From Sarah Silverman to iO Theater


As with our previous lists for comedy in Chicago, we sweat not over what we’re including, but what we didn’t. So be it. Around the Chicago area from now through early spring, in rough order of appearance and some essential Chicago-area clubs:

“Do the Right Thing, No Worries If Not”: If you’ve been away for a while from Second City, writes the Tribune’s Chris Jones in his four-star review, this is a good moment to return. The sketch comedy revue now on the mainstage has a new breakout star in Evan Mills and a connection with the audience in a way that’s been missing for a while. Open run at The Second City, 1616 N. Wells St.;

Kevin Nealon: He’s still best known for his nine years on “Saturday Night Live” where his standout moments included hosting the “Weekend Update” desk and (get tickets) his character Mr. Subliminal (very funny). He’s joined at City Winery by Chicago comic and Laugh Factory regular Kristen Toomey. Jan. 27-28 at City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph St.;

Patti Vasquez: Comedy isn’t the only thing on her Chicago-famous resume: WGN radio host, actor, candidate for 19th District state house seat. She’s making time for her longtime love of standup on a packed Laugh Factory calendar. 7 p.m. Jan. 29 at Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway;

Sarah Silverman: This new “Grow Some Lips” tour is the first for the Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer and podcaster since the pandemic, with Chicago currently one of just 14 stops. Silverman otherwise continues her weekly “Sarah Silverman Podcast” and recently wrapped production on Netflix’s upcoming film “Maestro” with Bradley Cooper, about composer Leonard Bernstein. She’s playing the Chicago Theatre. (Also at the Chicago Theatre, Chris D’Elia Feb. 25 and Chicago’s own Pat McGann headlining in April). 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.;

Sarah Silverman in Chicago on Oct. 16, 2015. She headlines the Chicago Theatre in February.

Den Theatre: At the heart of this theater complex in Wicker Park is the Heath Mainstage with an impressive lineup of touring comics, including a return for Jacqueline Novak and her much-acclaimed show “Get on Your Knees” (Feb. 1-2), Shuler King (Feb. 10-11), the outspoken TikTok favorite Ashley Gavin (Feb. 23-25) and a return for actor, comic and “Saturday Night Live” alum Janeane Garofalo (March 10-11). Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.;

Adam Sandler: After his “SNL” stint, he went on to a list of movies too long to mention, many of them popular and some of them even good. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at the United Center, 901 W. Madison St.;

Jeff Dye: He stars in the NBC series “Better Late Than Never” with William Shatner, Henry Winkler, Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman and has been a guest judge on “The Masked Singer.” He plays Zanies in both Rosemont and downtown. (Also upcoming at Zanies, April Macie Feb. 9-11 and Paul Virzi in March.) 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at Zanies Rosemont, 5437 Park Place; and 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Feb. 17-18 at Zanies Chicago, 1548 N. Wells St.;

iO Theater: The longtime home of Chicago improv is up and running again with new owners on Kingsbury Street — and new this January, iO is also resuming in-person classes. But it’s the shows, especially long-form improv, that iO is known for, with a packed schedule of teams and titles both familiar — “The Armando Diaz Experience” — and new. At iO Theater, 1501 N. Kingsbury St.;

Trixie and Katya: You may know them as drag queens Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova, from their comedy television series and the seventh season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Last at the Auditorium a year ago, they’re back with a new show ”The Bald and the Beautiful.” 8 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive;

Comic Marlon Wayans at Mount Airy Casino Resort in Pennsylvania in 2016.

Chicago Improv: The comedy club in west suburban Schaumburg has a boldface list of comics this spring, including Christopher Titus (Feb. 24-26), Adele Givens (March 3-5), T.J. Miller (April 6-8) and Marlon Wayans for two runs in April. At Chicago Improv, 5 Woodfield Road in Woodfield Mall K120B, Schaumburg;

Tim Allen: His roles have spanned from Buzz Lightyear to “The Santa Clauses,” but be advised this Allen is his ages-18+ show version. (Also at the Genesee, Dane Cook in April.) 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan;

Lewis Black: The comic known as the King of Rant, and also Anger in the Pixar film “Inside Out,” brings his “Off the Rails 2023″ tour to Skokie. (Also at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Paula Poundstone April 1 and Paul Reiser April 15.) 8 p.m. March 24-45 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie;

Felipe Esparza: The “Last Comic Standing” winner and podcast host of “What’s Up Fool?” is back in Chicago. (Also at The Vic, Noel Miller Feb. 1.) 7 p.m. April 21 at The Vic Theatre, 3145 N Sheffield Ave.;

Jo Koy: This 2023 world tour, which takes the Filipino comedian across the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand, stops in Chicago in April. Koy recently starred in the movie “Easter Sunday,” a comedy that drew on his life experiences growing up in a loud but loving Filipino family and his stand-up largely pulls from the inspiration. 8 p.m. April 7 at the United Center, 901 W. Madison St.;

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