If you’ve lived in Chicago for more than a hot minute, chances are you’ve been to one of the two ‘big’ theaters in town—Second City and, iO Chicago. These institutions are home to a ton of incredible comedy voices (Tina Fey, Bill Murray, Seth Meyers, Chris Farley, Vanessa Bayer, etc. etc. etc ad nauseum), but they’re not alone in their influence in ye olde Windy City. And because who doesn’t love laughing, here’s a few lesser known comedy theaters you should LOL at this weekend.
1. LOL Chicago
Add this to your rotation for Friday and Saturday nights—family friendly stuff at 7:30, and then ‘leave the kids at home’ shows at 9:30. These guys are pros at short-form improv and you’ll be, well, laughing out loud.
This is admittedly one of the ‘bigger’, well-known theaters in town (with alums like Aidy Bryant), but it may not be on everyone’s radar. You can expect wild, no-holds-barred, raunchy shows from some incredibly talented folks.
Practically right off of the Belmont brown/red line, this venue is dedicated to music comedy. It’s a fun, intimate space and the last show I saw there was a musical about Brenden Fraser. It’s also BYOB which is always a good time.
4. Playground Theater
The Playground Theater is a non-profit, artist-led theater in Boystown. You can expect some experimenta, super-fun shows. It’s a one-room, BYOB space so you’ll get that intimate comedy experience.
5. Bughouse Theater
Head to this North Center spot for everything from stand up to improv to other experimental art forms. The best thing to expect when headed here is the unexpected.
6. Under The Gun
Feeling adventurous? Head out to this theater for one of their interactive comedy shows. Or grab a ticket to their other storytelling events, plays, stand-up, improv, or sketch comedy. One look at their current calendar and you’ll definitely find something that makes you laugh.
7. Stage 773
This theater is home to some major comedy festivals (Like Women’s Funny Fest and The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival) and it hosts a ton of very funny sketch shows, musical reviews, and from the looks of it, currently a clown show? Get out there and get your LOL on (please forgive me for putting it like that).
8. CIC Theater
This small theater in lakeview packs a lot of comedy punch. I saw a sketch show there about male strippers and it was outrageously funny. They also do a ton of improv shows as well, so pop by for any of their upcoming shows. Highlight: Sunday nights at 8pm they host a show called The Blender where a house team improvises and then invites local area improvisers to join them. So if you’re an up and coming improvisor yourself—hop on in.