Drugstore Makeup Suz Ballout hosts the debut of this monthly showcase featuring the best women, nonbinary, and POC comics in the city. The inaugural lineup includes Sharron Palm, Sunny Grissom, Mo Good, Maddie Wiener, and more. Fri 3/20, 8 PM, Half Sour, 755 S. Clark, halfsourchicago.com, free.
FreakFest The spiritual sister to the dearly departed (from Chicago) Helltrap Nightmare, anything goes at this monthly variety show that bills itself as a "wonderful night of (barely) controlled chaos." Devin Middleton hosts Tina Arfaee, Emma Grace, Aaron Klopfer, Bailey Inman, and more. Mon 3/23, 9 PM, the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, facebook.com/FreakFestChicago, $8.
Brendan Gay The Chicago expat returns home from New York City to record his debut album. Fri 3/20, 8 and 10 PM, the Lincoln Lodge, 2040 N. Milwaukee, thelincolnlodge.com, $15.
History Shmistory If you've ever wondered what Nikola Tesla's stand-up was like, then this is the show for you. This show features comedians performing jokes as a historical figure. This time around includes Stephanie Weber as Johnny Appleseed, Analicia Kocher as Jimmy Hoffa, and Alex Collyard as Tesla. Thu 3/19, 8 PM, the Lincoln Lodge, 2040 N. Milwaukee, thelincolnlodge.com, $5.
Las Locas Comedy: ¡The Chingona History Month Show! Every month at Dstrkt Bar and Grill the show features a lineup of primarily Latinx stand-ups—and a few lovingly called "honorary locas." This month check out Ines Bellina, Jillian Ebanks, Anna Lucero, Mo Good, and headliner Deanna Ortiz. Sat 3/21, 8 PM, Dstrkt, 1540 N. Milwaukee, laslocascomedy.com, $5.
So Tacky: Next Tack Model Every month this variety show tackles a new theme, and in March that theme is America's Next Top Model. Stand-up Kal Jazeera and drag queen K'hole Kardashian host the night, which includes ANTM trivia. Wed 3/18, 8 PM, Tack Room, 1807 S. Allport, tackroomchicago.com, $5.
Strip Joker: Kiss Me I'm Queer Scott Duff hosts this edition of everyone's favorite body-positive stand-up show. This month's lineup includes Adam Gilbert, Deanna Ortiz, Annie Russell, and Spencer D. Blair. A dance party with a photo booth follows the performance. Sat 3/14, 10 PM, Mary's Attic, 5400 N. Clark, facebook.com/stripjoker, $13, $25 for VIP, which includes a front-row seat and a complimentary drink.
Maria Bamford Fresh off the release of her latest special, Weakness Is the Brand (watch it on Amazon Prime!), Bamford hits the road to spread the joy of her unique brand of comedy that combines storytelling, characterwork, and heart-wrenching honesty. 4/30-5/3, Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 7 and 9 PM, Sun 7 PM, Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, thedentheatre.com, $35-$55.
Diamond Comedy Hour On the first Friday of every month producers and hosts Alex Kumin, Elise Fernandez, Carly Kane, and Ali Drapos put together a luxurious night featuring some of the best local comics in the biz complete with a glamour shot photo booth and plenty of bubbly. Fri 4/3, 10 PM, the Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, facebook.com/DiamondComedyHour, $20.
Femmes the Rules Sarah Mowrey brings their LA showcase to Chicago. The rules are simple: male comedians are paired with female and nonbinary comedians. The men can be regularly interrupted and given strikes based on arbitrary rules, then the women/nonbinary comics perform interruption-free! The local pairings include Deanna Ortiz and Chris Higgins; Elise Fernandez and Sohrab Forouzesh; and Casey Larwood and Tucker Brookshire. Mon 4/6, 7 PM, the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, hideoutchicago.com, $8.
Freshman: A Show About Your Terrible Early Art Every second Thursday of the month performers share their early writing, songs, paintings, short stories, videos, and more art originally created in earnest for a cringeworthy night of nostalgia and comedy. Thu 4/9, 8 PM, the Lincoln Lodge, 2040 N. Milwaukee, thelincolnlodge.com, $5.
