The best comedy shows to see in Chicago in February

Warm up with a big laugh this winter. Check out new variety shows, touring comics and hilarious storytelling shows.
Photograph: Mindy Tucker
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February may be the shortest month of the year, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking opportunity to see excellent sketch, improv and stand-up shows. Chicago-born John Mulaney starts the month on a high note, wrapping his five-night engagement at the Chicago Theatre on February 3. The Second City recently rolled out several new shows, including a love- and sex-themed performance just in time for Valentine’s Day. Plus, newbies like Slide Show and FreakFest break from the traditional stand-up or sketch molds that dominate the city, showcasing more experimental, multimedia-based bits. Peel yourself off the couch, bundle up and check out these 21 live comedy shows in February.

Chicago comedy shows to see in February

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Photograph: Martha Williams
Comedy

The Paper Machete

icon-location-pin Uptown
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Christopher Piatt hosts this weekly "live magazine," a cavalcade of culture, politics and wit featuring journalists, actors, comedians and musicians offering idiosyncratic reports on the news of the day. Head to Uptown's iconic Green Mill for a Saturday afternoon of drinks, hot takes and laughs. 

Comedy, Improv

The Improvised Shakespeare Co.

icon-location-pin River North
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Suggestions from the audience inspire the improv team to create an entirely new show with Elizabethan flair. Expect a full hour of Shakespeare references, proper language, and plenty of laughs. This is a great choice if you have friends visiting town who want a taste of improv comedy.

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iO Theater
Photograph: Anthony Soave
Comedy, Improv

Whirled News Tonight

icon-location-pin River North
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Now in its 15th year, Whirled News Tonight has become an institution at the iO Theatre, hence its prime time slot. Improvised scenes are based on news articles from that week, which audience members post to the back wall of the stage. The show boasts alumni including Jordan Klepper (The Daily Show, The Opposition with Jordan Klepper), Sarah Haskins (Trophy Wife), Arnie Niekamp (Hello From the Magic Tavern) and more. 

Comedians You Should Know
Photograph: Melissa Mamroth
Comedy, Stand-up

Comedians You Should Know

icon-location-pin Streeterville
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This weekly night of comedy, curated by a group of funny folks, puts local stand-ups on your radar. Producers include stand-ups Danny Kallas, Joe Kilgallon, Ricky Gonzalez, Allison Dunne, Jonah Jurkens and Blake Burkhart, but the lineup changes each week. Plus, it's BYOB, so why not?

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Photograph Courtesy Bruised Orange Theater Company
Comedy

I Saw You

icon-location-pin Lake View
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Bruised Orange Theater Company’s long-running weekly show mines Chicago personal ads for dramatic (and comic) interpretation. Each week, three actors introduce the audience to real Chicagoans looking for love (or something along those lines). With new lovelorn singles each week, "I Saw You" is never short on fresh material. 

Photograph: Byron Hatfield
Comedy, Sketch shows

Bye Bye Liver: The Chicago Drinking Play

icon-location-pin Lake View
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"Bye Bye Liver" combines two robust Chicago traditions: comedy and heavy drinking. The show opened ten years ago for a three-week run, then kept getting extended. It centers on common party situations most Chicagoans can relate to, and incoroprates interactive audience games like "Would You Rather." If you're looking to get drunk, quick, and have a great time doing so, "Bye Bye Liver" is always a solid bet. 

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