Joe DeRosa Credit: Brian Friedman

Stand-up comic Joe DeRosa is negative, exasperated, and loud. It’s his charm. Hell, Lewis Black has made a career out of sweating hard and contorting his face so much it looks like he’s forcing an aneurysm. DeRosa’s more authentic in his approach; he’s no caricature. He’ll often finish off a joke with an accusatory snarl, like he’s anticipating the audience berating him before the punch line is even delivered. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism. Or maybe it’s uncontrollable paranoia. When it comes down to it, Joe DeRosa’s set can be translated as such: life is pain, fucker.

The banes of DeRosa’s existence—because, get this, there are several—include a McDonald’s cashier who upcharges him 27 cents for a third dipping sauce as he tries to “fill the void in my soul with Chicken McNuggets,” and the grim fact that hot nurses are decidedly not a reality, though they’re typically glorified in pornos as voracious sex fiends (“Try to find a sexy nurse in a hospital, man”). Sometimes he paces the stage like there isn’t an audience at all, just the one friend who’s sat at bar after bar and beer after beer and listened to him go to town on the ills of society, the shit that really pisses him off. Everyone needs a friend like that. Because venting is healthy. And Joe DeRosa is the healthiest man alive. This is his Chicago debut.