Best Improv Group

Critics' Picks


Cook County Social Club

iO
3541 N. Clark
773-880-0199

ioimprov.com

Cook County Social Club has followed a classic Chicago improv trajectory, from a midnight slot at iO to prime-time Tuesday nights, with the inevitable speed bumps as the four members took turns riding the Second City tour bus, only to come back stronger than ever. Now, with the addition of Second City Detroit star Tim Robinson to make a quintet, CCSC has arrived. Shows are fast and loose, rife with a late-night, try-anything sensibility that recalls the group’s humble beginnings. Brazen, often relentlessly silly scenes are packed so tightly with jokes they seem ready to burst at any moment. Nobody hogs the spotlight. Everybody’s eager to let his partners get the laughs, even if it means putting himself in painful physical positions. Mark Raterman is particularly adept at assists—the John Stockton of comedy. After years on the scene, the members, now pillars of the community, have figured out the truest improv formula: Don’t think about it too much. Just find friends you love playing with and have some fun. The show’s in an open run, Tuesdays at 8 PM; cover is $12.