So much funny in one weekend in one city. SNL star Jay Pharoh is on air tomorrow with Bryan and Lou showing of his game to tease his shows this weekend at Zanies, but the city of Chicago has been grinding out the funniest people in the chuckle arts for decade which is exemplified in the DIY comedy festival Comedy Exposition.
A few years ago the Just For Laughs with huge backers left Chicago, and in it’s place Chicago comedy entrepreneurs did what our city did in the 1800’s when we had the Great Fire of 1871 , we put on the World’s Fair of 1893 ‘the Colombian Exposition’. But this festival is way better and they didn’t even need to invent the Ferris Wheel to be better too.
Comedy Expo takes place at several independent venues through several different neighborhoods starting with a kick-off show tonight called 42×42 which features 42 comics doing quick-hit 42 second sets at Coles. Come for the bathroom graffiti, stay for the comedy. The action then spreads into Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, and other near Northside areas for shows that will feature comics from here and beyond showing why this is the funniest city in America. As someone who besides talking into microphones also (y)ells jokes into mics all around town, here are 5 comics who I can assure you should go see this weekend.
When he’s not pointing at buildings for tourists on top of double-decker buses downtown, David Phillips is making fun himself and anything else on stages across the city. Phillips cuts to the dirty secrets of some Cubs fans at Wrigley Field in this clip from the JBTV produced Fourstar Stand Ups. See him Friday upstairs at Schubas on a showcase headlined by Rebecca O’Neal at 9:30pm.
Laugh Factory regular Reena Calm has no filter and that is what comedy is about: being yourself as much as you can. She has said things on stage that I would be scared to say in front of a mirror. Her work ethic is through the roof, booking her own tours, and scratching off towns on her map while tweeting off gems like “Women who wear heels all the time are probably unstable. If you like comics like Amy Schumer, than this in this Fourstar Stand Ups clip with Reena will be right up your alley. Reena Calm hosts the Putterbaugh Sisters showcase at @North Bar on Saturday at 9:30pm
Rhea Butcher came storming out of Chicago (where she hosted the Coles Open Mic in Logan Square) and has been kicking all the butts in Los Angeles with her weekly live show ‘Put Your Hands Together’ and along with her wife/fellow comedian Cameron Esposito (see her below on ‘the Late Show’) are releasing their new show ‘Take My Wife’ which will soon be available on NBC’s all comedy streaming service Seeso.You can catch a preview screening of the series at the Hideout on Saturday at 5:30pm. Despite having the name ‘Butcher’, Rhea talks about the struggles of being vegetarian in this clip from Conan.
Calvin Evans started as the class clown in a Chicago school, doing Eddie Murphy impressions and the guy just hustled his way around the country since. Evans has performed all the major comedy clubs in the city and throughout the Midwest. He also understands why your Dad is really mad all the time. In this Fourstar Stand Ups clip, he lays out a wonderful argument for why Father blows a gasket because your entire family is leaving the lights on. Evans headlines a showcase of fantastic comics with must-see host Keith Paesel at the ‘@North’ Bar on Saturday at 6:30pm.
Megan Gailey is one of the funniest and most intimidating people in comedy that I have ever worked with, she has a level of sass that is not measurable on any known scientific scale. Is there a measurement for sass? Back to Gailey, her ability to have a comedy that bites first and asks questions later lead her to a spot on the MTV prank series, Ladylike which recently debuted. She headlines the Expo’s showcase in the main room of Schuba’s on Friday at 8pm. Here she is killing it on Conan earlier this year.
Comedy Expo also features shows from ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ cast member Greg Poops, cult favorite Eddie Pepitone, You can all the info on when and where the shows are at comedyexposition.com