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Just For Laughs 2012 Guide

June 1, 2012 2:00 PM

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(credit: justforlaughschicago.com)

(credit: justforlaughschicago.com)

jfl12 marquee 2012 617x367 040920120737 Just For Laughs 2012 Guide

(credit: justforlaughschicago.com)

By Greg Wahl

Just for Laughs Chicago 2012
June 12-16, 2012
Various Chicago venues
justforlaughschicago.com

Chicagoans who suffer the chills of “second city syndrome” should feel the warm & fuzzies this June, as we become top dog on the American comedy scene. How so, you may ask? Well for the fourth year in a row, Chicago will host the largest comedy festival in the United States, a multi-venue, multi-talent laugh-fest that spans the city and pulls the country’s hottest comedians in from the comfy coasts to their faithful city of stand-up destiny, Chicago. If there’s any argument that we’ve got a fat fist of comedy gold waiting to land upon our Midwestern palms, allow the Just for Laughs Chicago 2012 lineup to tilt the scales thusly: Aziz Ansari, Sarah Silverman, Vince Vaughn, Patton Oswalt, John Oliver, Jeff Ross, Stephen Merchant, Kevin Smith, Amy Schumer, Conan O’Brien and a bunch of twisted puppets courtesy of Jim Henson’s crew. You just might need extra duct tape to keep your sides from splitting, so hit up Home Depot before heading out to one of these JFL fest highlights.

Conan O’Brian, et. al.

Chicago Theatre
175 N. State. St.
312.443.1130
thechicagotheatre.com
June 11-14
Also, various venues

Prepare to flip your ginger wigs, Team Coco, your boy Conan and his writerly team will be all over this town for the duration of the fest. Here’s the breakdown: while not an official part of the JFL fest, Conan’s show will take up residence June 11-14 at the Chicago Theatre. His writing team will appear at the Laugh Factory on June 12 at 8:00 p.m. for a JFL show, and the TeamCoco.com website cast will invade The Comedy Bar on June 13 for a 9:00 p.m. show. Chicago Theatre tickets are free, but hardly guaranteed, so consider the next best thing and check out Coco’s comedy team appearances for just a few dollars more.

Chicago Underground Comedy Presents: Secret Big-Time Local Comedy Showcase

Beat Kitchen
2100 N. Belmont
773.281.4444
beatkitchen.com
June 12, 8:00 p.m.

Don’t let the visiting big names overshadow the local stand-up talent. Mile Lebowitz, Adam Burke, Dan Telfer, and many other local folks are lined up to shake the stage at Beat Kitchen to kick off the JFL fest Chicago-style, and admission is just $5.

stuffed unstrung Just For Laughs 2012 Guide

(credit: justforlaughschicago.com)

Stuffed and Unstrung by Henson Alternative

Bank of America Theater
18 W. Monroe St.
312.977-1700
broadwayinchicago.com
June 12-14, 7:30 p.m.
June 15-16, 7:00 & 10:00 p.m.
June 17, 7:00 p.m.

Who knew that the folks behind Sesame Street had a risque side? Jim Henson’s puppeteers perform an uncensored, interactive improv show with several appearances at the Bank of America Theatre throughout the JFL fest. Remember Cee Lo’s jam with Gwyneth Paltrow at last year’s Grammys? These are the puppets from that weirdness.

amy schumer Just For Laughs 2012 Guide

(credit: justforlaughschicago.com)

Amy Schumer

Park West
322 W. Armitage Ave.
773.929.1322
parkwestchicago.com
June 13
7:30 p.m.

Rising star Amy Schumer really hit it out of the park at the recent roast of Charlie Sheen, and has been making her mark at a number of other notable appearances lately, including an upcoming film with Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley. See her now before you can no longer afford to.

kevin smith Just For Laughs 2012 Guide

(credit: justforlaughschicago.com)

An Evening with Kevin Smith

Chicago Theatre
175 N. State. St.
312.443.1130
thechicagotheatre.com
June 14
8:00 p.m.

Filmmaker, actor and hockey jersey aficionado Kevin Smith , aka Silent Bob, hosts an audience Q&A session at the Chicago Theatre. Kind of like a mini Comic-Con, with an emphasis on the comic.

hannibal buress Just For Laughs 2012 Guide

(credit: justforlaughschicago.com)

Hannibal Buress: Still Saying Stuff

Park West
322 W. Armitage Ave.
773.929.1322
parkwestchicago.com
June 14
10:00 p.m.

