World-class comedy and a huge, welcoming LGBTQ community are two things Chicago prides itself on. Even better, when those two worlds intersect, they form a Venn diagram of positivity, camaraderie, acceptance and of course, uproarious laughter. From BYOB shows in Andersonville to a “live magazine” that takes a refreshingly giggly approach to weekly news, these are the best LGBTQ-friendly comedy shows in Chicago.
The KIKI: Queer Comedy with Variety
Perhaps the most well known all-queer show in the city, The KIKI is an evening of Chicago’s most fabulously funny queer comics, storytellers, spoken word artists and improvisers. Produced by comedians Megan Brennan and Scott Duff (former producer of the defunct ChiGayGo at Laugh Factory), the monthly show takes place in Andersonville at Transistor Chicago, a hip gallery that sells art, electronics, stationary, records, books and home items. If all this doesn’t sound enticing enough (but really, why wouldn’t it), the show is also BYOB, so bring some wine, buy an air plant and enjoy a fun show in an awesome space.
Details: First Sunday of the month at Transistor Chicago. 7 p.m. Free and BYOB.
Baby Wine bills itself as “an all-gay improv supernova with universally relatable scene-work from a cast filled with unique points of view.” It’s rather difficult to top that description, as it hits the proverbial nail right on the head. The show’s structure can change and morph occasionally, branching out from a strictly improv show to offer sketches and stand-up comedians. Not to mention that Annoyance Theatre is a delightfully safe and fun space to take in any show, as owner Mick Napier has strived to create over the years.
Details: Fridays at The Annoyance Theatre. 10 p.m. $8.
Currently on hiatus until January due to the recent closing of the Uptown Underground theater, Strip Joker is a monthly sex-positive show whose description falls somewhere between stand-up comedy and burlesque. To simplify it further, the show features stand-up comedians performing a set while slowly disrobing, and it’s just as fun and quirky as it sounds. Strip Joker is sponsored by the “You Are Beautiful” sticker campaign, so the degree of acceptance, love and body positivity is truly unrivaled by any other show in Chicago. It’s run by comedians Molly Kearney and Brittany Meyer, who are gung-ho about securing a new venue as soon as possible. Keep your eyes peeled for the new iteration of Strip Joker, coming to a fun, queer-friendly space near you.
The Paper Machete
Another queer-friendly production, this Saturday afternoon show at The Green Mill is one of Chicago’s greatest little-known treasures. Helmed by the whimsical and brilliant Chris Piatt, the “live magazine” is a unique concept and format wherein actors, comedians, journalists, academics, musicians, storytellers and satirists write and perform pieces about the previous week’s news. But like, funny. Given that we’re currently living in what seems like a poor simulation of Back to the Future 2, where every day’s news cycle brings some sort of fresh new hell, Paper Machete offers a more-than-welcome weekly catharsis. Where you can laugh about the news in a packed room of like-minded folks, rather than cry by yourself on your bathroom floor. The show has a two-act structure with an intermission, and always features at least one band or musical act playing at different times throughout the show. And not only is it free, but it takes place in one of Chicago’s most historic, iconic and infamous bars. It starts at 3 p.m., but get there early if you want a decent seat, and be prepared to be accidentally drunk by 5 p.m.
Details: Every Saturday at The Green Mill 3 p.m. Free.
Tuxedo Cat is one of the shows on this list that falls under the queer-friendly umbrella. While the lineups aren’t necessarily all-queer, the show fosters a fun environment in a safe space and draws a supportive audience that comes together to celebrate each other. The show features some of the best comics in Chicago and beyond (recently Glitter Moneyyy and a drop-in from Hannibal Buress), and it’s followed by a dance party. Not to mention the drink special, a martini and a manicure for $12, which is such a hot deal that you’d be losing money if you didn’t capitalize on it.
Details: Every 2nd and 4th Thursday at Beauty Bar. 8 p.m. Free.