This week we need comedy and comedians more than ever. Comedy’s value is in the laughing for sure, but the laughing springs from connecting through fresh and therapeutic perspectives. Chicago comedy offers that restorative effect every week and thankfully, this week is typical which means it’s extraordinary.

The Chicago Podcast Festival begins tonight and goes through Sunday!

In town: Martins! Namely, Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Demetri Martin. Visitors also include Dylan Moran, Eddie Izzard, John Heffron, Jen Kirkman, Barry Crimmons, and Elizabeth Teets.

Second City debuts its new Mainstage Revue!

Sometimes I feel like if I want any guarantee of peace, I need make only one decision. Stay at home and hide in the bathtub. But there are much better options! Last year, thanks to Josh Mills, I posted a trio of interviews about gun violence prevention. There are actions we can take to make this world safer. For real, concrete ideas, please check out my interview with the Brady Campaign’s Kim Parker Russell.

Following is this week’s spotlight. It’s a fraction of all the great comedy happening through Sunday. Please confirm all details. Thank you for reading and thank you to the Chicago comedy community for being an oasis in a chaotic world.

 

MONDAY, OCTOBER 2

The Chicago Podcast Festival is tonight through Sunday. Providers of high octane premium brain fuel include Andy Richter, Matt Besser, Tim Meadows, Susan Orlean, Tania Richard, Bill Kurtis, Rex Huppke, Paul Farahvar, and Amy Guth. Follow link for schedule.

 

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3

Cocktail Comedy at House of Blues’ Foundation Room, 329 N. Dearborn, 6:00 p.m. Produced by James Allen Kamp, creator of the most excellent comedyofchicago.com. DJ Tone-Knee kicks off the evening at 6:00 p.m. Stand-up showcases at 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. RSVP for free admission. Early arrival recommended. Seats go fast! Always a great, diverse line-up of Chicago’s top comedians and surprise drop-ins.

7:30: Chris Trani, Dame Grant, Mona Aburmishan, and Marty DeRosa

9:00: Doc Love, Dan Drees, Chris Trani, and Joe Kilgallon

Second City’s 106th Mainstage Revue at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, 8:00 p.m. The all new revue is here! Written and performed by Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Kelsey Kinney, Jeffrey Murdoch, Tien Tran and Nate Varrone. Show times throughout the week. Follow link for all details.

Chicago Underground Comedy at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 9:30 p.m. One of comedy’s most groundbreaking showcases. Some of the comedians who launched their careers here: Cameron Esposito, Beth Stelling, TJ Miller, Dan Telfer, Kumail Nanjiani. Tonight Ed Hansen hosts Josh Ejnes, Shannon Knoll, Miles Hendrix, Spark Tabor, Meredith Kachel, Stephanie Weber, Dillon Dialto, and Marilee.

 

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4

Dylan Moran at The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 8:00 p.m.Dylan Moran is “the greatest comedian living or dead,” according to Le Monde. Tonight this Irish comedian brings his Grumbling Mustard tour to Chicago.

 

Psychotic Break at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 8:00 p.m. Chicago’s mental illness and addiction themed variety show featuring comedians, storytellers, and musicians. With Kat Herskovic. Hosted by Jenn Sodiniand Daniel Shapiro.

Comedians You Should Know at Timothy O’Toole’s, 622 N. Fairbanks Ct., 9:30 p.m. Featuring Adam Burke, Bobby Hill, Jonah Jurkens, Danny Kallas, Andrew Lopez, and Marilee.

 

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5

John Heffron at The Improv, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m.Through Sunday. Follow link for all show times.

 

eddie-izzard-bookEddie Izzard at The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 8:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday night. Eddie Izzard will discuss his new memoir Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens and answer questions from the audience. You can also purchase a VIP package which includes a photo opportunity and a signed copy of the book.

Casual Anxiety at Second City’s Blackout Cabaret, 1616 N. Wells, 8:30 p.m. Comedy about the small anxieties that loom large.

Group Improvised Comedy at Comedy Clubhouse, 1462 N. Ashland, 8:00 p.m. Long form improv (20-25 minutes) by three teams of up to 10 improvisers, each based on an audience suggestion. Thursdays through Sundays. Follow link for details, show times and a great explanation of what makes improv an art form like no other.

Messing with a Friend at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, 10:30 p.m. This is a show where the improvisers morph from character to character before your eyes. Believable and magical at the same time. A little bit dangerous, too. Anything can happen. Susan Messing was named “Best Improviser” by the Reader and “Improviser of the Year” at the Chicago Improv Festival. This week’s friend is Emily Fightmaster.

 

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6

The Interview Show at The Hideout Inn, 1354 W. Wabansia, 6:30 p.m.Mark Bazer interviews Porochista Khakpour (Novelist/Memoirist, Author of The Last Illusion and forthcoming Sick: A Life of Lyme, Love, Illness, and Addiction), Barry Crimmins (Comedian, Subject of Bobcat Goldthwait’s documentary Call Me Lucky), Rich Cohen (Author: The Chicago Cubs: Story of CurseTough Jews, and more), Joseph Chilliams (Rapper) Whitney Middleton (Stylist to Artists, Including Chance the Rapper, Jamila Woods). Will be recorded for WTTW.

VHS Comedy at @North Bar, 1637 W. North Ave., 8:00 p.m. Top comic commentary and stand-up based on the most absurd videotapes in existence. Everything from action-adventure to infomercials to scary kids’ shows. Here’s a chance to see these treasure as never before. Tonight Tom Wisdom and Ian Erickson host Sammy Arechar (Laugh Factory), Elizabeth Teets (visiting from Portland), Tim McLaughlin (Laugh Factory), and Brittany Meyer (Strip Joker).

Steve Martin and Martin Short at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Lives.” Stand-up, film clips, music and conversations about the Martins’ lives in show business.

 

Jen Kirkman: All New Material Girl Tour at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport, 9:00 p.m. Jen Kirkman is also a television writer (Chelsea Lately), narrator (Drunk History) and a New York Times bestselling author. VIP ticket upgrade includes a meet-and-greet. Details here.

 

Homecoming Hellraiser at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, 10:30 p.m.“Everything from opera to comedy to dog singing to drag.” Tonight kicks off Stage 773’s fortieth anniversary celebration. Proceeds benefit the theater’s renovation project. More to come tomorrow night and in November.

 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7

Homecoming Pub Crawl at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, 5:00 p.m. Tonight’s celebration begins with a pre-crawl, then the crawl, then a post-crawl party.

 

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8

Demetri Martin: Let’s Get Awkward Tour at The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 8:00 p.m. Demetri Martin almost became a lawyer, but dropped out of N.Y.U. law school to become a comedian, author and filmmaker. One of the best parts of his comedy is its logic: “The worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of charades.” Check out this week’s New Yorker for more.