Guest Author Patrick McManus is a stand-up comic living and working in Chicago. Patrick is a real cool guy who won the 100 Proof Comedy’s Chicago’s Top College Comedian Competition in 2015. You can follow him on Twitter, though this publication cannot promise he will be consistently funny on there, but you may want to roll the dice.
The same way you could tell it was July 4th from the sound of distant fireworks, laughter on the night wind this weekend will alert you to the nearby shows of the Comedy Exposition. This independent comedy festival, in its third year, showcases the best of both local and national comedic talent. It runs from July 21st to the 24th features a variety of shows in a different neighborhood each day.
The Comedy Exposition has been putting on a festival ever since the Just for Laughs festival left Chicago in 2013, but it isn’t a mere replacement. It is a celebration of the wealth of talent and venues that Chicago has to offer. It is produced by Katie McVay, Stephanie Hasz, Matt Byrne, Goodrich Gevaart, Zach Peterson, and Liz Maupin.
Saturday features a slew of great shows at the Hideout and @North Bar. The day starts off early with a great free show called the Late Late Breakfast at 2pm. While Late Late Breakfast is a monthly show in Chicago and recently filmed a television pilot, this is a special incarnation with a lineup full of talented comedians from around the country as well as local greats like Danny Kallas . The theme for the show is the zodiac and comics will have to deal with zodiac related challenges during their sets, which might make for a better experience or totally derail them. Either way, it is sure to be entertaining.
At 6:30 at @North Bar, local favorite Calvin Evans headlines a show full of funny young Chicago comics. On the bill is Rachel McCartney who finally made into the Comedy Exposition on her third try submitting. She is excited, not least of all because she can see all the headliners for free “or a cumulative $75 in application fees, depending on how you look at it.”
Saturday night features two shows headlined by big name nationally touring comedians: Marina Franklin and Rhea Butcher. Those are guaranteed to be good.
Perhaps the most interesting show on the docket for Sunday is Super Talent Show at 5pm at the Apollo Theater Studio. Another themed-show, this one bills itself as the Oscars. Host Nicky Martin promises there will be “songs, dances, videos and performances by comics from all over the country. Most importantly, it is the actual Oscars—so tune in to watch the Oscars because that’s what it is.” If commitment to the bit counts for anything in comedy, and it does, this show will be a fun time.
The closing ceremony to the Comedy Exposition is Sunday at 8pm at Lincoln Hall with headliner Greg Proops, best known for his appearances on “Whose Line is it Anyway?” The last show, bittersweet though it is, promises to capture a large part of the joy of the whole weekend.
Comedy is a live medium. While Netflix specials are great, there simply is no substitute for being in a crowded room and sharing the experience of laughing as hard as you can. Chicago is one of the best places in the world to see up and coming comedians live and this weekend is the best time to start. Get out there.
For a list of all the shows this weekend and ticket information check out the Comedy Exposition website.