What not to miss in stand-up around Chicago.
From January to March, here are our picks for stand-up comedy in Chicago.
Tomorrow Never Knows: Some of the best, funniest and weirdest former Chicagoans are returning from both coasts for this uber-impressive comedy lineup that’s a part of the Tomorrow Never Knows music festival. With four nights of stellar stand-up in a row at the Hideout, it’s hard to choose, but you can’t go wrong with standouts like Liza Treyger (from Netflix’s “The Degenerates”), Sarah Sherman (and her twisted “Helltrap Nightmare,” returning for one night) and Megan Stalter (the star of the online, inimitable “Megan Stalter Show”). Jan. 16-19 at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave.; tnkfest.com
Ms. Pat: As she deftly showcased in her moving page-turner of an autobiography, “Rabbit,” Ms. Pat has lived an exceptional life, from young mother to drug dealer to stand-up comic. A storyteller with a captivating style, Ms. Pat has appeared on “Last Comic Standing” and Jeff Ross’ “Roast Battle.” Zanies offers seven chances to see her over three nights in January. Jan. 22-25 at Zanies
Chicago, 1548 N. Wells St.; chicago.zanies.com
Drew Michael: This Chicago native has two fulllength comedy albums, a Comedy Central half-hour and a self-titled HBO special released in 2018. Directed by Jerrod Carmichael, the special garnered a lot of (polarizing) attention for its lack of a live audience. An acerbic observationalist with a direct and piercing performance style, here’s a chance to find out what Michael’s act is like when he has an audience. Jan. 25 at the Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.; theden theatre.com
Todd Barry: One of the best — if not the best — crowd-work comics of all time, Barry even put out a special called “The Crowd Work Tour” consisting entirely of off-the-cuff audience interactions. But as all of his comedy specials demonstrate, his written material is top-notch as well, delivered with a dry, self-aware deadpan. He’s also a podcaster, author and actor. Feb. 22 at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St.; thalia hallchicago.com
Tim and Eric: 2020 Mandatory Attendance World Tour: One of the weirdest live shows you could hope to see coming to one of the nicest venues you could hope to see it in. Comedy duo Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, the creators of the offbeat hit “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!,” return to Chicago demanding attendance at their sure-tobe-wild night of comedy. Expect plenty of laughs, groans and uncomfortable silences, and that’s just from the performers. Feb. 22 at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.; thechicagotheatre.com
APiff the Magic Dragon: comic/magician/dragon hybrid who appeared on “America’s Got Talent” and has his own ongoing show at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, Piff also tours the country. He’s stopping in Skokie to give Midwesterners a chance to see a real live dragon magic act, complete with his caustic wit, glittering dragon costume and unflappable assistant, Mr. Piffles, described as “The World’s Only Magic Performing Chihuahua.” Feb. 28 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie; northshorecenter.org
Gabriel Iglesias: Beyond the Fluffy: One of the most popular comedians in the world, Gabriel Iglesias frequently makes Forbes’ list of highest paid comics. But he’s not just highly paid, he’s also highly hilarious, with an overly excitable oversized persona that can draw laughs from the simplest of stories. Iglesias has long been an arena comic, and with this tour (titled “Beyond the Fluffy”) he tackles the United Center. If any comedian has a style meant to be seen with 20,000 of your closest friends, it’s Iglesias. March 14 at the United Center, 1901 W Madison St.; www.ticket master.com
Nikki Glaser: An actress, writer, podcaster, TV and radio show host and total roast master, Nikki Glaser is a comic who knows how to deliver the harshest burns and most expertly crafted punchlines with a perfectly juxtaposed smile and a glimmer in her eye. Her most recent Netflix special, “Bangin’,” showed that Glaser is on the top of her game, and this tour promises to showcase all new material. March 21 at The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave.; victheatre.com
Festival of Laughs 2020: The Festival of Laughs returns to the expansive Arie Crown Theater with a solid lineup of nationally headlining comics all sharing the same stage. This time the roster includes Sommore, Gary Owen, Tony Rock, Tommy Davidson and Tony Sco. March 28 at Arie Crown Theater, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive; arie crown.com
Gary Gulman: Peace of Mind: Actor/comedian Gary Gulman’s 2019 HBO special “The Great Depresh” combined documentary and stand-up footage to present a moving, frank and, yes, still very funny discussion about his own battle with depression. With a wave of newfound appreciation for his comedic stylings, Gulman is on a countrywide tour. March 28 at The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave.; victheatre.com
Zach Freeman is a freelance writer.
Stand-up comics to watch for this winter in Chicago include Gabriel Iglesias, Ms. Pat and Nikki Glaser.