Late Late Breakfast's Tournament of Champions A special edition of this stand-up/game show hybrid forces 32 comedians to duke it out over the course of five rounds, all hoping to be crowned 2020's King of Breakfast. Tickets include a free breakfest buffet. Sat 4/4, 2 PM, the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, latelatebreakfast.com, $10.
Peace Camp This stand-up showcase features Jewish and Muslim comics to "prove that [they] can live and laugh with each other in peace." The lineup includes Suz Ballout, Lia Berman, Kal Jazeera, Eunji Kim, Sabeen Sadiq, and Jeremy Drazner. Sat 4/18, 10 PM, the Second City, de Maat Studio Theatre, 230 W. North, secondcity.com, $13.
Sex Positive Ashley Victoria and Elias Rios host this sex-centric variety show featuring storytelling, burlesque, comedy, and music, all while answering anonymous sex questions you might be too afraid to ask. The April edition featurs Carming Tatum, Emerald Catron, Evelyn Troutman, Courtney Crary, and Jake Cannon. Sun 4/5, 8 PM, the Newport Theater, 956 W. Newport, sexpositivecomedy.bpt.me, $15.
Doug Loves Movies Comedian Doug Benson pits his comic friends and entertainment professionals against each other in a weekly movie-trivia competition. He brings it to town for a live taping. Tue 5/4, 8 PM, Zanies, 5437 Park Place, Rosemont, rosemont.zanies.com, $20.
Roast: The Musical Character assassination celebrates its fourth anniversary of famous figureheads, real and imagined, with a takedown of some of musical theater's most beloved and maligned characters. Sun 5/3, 7 PM, Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway, laughfactory.com/clubs/chicago, $10.
Summer Show Spencer D. Blair hosts this DIY, BYOB outdoor variety show featuring improvisors, actors, musicians, sketch comedians, and more soaking up the sun. Sun 5/3, 7 PM, RSVP for details, facebook.com/TheSummerShow.
Whitmer Thomas The comedian and musican performs stand-up and songs from his recent HBO special, The Golden One, and tries out some new stuff with a special guest. Thu 5/28, 8:30 PM, Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln, lh-st.com, $15.
Mike Birbiglia The comedian and storyteller's last special (and Broadway show), The New One, was about life—on this tour he'll be working on new material all about death. Fri 6/19, 7:30 PM, Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, $39.50-$60.
Camp: A Comedy Show Tessa Orzech and Samantha Berkman celebrate four years of their weekly, summer camp-inspired stand-up showcase. Expect come of the city's funniest comics, friendship bracelets, and plenty of bug juice. Mon 6/8, 8 PM, Village Tap, 2055 W. Roscoe, facebook.com/campcomedyshow, free.
Ronny Chieng After the recent release of his Netflix special, Asian Comedian Destroys America!, the stand-up and Daily Show correspondent hits the road on his "Hope You Get Rich" tour. Fri 6/26, 10 PM, Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport, thaliahallchicago.com, $25-$40.
Doughboys Hosts Mike Mitchell and Nick Wiger return to Chicago for a live taping of their podcast that covers all things chain restaurants with a special guest. Stop by or tune in to see which local chain they cover—last time they were in town they visited Portillo's and Lou Malnati's. Tue 6/16, 8 PM, Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport, thaliahallchicago.com, $35-$70.
Buffering the Vampire Slayer Jenny Owens Young and Kristin Russo bring their Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical recap podcast to Chicago for the very first time. Start thinking about your nominees for the sexual tension awards now. Sun 7/12, 8:30 PM, Sleeping Village, 3734 W. Belmont, sleeping-village.com, $30, $25 in advance.
Tuxedo Cat Comedy The weekly stand-up stalwart, produced by Rebecca Fass and Jerry Tran, celebrates seven years of showcasing rising local comedians and dance parties. Thu 7/16, 8 PM, Beauty Bar, 1444 W. Chicago, facebook.com/TuxedoCatComedy, $5 suggested donation.
Melissa Villaseñor See the criminally underused Saturday Night Live cast member show off her solo comedy and music talents. 7/9-7/11: Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 7:30 and 9:30 PM, Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, thedentheatre.com, $25-$40. v