In 1995 Chicago native Patti Vasquez was pursuing a PhD in history at Northwestern when she did a stand-up open mike on campus. “It was more fun than I could ever have dreamed,” she says. Within weeks she’d dropped out and begun bartending. She was a house emcee at Zanies on Wells for eight years before headlining, turning a corner, she says, with her first pregnancy (she has two kids): “I felt more confident. I started saying whatever I was thinking.” The affable Vasquez, who’s of Mexican and Irish descent, has a mom-next-door look and bills her comedy as “humor with a heart,” but there’s nothing reserved about her approach to ethnicity or motherhood, both frequent subjects. When Vasquez told her mother she was pregnant, she says, her mother responded, “Oh my God, I’m so happy for you. Now let’s see how you fucking like it.” a Through 4/22: Thu 9:30 PM, Fri 8:30 and 10:30 PM, Sat 7, 9, and 11:15 PM, Sun 8:30 PM, Zanies, 1548 N. Wells, 312-337-4027, $21, two-drink min. Then Thu 4/26, 7:30 PM, Joe’s, 940 W. Weed, 312-337-3486, $8.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Brian McConkey.