Kelsie Huff
Kelsie Huff Credit: Johnny Knight

Nothing about the Kates’ comedy show is traditional. In fact, Kelsie Huff formed the group to provide space not only for female comics, but also for acts that didn’t have a place in the traditional Chicago improv scene. Cohosted by Huff and the high-kicking Amy Sumpter, the twice-monthly show, with acts ranging from storytelling to clowning, is literally an arm’s length away from the audience, in front of a Book Cellar magazine rack—which Sumpter once broke during her set. The closeness creates a uniquely intimate atmosphere not found in the dingy bars and dimly lit theaters that typically attract improv artists. With comedians sharing side-splittingly embarrassing stories right in front of you, the Kates’ show feels more like a close-knit sleepover than anything else.