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Photograph: Courtesy of Jill Evans/SHOUTLadystache

Chicago Women’s Funny Festival kicks off

Five nights of comedy put ladies front and center.


“People say comedy comes from masculine traits of pain and embarrassment,” Jill Valentine says. “Women feel pain and women get embarrassed as well.” Actually, from Wednesday 6–June 10, comedy will come from Stage 773 in Lakeview, host theater for the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival. The first-of-its-kind fest includes 66 improv, stand-up and sketch shows performed by 400 female artists (and a few good men). We chatted with executive producer Valentine and associate producer Liz McArthur about whom to keep our eye on, and added favorites of our own for a TOC he said/she said take on the fest:


Ladystache (Jun 8 at 9pm) “This is a two-person group from Toronto and they’re sketch comedy. What we like is their tagline: they don’t talk politics or periods, which I think is hilarious.” –Jill Valentine

Charla Lauriston (Jun 8 at 9pm)
“She does all deadpan and we saw five minutes of it; it was real good.” –Liz McArthur

Being Funny Is Serious Business featuring Nina Metz, Charna Halpern, Ana Belaval, Susan Messing, Beth Kligerman and Marisa Paonessa. (Jun 9 at 2pm)
“We thought we should do something special where we could sit down and actually listen to some of these women who are out there doing it and learn. I think [host] Brian Posen running with it will be a great time. –JV

Broad Stewart (Jun 9 at 9pm)
“This two-person long-form [improv] group are from Toronto, and they seem to be more of the dark humor, which we’re totally into.” –JV

Aparna Nancherla (Jun 9 at 8pm)
“Her tape was hilarious. She’s from L.A. and we really can’t wait to see what she does.” –LM

Pirate Sugar (Jun 9 at 9pm)
“They’re eight ladies and they do sketch. We’d never seen them at Sketchfest and were really blown away.” –JV

DeFrancisCO (Jun 10 at 8pm)
“Tara DeFrancisco’s doing improv. She pulls someone out of the audience to do the show with her, which is terrifying.” –JV


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The Playboys (Wed 6 at 8pm)
Susan Messing, Kate Duffy and Rachael Mason have numerous improvising credits under their belts including playing together notably as Children of a Lesser God. You just can’t go wrong here.

Candy Lawrence (Wed 6 at 10pm)
Lawrence is a lovable nut job. She has the infectious energy and lankiness of Carol Burnett, and it doesn’t hurt that the funny Liza Treyger has been given hosting duties.

Jet Eveleth (Jun 8 at 10pm)
Local legend Eveleth has already conquered sketch and improv. Tonight she will try her hand at stand-up. She’s also auditioned in front of Lorne Michaels, and Kristen Wiig left SNL last week so you may want to see her now (jic).

Mary Kay Letourneau (Jun 9 at 6pm)
Sketch duo Katie Rich and Kate Duffy aren’t afraid to play it bawdy and outrageous, be it as bickering old ladies at a wedding or coeds recovering from a bender. We like them.

Monica Barcelona: Bitch I’ll Cut You (Jun 10 at 7pm) Licensed cosmetologist and comedian Monique Madrid brings an audience member onstage to improvise a day at the salon while actually cutting his or her hair. If only we had more hair.

Broads on Boards (Jun 10 at 8pm)
Amanda Blake Davis and Lauren Dowden take a hilarious and heartbreaking stroll down memory lane as two aging Broadway “legends” in this endearing musical comedy.

The Chicago Women’s Funny Festival busts a few guts Wednesday 6 through June 10.

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