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Comedy Clubs

A Guide to Chicago’s Best Comedy Clubs

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Chicago has a long and rich history in the comedy world. It’s been the starting point for many great careers and continues to be a launching pad for some of comedy’s newest starts. To experience some of the best that Chicago has to offer, check out these comedy clubs.

Second City, which opened in 1959, has a reputation for being Chicago’s best. Stars such as Mike Myers, Bill Murray, John Belushi and Gilda Radner got their start at Second City’s world famous Chicago theater. They offer nightly performances on a wide variety of topics, including the presidential election and dysfunctional family holidays. There is a bar in the lobby and you can bring your beverage into the show. Tickets cost $19 for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday shows, and $25 for Friday and Saturday. Located at 1616 N. Wells Street.

For a truly unique comedy experience, check out the show Bye Bye Liver: The Chicago Drinking Play at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts. You will become part of the action as you play interactive drinking games during the booze themed sketch comedy show. The show started out as BYOB, but too many livers were being damaged, so now you must purchased your drinks there. Fear not, you won’t find typical Chicago prices here. They serve $2 Pabst Blue Ribbons, $3 well drinks or $10 for a bucket of 5 domestic beers. Tickets cost $21. Located at 777 N. Green Street.

Don’t Spit the Water at the Playground Improv Theater promises to be a truly unique and entertaining experience. You might even be the star of the show, as three contestants are selected from the audience to compete for a mystery prize. Local comedians try their best to crack up the contestants, who are holding a mouthful of water. If you can get through the show with a straight face and without spitting the water, you go home with the big mystery prize. If the thought of being pulled on stage makes you squirm, fear not, only audience members who sign up at the ticket office will be chosen. Leave your name off the list if you’d rather hide in your seat. The theater is BYOB and tickets cost $15. Located at 3209 N. Halsted.

Zanies Comedy Nite Club is a well know establishment that featured several big stars before they were household names. Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and Tim Allen were all regulars once upon a time. All shows are given a rating (G, PG, R) to make sure the audience knows what it’s in for. If you live or work in the 60610, 60611 or 60614 zip codes, you can check out a show every Tuesday for free. The club offers a full bar and bar style food, like mini pizzas and nachos. Tickets average $20 and included a 2 drink or food item minimum. Located at 1548 N. Wells.

If you’re looking for a bargain, check out The Chicago Underground Comedy Club. Admission is just $5 and you will be treated to a show of five different comedians. Second City comics are often featured. The shows take place in the Beat Kitchen restaurant, so there is a full menu and bar. The gourmet pizzas are not to be missed. Located at 2100 W. Belmont.

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