Theatre doesn’t always have to be so serious. There are many companies that produce side-splitting and smart comedies all year round. And don’t forget that Chicago is known as the town that defined the art of improvisation. Here are some places to get a belly-laugh workout. – Bob Bullen
1616 North Wells St
Chicago, IL 60614
For 50 years, the Second City has been at the forefront of sketch comedy and improv. Need to laugh on a Monday night? You’re in luck: Second City has a show every day of the week on one of its stages. And who knows: you may see the next Tina Fey or Steve Carell – two of the many famous Second City alumni.
The ComedySportz Theatre
929 West Belmont
For family friendly improvisational comedy (a rarity in this city), try ComedySportz. Each weekend, they offer competitive improv, where the audience gets to vote for their favorite improv team.
600 Main Street
Evanston, IL 60202
If you want more high-brow comedy (or, commedia), try Piccolo. This group, housed inside the Evanston Arts Depot, produces works by such classy playwrights as Molieére, Stoppard and Shakespeare, with a focus on finding the humor in these classic works by linking them to current events.
4830 North Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
Irreverence is the name of the game at Annoyance. Want to see a zany musical comedy about the Salem witch trials, lesbian hookers (or, to be more specific, coed prison sluts) or, perhaps, some shirtless (male) improv? All that and more is standard fare at Annoyance.
Hell in a Handbag Productions
David Cerda is the mastermind behind this group, which is known for full-out campy comedies (usually original musicals) that feature drag, dancing and, typically, a Joan Crawford cameo. And their holiday shows are the best. This group can be found performing at various venues, including Mary’s Attic in Andersonville and Chopin Theatre.
Bob Bullen is a writer and long-time fan of Chicago’s vibrant theatre scene, which he captures on his blog, Chicago Theatre Addict.