By Megan Horst-Hatch

Chicago winters can be bleak and cold, but there’s always the promise of spring to get you through the days. There’s probably no better way to beating the winter blues than by planning to catch a comedy show or two once the warmer weather arrives. In the Chicago area, you can see a number of comedy shows and festivals featuring both established stars and up-and-coming comedians. Get ready to round up your friends and laugh your cares away when you check out this list of must-see performances this spring.

Chicago Improv Festival
Athenaeum Theatre
2936 N. Southport Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 875-6616

Date: March 27 through April 2, 2017

If improv comedy is your jam, then you’ll want to mark your calendar for the return of Chicago Improv Festival this spring. The festival features performances by improv artists from all over the world, giving you the opportunity to see comedy styles on a global level. Last year’s performance lineup included a strong showing by Chicago-based performers, including Sheila’s Sister, Southside Ignoramus Quartet, and Chips and Guap, and performances are held in venues throughout the city. Have you always dreamed of getting on stage and performing your own material? Then listen up, because in previous years, the festival has also offered workshops.

‘Center Stage Comedy Tour’
Arie Crown Theater
2301 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 791-6190

Date: May 14, 2017 at 7 p.m.

You’ve done dinner and a movie with your partner over and over. What about shaking up the routine a bit and seeing a live comedy performance? Get ready to laugh in style when you check out Center Stage Comedy Tour, which will feature six comedians on stage, including Sommore, whose credits include “Soul Plane,” “Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta,” and “Friday After Next.” In addition, Arnez J, John Witherspoon, Don DC Curry, George Willborn, and Damon Williams will perform, too. The comedy show takes place at Arie Crown Theater in Chicago’s Near South Side neighborhood, with plenty of bars and restaurants nearby so you can start or end your date night out on the right foot.

Capitol Steps
McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(630) 942-4000

Date: April 1, 2017 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

If you couldn’t get enough of the 2016 election, then fear not. The long-running satirical group Capitol Steps comes to the western suburb of Glen Ellyn with two performances scheduled on, interestingly enough, April Fool’s Day. The show, which also includes songs and plenty of jokes written by the group, just might be what you need if you want to see a live performance this spring. If you listen to public radio, then you may have caught the group’s special editions of the show, which are broadcast twice per year.

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Rita Rudner
North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie
9501 Skokie Blvd.
Skokie, IL 60077
(847) 673-6300

Date: April 21, 2017 at 8 p.m.

If you’ve read Rita Rudner’s books, including Naked Beneath My Clothes, or have seen her TV specials, then keep reading. Fans will be pleased to learn the comedian will perform in the North Shore suburb of Skokie. The acclaimed performer and writer has an extensive list of credits that also includes “Women Aren’t Funny” and “Comics Unleashed,” among others. The performance venue is located a quick drive from Westfield Old Orchard, which offers plenty of options for dining before the performance.

Russell Howard
House of Blues Chicago
329 N. Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 923-2000

Date: May 13, 2017 at 7 p.m.

British comedian Russell Howard is coming to Chicago as part of his global tour de force, the Round The World Tour. The funnyman, whose credits include “Mock The Week” and “Russell Howard’s Good News,” will perform at House of Blues Chicago in the city’s Near North Side neighborhood. This show does have age restrictions, as it’s for ages 17 and up. Howard’s show is the perfect idea for date night or fun night out on the town with your friends, as the venue is located in the heart of Chicago’s premier nightlife area and is also located near plenty of public transportation options.

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