Whether you're an aspiring comic who needs to log stage time and practice crowd work, or a comedy fan looking to discover a new favorite stand-up (often for free admission), open mic nights abound in Chicago; there are dozens to choose from every week at comedy clubs and corner dive bars alike. These are the cream of the crop.
Open mics in Chicago
Since 2009, funny folks have tried new material (or tried stand-up for the first time) at Cole’s. As many as 50 people perform for a packed room of encouraging spectators each week. Sometimes big names like Hannibal Buress and Tim Meadows even drop by. “Everybody should try it. Even if you don’t get any laughs, it’s a good way to get outside your comfort zone,” says bar owner Cole Brice. Sign-up starts at 5:30pm. Hosted by Sonia Denis and Rebecca O'Neal.
The Public House Theatre's weekly show mixes open mic and featured comedians. Would-be performers can sign up on Facebook.
Reena Calm and David Drake host this popular Sunday night open mic. It can sometimes get pre-empted by sports, so check the show's Facebook page for updates. Performer signup starts at 7pm.
Growing comedy destination @North Bar has an open mic every Sunday night. Signups start at 10pm.
The Annoyance's open mic features a mix of stand-up and solo sketch performance. A dozen performers are chosen by lottery; aspirants can pick up a lottery ticket at the box office starting at 8pm.
One of the only Friday-night open mics in the city, the Gallery Cabaret's Power Hour! packs the house in Bucktown. Performer signup starts at 6pm.
The Chicago outpost of Jamie Masada's chain of comedy clubs lets seasoned comics and newbies alike get onstage every Wednesday. Performers can sign up starting at 6pm for the following week's show.
Taylor Wolfe hosts this stand-up open mic in iO's Chris Farley Cabaret. Performer signups start at 9:30pm.