there’s no better living embodiment of this than Dave Attell. A 30-year seasoned veteran and tried-and-true “road dog,” Attell is a true master of his craft, delivering biting (and usually filthy) material about his life on the road, dating and the current social landscape. Don’t be surprised to find yourself quoting his jokes for months afterward.
Details: March 15-17, showtimes and prices vary
Parlour Car Pop-up at Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar
Formerly at the now shuttered Bar DeVille, (and later Sportsman’s Club), the Chicago-based stand-up show has been on hiatus for roughly a year. Chicago Magazine named Parlour Car “the best stand-up show in Chicago,” and it’s been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times, Chicago Reader, RedEye and morning news. The lineups feature a diverse offering of the best comedians in Chicago, and the shows are no stranger to drop-in guests (former drop-ins include Marc Maron, Hannibal Buress, Kyle Kinane and TJ Miller). The show is free (with a suggested donation), and seating is first come, first served, so get there early if you want a seat.
Details: March 28, 9 p.m.; free
James Acaster at Lincoln Lodge
Hugely popular in the U.K. (his shows are currently sold out through December 2019), Acaster is making a one-night Chicago stop in the midst of a two-week U.S. tour. Aside from stand-up, he has regular TV and radio appearances, a YouTube show, several lauded shows at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and he’s received glowing acclaim from publications all over England. These Lincoln Lodge shows sold out almost instantly, but keep an eye out for last minute releases, walk-up tickets or good ol’ fashioned Craigslist scalpers.
Details: March 31, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.; $20
Ramy Youssef at The Hideout
Jersey native and current New York resident, Youssef made his television debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and is currently in production for the Hulu series Ramy, starring Youssef and based on his own life. The rising star comic is also gearing up to tape a stand-up special for HBO, which is one of the highest achievements for modern comedians. It won’t be long before Youssef is a household name, so catch him at The Hideout for $10 before you’re shelling out $60 at Chicago Theatre in two years.
Details: April 1, 9 p.m.; $10
Janelle James at Lincoln Lodge
With recent appearances on Late Night with Seth Myers, HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup, Janelle James is currently on fire. Her TV credits are just the most recent in
her long list of accomplishments, which include performing at the illustrious Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, as well as opening for Chris Rock on his Total Blackout tour, and regularly opening for Hannibal Buress.
Details: April 5 and 6, 8 p.m.; $18
Middleditch & Schwartz at the Chicago Theatre
Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation, House of Lies), perform two-person long-form improv on the regal Chicago Theatre stage. Prior to their TV fame, both actors/comedians were sketch comedy performers; Middleditch got his start in Chicago and was one of the founders of The Improvised Shakespeare Company. Aside from improv, the show will likely be replete with zany characters and a little sketch comedy for good measure.
Details: April 6, 8 p.m.
Nate Bargatze at The Vic Theatre
One of the best comics working today, Bargatze is a favorite among audiences and comics alike. His first album, Yelled at By a Clown (2014), made it to #2 on the Billboard Comedy Chart, and his second album, Full Time Magic (2015), made it to Billboard’s #1. He’s also got several late-night talk show appearances, a Netflix special on The Standups and another Netflix hour special due out later in 2019. There’s not many comics that can be considered “for everyone,” but Bargatze certainly fits this bill.
Details: April 6, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.; $32.50