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Six shows to see at the fourth annual 26th Annual Comedy Festival

Written by
Grace Perry

It’s no surprise that the folks behind satirical news juggernaut The Onion, and its sister sites ClickHole and the A.V. Club, can organize a mean comedy festival lineup. While its title suggests otherwise, the 26th Annual Comedy Festival is now in its fourth year, taking place at venues throughout the city. A couple shows are already sold out (including Patton Oswalt’s headlining shows), but you can still grab tickets for these six shows to guarantee a week full of excellent comedy.

The Modern School of Film with Christopher Guest

Peek into the brain of This Is Spinal Tap, Best In Show and Waiting For Guffman creator Christopher Guest at this Music Box talkback. Guest will screen clips from three different films that have shaped his career as a filmmaker. He’ll also be answering audience questions, so come with some interesting queries. (Music Box Theatre, 3733 N Southport Ave, Wed 7pm. $27.50)

Aparna Nancherla

New York-based stand-up Aparna Nancherla brings her dry, laid-back style to the Hideout for two shows on Thursday night. The first one is sold out, so snag those late set tickets now! Chicago comic Alex Kumin opens. (Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia Ave, Wed 10pm. $20)

Nathan For You Season 4 Sneak Peak

Mild-mannered Canadian prankster Nathan Fielder will tease the forthcoming season of his Comedy Central docu-reality show. In Nathan For You, Fielder convinces struggling businesses to try his eccentric strategies out. (Remember Dumb Starbucks? It's that guy.) He’ll also entertain a Q&A. (Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N Southport Ave, Sat 10pm. $29.50–$34.50)

Eugene Mirman and Jon Glaser

Mirman and Glaser are everywhere in the comedy world. While Mirman voices Gene Belcher on Bob’s Burgers, you may recognize Glaser from his recurring roles in Parks & Rec, Girls, Inside Amy Schumer and more. See the two perform stand-up at Thalia Hall on Thursday night. (Thalia Hall, 1807 S Allport Ave, Thu 9:30pm. $31)

The Adventures of Pete & Pete Reunion

Relive the magic of ‘90s Nickelodeon with Michael Maronna and Danny Tamberelli, a.k.a. the titular characters from The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Honestly, we’re not totally sure what this show’s going to be, but the nostalgia factor alone for Pete & Pete fans should make for a fun time. (Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln Ave, Thu 9:30pm. $20, $25 at the door)

7 Minutes in Purgatory with Ian Abramson

Each comic in this experimental show does their 7-minute set into a camera, in a room completely isolated from the audience The set is broadcast in real time for the audience. Some comics completely freak out without the audience; others thrive; others get real weird, real quick. (Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln Ave, Sat 8pm. $10, $15 at the door)

Bonus! Bell Hop after shows

Ian Abramson hosts after shows on Wednesday, ThursdayFriday and Saturday nights at Virgin Hotels Chicago in the Loop. The lineups aren’t set, but in previous years, festival headliners have dropped in for a casual set in this intimate venue. The shows are totally free, but you do have to RSVP ahead of time. (Virgin Hotels Chicago, 203 N Wabash Ave, Wed, Thu 9:30pm, Fri, Sat 10pm. Free)

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