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iO Theater

Comedy, Comedy clubs River North
4 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
 (Photograph: Anthony Soave)
Photograph: Anthony SoaveiO Theater
 (Photograph: Anthony Soave)
Photograph: Anthony SoaveiO Theater
 (Photograph: Anthony Soave)
Photograph: Anthony SoaveiO Theater
 (Photograph: Anthony Soave)
Photograph: Anthony SoaveiO Theater
 (Photograph: Anthony Soave)
Photograph: Anthony SoaveiO Theater
 (Photograph: Anthony Soave)
Photograph: Anthony SoaveiO Theater
 (Photograph: Anthony Soave)
Photograph: Anthony SoaveiO Theater
 (Photograph: Anthony Soave)
Photograph: Anthony SoaveiO Theater

No doubt about it, the house that improv legend Del Close and founding partner Charna Halpern built rules. Not only has iO churned out legendary folk like Mike Myers and Amy Poehler, but it consistently puts the art of improv first, most noticeably via the Harold, its signature long-form. The shows are generally cheap and the classes a must for budding improvisers. The new theater complex, completed in 2014, contains four performance spaces: the Del Close Theater, the Jason Chin Harold Cabaret, the Chris Farley Cabaret and the Mission Theater. The venue's expansive lobby bar is an inviting place to hang out even if you're not seeing a show.


Venue name: iO Theater
Address: 1501 N Kingsbury St

Transport: El stop: Red to North/Clybourn. Bus: 8, 72.
Price: Average price: $5–$15
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Static map showing venue location

Pick a date

  • Improv Monday April 29 2019

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

No matter what night of the week you come to iO, you can see a great show starring super talented improvisers honing their craft. The Harold teams (house improv teams) are all great, though there's definitely a range of strength based on how long the improvisers have been working together. The bar is one of my favorite spots in Chicago, with a pretty wide range of craft beers on tap. 


Budget comedy seekers take heart! IO has some shows around 15 bucks for a sweet night out. We went to see "Damn Gina: A House Party". The show was about an hour and the theater had drink specials. Some of it was sketch comedy and some was improv. Most skits were funny. There are several shows going on at once so you have more than one option. Improv Shakespeare was another alluring one that was playing that same night.

The bar is stocked with a ton a craft beer on tap and everything on the menu, especially the iO burger, is really delicious. If you're thinking about taking classes go watch some of the graduation shows to get an idea of what you'll be doing.