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10 shows to see at Chicago Improv Fest

Written by
James Kamp

The Chicago Improv Festival (which kicked off this week) is in its 18th year, making it it the oldest and longest running improv festival in the world. With over 70 shows at 14 venues, it's a massive undertaking with a stacked schedule that attracts some of the best improv talent in the world. Running from April 20 to 26, it's a definitely a don't-miss happening. Here's are 10 shows that you should seek out at this week's festival.

CIF18 PRIDE Night This show will feature several improv groups highlighting the great things about equal rights and sexual diversity. The event is curated by Jacob Welch, who is the art director of the Laugh Out Proud Chicago Comedy Festival. Playground Theater, 3209 N Halsted St. April 21, 7:30pm. $10.

CIF18 One World, One Stage Catch some improv from around the world with performers from Poland, Romania, Mexico, Switzerland and Brazil. Comedy Sportz Theatre, 929 W Belmont Ave. April 22, 7pm. $10.

Los Improviachis This improvised mariachi band performs traditional music and songs mixed with modern day improvisation and a lot of audience feedback. Comedy Sportz Theatre, 929 W Belmont Ave. April 22, 9pm. $15.  

Jason Chin Night featuring 3033, Dinner for Six, Whirled News Tonight Late great improv performer Jason Chin will be honored at this year's festival with a posthumous CIF Lifetime Achievement Award. The ceremony will be followed by performances from improv groups Dinner for Six, Whirled News Tonight and 3033. iO Theater, 1501 N Kingsbury St. April 22, 10pm. $10.

Messing with A Friend Susan Messing, a Chicago stalwart, will be performing a collection of improvised scenes based on a single suggestion. She'll be accompanied by special guest Jimmy Carrane. Annoyance Theatre, 851 W Belmont Ave. April 23, 10:30pm. $10.

Improv Nerd with Rob Belushi and Jon Barinholtz The popular weekly podcast hosted by Jimmy Carrane is coming to CIF with guests Jon Barinholtz and Rob Belushi, who form the improv duo Sheldon. Playground Theater, 3209 N Halsted St. April 24, 1:30pm. $5.

Impro Brasil + Improvised Double Dare Impro Brasil is coming all the way from Rio de Janeiro to crack some jokes in Schaumburg. Improvised Double Dare, which is based off the 1990s Nickelodeon game show, will follow. Laugh Out Loud Theater, 601 N Martingale Road, Schaumburg. April 24, 7:30pm. $19.

Night of Change This event will showcase improv groups with members from African-American, Latino, LGBT, Asian-American and other backgrounds with the goal of highlighting the "changing face" of comedy. de Maat Theatre, 1616 N Wells St. April 25, 7:30pm. $10.

The Katydids + Wild Horses These great all-female improv groups perform back-to-back. The Katydids are made up of six women whose names all happen to be derived from Katherine. Wild Horses is a supergroup of long-form improvisers from Los Angeles and New York's UCB Theatre. iO Theater, 1501 N Kingsbury St. April 25, 8pm. $25.

Jeffrey Sweet in "You Only Shoot the Ones You Love" This is a great opportunity to catch an improv legend in action for a relatively cheap price. Sweet has been involved in the Chicago scene since 1979. Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont Ave. April 26, 4pm. $15.

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