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Heavy

The playbill includes multiple definitions of heavy–of which “hard to bear” is the most relevant. This series of sketches and monologues about being fat is amateurish across the board. Thanks to an impressively drab, carpeted set and feeble sound, scenes often come off like basement rehearsals. The three writer-performers, two overweight men and a height-weight […]

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Dr. Amazing, Your Country Needs You!

In this spoof set in 1969, director Sean Cusick and company send up campy sci-fi flicks, military propaganda reels, soft-core porn, and early cigarette commercials. The humor ranges from wordplay (check off becomes Chekhov) to innuendo/gross-out (“I’ll make sense–in your hair”) to the offbeat (“In my spare time I sit down”). The show features werewolves, […]

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Colin Quinn

If YouTube had been around in the late 80s, Colin Quinn might have been a bigger star. His antics as cohost of MTV’s Remote Control and his LL Cool J parody video, Going Back to Brooklyn, were ripe for repeat viewings. By the late 90s Quinn had found a wider audience as the anchor of […]

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Jon Stewart

The former Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz graduated from William & Mary in 1984 with a degree in psychology and got his first gig as a stand-up about three years later–reportedly he bombed. But by the mid-90s he’d landed a recurring role on The Larry Sanders Show and his own short-lived Jon Stewart Show, first on MTV […]

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Chicago Improv Festival

The Chicago Improv Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary with 45 sketch and improv groups from around the world. This is perhaps the best opportunity all year to check out the cutting edge of improvisation, a form that continues to fuel the entertainment industry, from The Daily Show and TV commercials to theater and film. CIF […]

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Earth Day Events

April 22 is Earth Day, an international effort founded in 1970 by Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson and coordinated by the nonprofit Earth Day Network (earthday.net). It’s also the birthday of Julius Sterling Morton, founder of Arbor Day, celebrated this year on April 27. The city has expanded its annual festivities to what’s called Earth Month […]

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Patti Vasquez

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 […]

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Dave Attell

Born in Queens, raised on Long Island, and schooled at NYU, Dave Attell is your prototypical New York comedian: quick, raw, and dissident. He’s also undeniably funny. A frequent pick among his peers as an inspiration or favorite, the former Insomniac host says he was influenced by Colin Quinn, another New York stand-up who’s found […]

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Laughing Out Loud

Though not as influential as Ellen DeGeneres or as political as Margaret Cho, Judy Gold has a high profile in the GLBT community. Here she headlines the Human Rights Campaign’s seventh annual Laughing Out Loud, which also features Sabrina Matthews and Andre Kelley. Born and raised in New Jersey, Gold says she felt like an […]

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Ron White

Onstage Ron White wears all black, smokes cigars, and sips (and “sweats”) scotch. His wide smile and tales of laziness and boozing might make him appear happy-go-lucky, but by the end of his routine it’s clear he’s been to hell and back. A big Texan, White served in Vietnam, overcame a drug addiction, and sold […]

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Testify

In this comedy about megachurch Protestantism, a fallen pastor is eulogized by two underlings while other congregants tease the audience with confessional lines like “Who among us hasn’t gone online and sold your wife’s titty milk?” There are some nice touches with the music (“Awesome God”), jargon (“Praise God” and “Hallelujah” are uttered often), and […]

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Janice Dutts Goes to Life Camp

Factory Theater opens its 15th season with this comedy set in Chicago: a frumpy, friendless couch potato reluctantly takes on a life coach, which involves attending a camp with overzealous counselors. There’s a message in here somewhere–as in an episode of Growing Pains–but it’s as unconvincing as Dutts’s progress. Playwright Laura McKenzie boldly gives herself […]

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Laughin’ Out Loud 2

This Swagger Entertainment production (not to be confused with the “Laughing Out Loud” fund-raiser at Park West next month) promises three hours of stand-up from headliner D.L. Hughley plus Tony Roberts, CoCoa Brown, Lil Rel, and Shawn Morgan. Hughley, one of the four comedians in Spike Lee’s hit documentary The Original Kings of Comedy, recently […]

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Misled 2: Garage Sketch

Audience members aren’t purposely befuddled in this sketch show the way they were in Misled, but it’s still inspired by music of the 60s and marked by creative blocking and pacing–and it still showcases some of Chicago’s best comedic talent. The evening is bookended by sketches involving kids playing garage rock; in between are bits […]