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Our top picks for fall comedy

Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher discuss comedy coupledom. Plus: Tim and Eric, the Petes from Pete & Pete, and other recommended funny events

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Rhea Butcher and Cameron Esposito - MEGAN BAKER
  • Megan Baker
  • Rhea Butcher and Cameron Esposito

Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher

10/14, 7 PM, Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln, 773-525-2501,, $15. 21+

Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher both cut their teeth in Chicago's stand-up scene, and, along the way, grew pretty fond of each other. The pair are now engaged and live in LA, but will be swinging through town on the heels of the release of Esposito's first album, Same Sex Symbol. Brianna Wellen

What is it like to be in a relationship with a fellow comedian?

Cameron Esposito: Stand-up comedy really runs in classes, so when Rhea started as a freshman I was like a senior in the Chicago scene. But in our relationship at home we are equals.

Rhea Butcher: There's just a lot of specific fears and goals and people that you're meeting that if I was dating an accountant, they'd be like, "What are you talking about?"

CE: If we were dating accountants, we'd have a much easier time on our taxes.

Do you ever find your jokes overlapping?

RB: We have had instances where things happen to us, and we discuss almost immediately, "Oh, that one's yours."

CE: Not long ago I told one of Rhea's jokes on stage accidentally. I knew as it was coming out of my mouth that it was not my joke. I apologized profusely because that's a nightmare.

You both often open sets with remarks about your sexual orientation. Do you feel that's something you need to get out of the way?

RB: I talk about the fact that I'm gay and a lesbian because I want to use those words so people hear those words. And I don't want there to be any question about whether I'm proud.

CE: If I get onstage and I don't say I'm gay, I think people wonder, and it puts them in their head a little bit. I look . . . half gay, I guess, with the side mullet. I'm a little more on the questionable spectrum, and I don't want people to think that I'm not able to talk about it.

Which Chicago comedians do you try to check out when you're in town?

CE: I love Candy Lawrence. Kristin Clifford—she's a newer face at the Lincoln Lodge, and I really like her stuff. And my longtime collaborator Adam Burke.

RB: Goodrich Gavaart—we actually started on the same night. The two gals who ran the Comedy Exposition, Katie McVay and Stephanie Hasz.

CE: The final thing I would say is just—Chicago, please enjoy your public transit system. It's amazing!

RB: We miss it so much!

CE: I would love to be jammed up next to some really smelly guy, rattling on the train down to the Loop.

Tim and Eric - JUSTINA MINTZ
  • Justina Mintz
  • Tim and Eric

Tim and Eric and Dr. Steve Brule

Tue 9/23-Wed 9/24, 8 PM, Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 773-935-6860,, 16+, sold out.

Dinguses everywhere rejoice: Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are hitting the road for another live tour, and this time around they're bringing along John C. Reilly in character as TV personality/adult infant Dr. Steve Brule, the lovable, horrifying, and altogether hilarious host of Adult Swim's Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule. We know what we're getting with Tim and Eric (their live performances, which tend to be rougher and significantly more bizarre than their already bizarre Adult Swim show, offer characteristically impudent song-and-dance routines, skits, and video segments), but Brule is sort of a wild card. It's probably safe to assume Reilly and company will stick close to Check It Out!'s general structure, but the show is never better than when it deviates from its talk-show formula and plumbs the depths of Brule's twisted psyche (remember the "pruppet" episode?). Considering how abstract and conceptual the latest season is, pretty much anything is possible. One thing's for certain, though: shit's gonna get weird.  —Drew Hunt

Danny Tamberelli and Michael Maronna - COURTESY THE ADVENTURES OF DANNY & MIKE
  • Courtesy The Adventures of Danny & Mike
  • Danny Tamberelli and Michael Maronna

Polaris + The Adventures of Danny & Mike

Sun 10/26, 8 PM, Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln, 773-525-2501,, $20, 21+

The Adventures of Pete & Pete helped prepare the children of the 90s for the rise of cult television in the aughts. It was a well-written, outside-of-the-box comedy that tapped a deep vein of outright strangeness—it just happened to be targeted at kids. It's been more than 20 years since the first of its three seasons aired on Nickelodeon, but Big and Little Pete Wrigley have resurfaced. All grown up, Michael Maronna, 36, and Danny Tamberelli, 32, now cohost a podcast, The Adventures of Danny & Mike. Each month, joined by a guest comedian, the beloved gingers tell stories about the time a Portland stripper recognized them, say, or about all the fans they've met with Petunia tattoos. Tonight they record the podcast live before a performance by Polaris, the band behind much of the music in Pete & Pete, including the show's theme.  —Brianna Wellen

Jerrod Carmichael - GETTY IMAGES
  • Getty Images
  • Jerrod Carmichael

Jerrod Carmichael

Thu 11/13-Sat 11/15. Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 10:30 PM: Up Comedy Club, 230 W. North,, $20.

"I've decided, fuck it, I don't care anymore. Because if it's between me and your fucking friendship and that fucking chicken sandwich, then I'm choosing the chicken sandwich every time." Never mind the F-bombs—and his unabashed love for the simmering controversy that is Chick-fil-A—Jerrod Carmichael delivers his lines with an easy confidence that screams with a shrug, What do you want from me? It's his peculiar charm. The rising stand-up (he landed a role in this year's solid Rogen-Efron vehicle Neighbors, and his Spike Lee-directed HBO special airs October 4) mills about the stage with a swagger, never reaching a fever pitch because that would give away the straight flush he's holding. His jokes come smooth and with a wink, drawing predictable comparisons to the elocution of Dave Chappelle. In a characteristic Carmichael moment that's well worth YouTubing, the comedian recognizes Pharcyde's Fatlip in the crowd, invites the hip-hop hero to the stage to deliver a joke, then basks in the hubbub when the MC's "joke" falls flat. —Kevin Warwick

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