It's officially autumn, and you can feel the warmth slowly drain out of the air—and your soul. It really was a sweet summer and no one in their right mind is looking forward to another long Chicago winter. The weather might be starting to get worse, but the local comedy scene does not. In fact, it only gets better.
One of the best-kept secrets about Chicago is that as the weather gets colder, more people actually go out for shows. A lot of Chicago club managers will tell you summer is the slow season. That, coupled with the fact that a lot of Chicago's more famous comedians come back to town for the fall and holiday seasons, makes it almost a perfect time for the scene. Here are 10 hot stand-up comedy shows that should definitely be on your radar this fall.
Russ Williamson at Zanies: Russ Williamson is a big Chicago favorite with a personality to match. He's been touring all over the country with some of the biggest names in the game. He'll be in town to headline at the legendary Zanies all week long. If you haven't caught Russ yet, this is a great opportunity. (Zanies, 1548 N Wells St, through October 11. $25 plus two-drink minimum.)
Epic Comedy Fest 7: More than 40 local and nationally touring comedians will headline and feature at this DIY comedy festival in Edison Park. Highlights include local comedy monsters like Marty Derosa, Natalie Jose, Jeanie Doogan, Tim Barnes, Junior Stopka, Sean White and Dwayne Kennedy. (Various venues, Edison Park, October 13-18. $15–$25.)
Brian Posehn featuring Dan Telfer at the Beat Kitchen: Comedian Brian Posehn, lover of heavy metal, comic books and fart jokes comes to the Beat Kitchen for one night only. Posehn is something of an "alt-comedy" legend, having performed alongside Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis and Maria Bamford in the comedy documentary The Comedians of Comedy. Former Chicago comedian and huge nerd in his own right Dan Telfer will feature. (Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont Ave, October 17 at 7:30pm. $23–$25.)
Lodgetoberfest: The Lincoln Lodge is having a rare fundraising event with all donations going toward supporting the longest-running showcase in America. It should be one hell of a party with live entertainment and music, raffles and a fully stocked donation cash bar, all celebrating 16 years of amazing comedy. (Young Camelot, 2733 W Hirsch Ave, October 17 at 6pm. $20.)
Peter-john Byrnes live recording at the ComedySportz Theatre: Chicago comedy scene stalwart Peter-john Byrnes will perform and record a live album at the always fun 100 Proof Comedy showcase inside the ComedySportz Theatre. Byrnes kills in rooms all over town, has opened for Orlando Jones and Cameron Esposito and has appeared in festivals like the Limestone Comedy Festival, Just For Laughs Festival and the Memphis Comedy Festival. (Comedy Sportz, 929 W Belmont Ave, October 19 at 8, 10pm. $7.)
The Wiggle Room at The Comedy Bar: Running every Thursday through the fall, the Wiggle Room is probably producing the best stand-up comedy and burlesque show in the country. This popular showcase combines top-notch comedian lineups with the finest burlesque at a proper comedy venue for an outstanding good time. (The Comedy Bar, 500 N LaSalle, Thursdays, 9:30pm. $20–$30.)
Damon Williams & Friends: Damon Williams is a national headliner and the former host of Showtime at the Apollo with more TV credits than probably all of the other comedians listed here combined. Williams will apparently be doing just one show in Chicago this October, so hop to it. (Jokes and Notes, 4641 S King Drive, October 22, 8:30pm. $12–$15 plus two-drink minimum.)
The Blind Bet Show: Centrally located on Belmont in Lakeview near Ashland Avenue, this is one of the best stand-up shows in town. The lineups have been absolutely stellar with great crowds that are fun and onboard from the jump. (The Pony Inn, 1638 W Belmont Ave, Wednesdays. $5.)
The Show: This weekly showcase features some of Chicago's finest comedians. Local powerhouses like Adam Burke, Jeff Arcuri, Jonah Jerkins and Martin Morrow are all becoming regulars at this funky basement comedy show, smack dab in River North and a stone's throw from downtown. Amazingly, it's still a free show. (Henry's, 18 W Hubbard St. Sundays, 8pm. Free.)
Blipsters On Broadway: This show is running every Sunday through the fall at the Laugh Factory. An amalgam of words "Black" and "hipster," it's the brainchild of hot-as-lava Chicago comedians Dave Helem and Felonious Munk. (Laugh Factory Chicago, 3175 N Broadway St, Sundays, 6pm. $17–$30 plus two-drink minimum.)