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Chicago comedy nights: The best comedy shows at bars and pubs

These Chicago comedy nights at alternative venues are among the best bets for up-and-comers in stand-up and sketch comedy.

Photograph: Melissa Mamroth
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Chicago is host to a bevy of dedicated comedy clubs, from such institutions as improv mecca iO Chicago and the legendary Second City to stand-up joints like Jokes & Notes. But some of the most daring Chicago comedy can be found in bars and pubs, bookstores and comics shops, on stages where bands might be playing most nights. Following the example of the Lincoln Lodge, which began its life in the back room of a greasy-spoon diner (though it now makes its home at Wicker Park's SubT), regular comedy nights have sprouted in a number of Chicago's watering holes over the last decade and a half. These are the places you're most likely to spot the next Cameron Esposito or Kumail Nanjiani.

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The Lincoln Lodge


Having relocated to Subterranean after the loss of its longtime space in the now-closed Lincoln Restaurant, the country's longest continuously operating home for alt comedy continues to be a fine place to see emerging stand-ups. As of December 2015, the Lincoln Lodge has a second weekly night at the new Hyde Park venue, the Revival.

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Subterranean , Wicker Park Until Friday December 30 2016

Chicago Underground Comedy


This outstanding night of comedy takes in four to five comics each week. Keep your eye on some of these folks: they're going places.

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Beat Kitchen , North Center Tuesday December 6 2016 - Tuesday April 25 2017

Sadsacks and Wisecracks

Hosted by Natalie Jose, this weekly showcase features some of the best performers from every genre of Chicago comedy.

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High-Hat Club , North Center Monday December 5 2016 - Monday April 24 2017

Best Night Ever

This weekly comedy showcase at Wrigleyville's Gman Tavern features a mix of local and touring stand-ups, all at no cost to the audience.

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Gman Tavern , Wrigleyville Monday December 5 2016 - Monday April 24 2017