Back for its third year, Just for Laughs brings about 130 comedians to 13 Chicago-area venues. Here are some good bets:
A scientist wants empirical proof that her boyfriend is the one in Losing Control, a new movie by Valerie Weiss, screening as part of the JFL Films series (Tue 6/14, 7:45 PM, Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, $7-$12). Wearing heavy eyeliner and a heavier scowl, Tim Minchin looks like he could be in Korn, but his brand of piano-based comedy is actually very sweet (Tue-Sat 6/14-6/18, 10 PM, Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln, $25). Four stand-ups you flashed on as you clicked past Comedy Central ten years ago—Dave Attell, Jim Breuer, Bill Burr, and Jim Norton—are grouped together as the Anti-Social Network. (Wed 6/15, 7:30 PM, Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, $42.50-$62.50).
John Lutz, Dan Bakkedahl, Peter Grosz, and Rob Janas reunite as 4 Square, their long-form improv group from back in the day. Close Quarters opens for them on Wednesday, Revolver on Thursday (Wed-Thu 6/15-6/16, 8 PM, iO Theater, 3541 N. Clark, $20). Comedian and author (This Is a Book) Demetri Martin guarantees that his show, Demetri Martin & Special Guests, Who Are Also Comedians and Are Friends of His, will “feature the best audience at the whole festival” (Thu 6/16, 7:30 PM, Chicago Theatre, $38.50-$48.50). As part of JFL’s Pet Project series, hilarious iO regular Steve Waltien was given an hour to come up with a new show. It’s called Scenes With Ghosts (Thu 6/16, 8:30 PM, Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted, $5).
As of press time, JFL hasn’t announced who the friends (and acquaintances) will be in Joel McHale & Friends and Acquaintances, but if McHale’s show on E!, The Soup, is any indication, they’ll be random and very funny (Fri 6/17, 7:30 PM. Chicago Theatre, $32.50-$62.50). The duo behind Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen, Kurt Braunohler and former Chicago comic Kristen Schaal, were nominated for Best Comedy Show at the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Fri 6/17, 7:30 PM, Lincoln Hall, $17.50). SNL head writer Seth Meyers killed it at the 2011 White House correspondents’ dinner and can be expected to do the same here, in the city where he was born and raised (Sat 6/18, 7:30 PM, Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield, $35).
Lots of locals are showing up Saturday at the Annoyance Theatre, including long-form improv masters Michael Patrick O’Brien and TJ Jagodowski, Chicago Improv Festival director Jet Eveleth, and SNL player Paul Brittain (Sat 6/18, 8 PM, Annoyance, 4830 N. Broadway, $15). And stick around for Bandicoot!, a film produced by the Annoyance ensemble and company founder Mick Napier (Sat 6/18, midnight, Annoyance, $5). Steve Martin and Martin Short perform together in what’s being billed as A Very Stupid Conversation (Sun 6/19, 7:30 PM, Chicago Theatre, $58.50-$102.50).
Tue-Sun 6/14-6/19, various times, venues, and prices. Tickets and information at justforlaughschicago.com.