Chicago-born Hannibal Buress has paid his comedy dues as a writer on SNL and 30 Rock, has made the rounds of just about every late night talk show, and recently released a live CD recorded at the Lakeshore Theatre. Expect casual riffs on roommates, apple juice and the kicking of pigeons.

Patton Oswalt

The Vic Theatre
3145 N. Sheffield Ave.
773.472.0449
victheatre.com
June 14
7: 30 & 10:00 p.m.

Patton Oswalt may be flexing his dramatic pecs on the silver screen lately, but the fully-fleshed Oswalt experience remains his stand-up routine. The Vic will rumble with the girth & the mirth for two shows on June 14. You may have to muscle your way to a ticket out there on Sheffield, since both shows are sold out, but it should be worth the bruised wallet.

stephen merchant Just For Laughs 2012 Guide

(credit: justforlaughschicago.com)

Stephen Merchant

Park West
322 W. Armitage Ave.
773.929.1322
parkwestchicago.com
June 14-16
7:30 p.m.

Best known for being a put-upon Ricky Gervais sidekick and co-creator of the BBC original The Office series, Merchant will take over the Park West for three nights during the fest with his show entitled “Hello Ladies…” Lock up your daughters, Chicago!

aziz ansari Just For Laughs 2012 Guide

(credit: justforlaughschicago.com)

Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive

Chicago Theater
175 N. State. St.
312.443.1130
thechicagotheatre.com
June 15
7:30 & 10:30 p.m.

So, they guy’s not yet 30 and pretty much anyone with a funny bone and a TV knows who Aziz Ansari is. The Chicago Theater gigs are sold out, but if you can find a secondary-market ticket, as Tom Haverford might say, “treat yo’ self!”

john oliver Just For Laughs 2012 Guide

(credit: justforlaughschicago.com)

John Oliver

The Vic Theatrer
3145 N. Sheffield Ave.
773.472.0449
victheatre.com
June 15
7:30 p.m.

Fans of Monty Python will find the quintessentially UK troupe’s spirit intact in the deadpan Brit style of John Oliver. Since 2006 his sly humor has helped keep Jon Stewart’s fans tuned in to the Daily Show. Expect something a bit more well-packaged at The Vic.

jeff ross Just For Laughs 2012 Guide

(credit: justforlaughschicago.com)

Jeff Ross Roasts Chicago

Park West
322 W. Armitage Ave.
773.929.1322
parkwestchicago.com
June 15 & 16
10:00 p.m.

Ross may be trading roast master duties for a slightly more stand-up presentation, but that doesn’t mean Ryan Dempster should be taking complete comfort in the reappearance of Jeff Ross after the comedic barbeque of last year’s JFL fest. This year, the entire city’s on the spit.

nick offerman Just For Laughs 2012 Guide

(credit: justforlaughschicago.com)

Nick Offerman: American Ham

The Vic Theatre
3145 N. Sheffield Ave.
773.472.0449
victheatre.com
June 16
7:30 & 10:00 p.m.

Nick Offerman and Stephen Merchant have one thing in common: their faces make you laugh. Ham it up with Ron Swanson, er, Nick, along with your fellow swine at the Vic on June 16.

sarah silverman Just For Laughs 2012 Guide

(credit: justforlaughschicago.com)

Sarah Silverman: Sarah’s Pro-Choice

Chicago Theatre
175 N. State. St.
312.443.1130
thechicagotheatre.com
June 16
7:30 & 10:30 p.m.

A last-minute addition to the JFL program, Sarah Silverman will host a pair of shows at the Chicago Theatre featuring comedians that she’s chosen (hence the name). Her choices: the copiously coiffed Reggie Watts, iTunes podcast favorite Marc Maron, the proudly nerdly Chris Hardwick, and really busy actress/comedian Natasha Leggero.

Vince Vaughn’s Comedy Showcase

Chicago Theatre
175 N. State. St.
312.443.1130
thechicagotheatre.com
June 17
8:00 p.m.

Local boy Vince Vaughn has been dipping into the comedy pool recently as tour host with his friends from the stand-up scene. For the Chicago Theatre appearance, look for several locals handpicked by Vince himself to make a splash at the closing event for this year’s fest.

Greg Wahl is a Chicagoan who faithfully appears at any and all standup events that include free nachos.

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