Comedy Guide to Tomorrow Never Knows Festival

Credit: Ladylike

The bleak Chicago winter months aren’t usually associated with music festivals, but Tomorrow Never Knows has been shaking that notion every January for over a decade. Spearheaded by Lincoln Hall and Schubas, the fest takes place over five days, featuring some of the best local indie artists, as well as bigger-name national acts, including musicians and comedians.

While the majority of the shows will be housed at the aforementioned Lincoln Hall and Schubas, several other venues are participating including Sleeping Village, Metro, Smartbar and The Hideout. It’s mostly the latter where all of the TNK comedy programming takes place, which brings us to your handy WSWD comedy guide. (Life hack: In addition to individual show tickets, $125 passes are on sale that allow access to every show in the fest).

Neil Hamburger at The Hideout
“America’s Funnyman” Neil Hamburger may not be for everybody, but for those that are into avant garde anti-comedy, Hamburger is a home run. The act is the brainchild of comedian Greg Turkington, who’s been performing as Neil Hamburger for the last 25 years, having released several specials and frequently collaborating with Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. Fans of the Tim and Eric show will certainly be on board with Hamburger’s comedic stylings.
Details: January 17, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.; $20

Neil Hamburger

It’s a Guy Thing at The Hideout
This variety show hosted by comedians Mitra Jouhari, Patti Harrison and Catherine Cohen will feature some of the best comedians around town “giving them lectures on guy stuff so that they can finally fit in.” Jouhari is also a member of the popular sketch group Three Busy Debras who recently performed in Chicago and have an upcoming pilot with Adult Swim. Look for fun sketches, some original songs and likely some stand-up.
Details: January 18, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.; $12

ClickHole Live! at The Hideout
ClickHole Live formerly occurred much for frequently at the Hideout, so for fans of the website’s sharp subversive writers, the return will be glorious. The show features a group of writers from ClickHole presenting stories, tales and powerpoint presentations.
Details: January 19, 6 p.m.; $15

Credit: The Hideout

Kate Berlant at The Hideout
Coming off of a sold-out run at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Berlant brings her experimental comedy to TNK fest for two shows. The New York Times described her as a “magnetic improvisational comic” and she recently had a role in the film ‘Sorry to Bother You,’ and ‘Dean,’ written and directed by Demetri Martin.
Details: January 19, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.; $20

Ladylike at The Hideout
This Chicago based show usually occurs monthly at Cafe Mustache, but is being featured in TNK fest and it’s a perfect lead-in to Sarah Squirm’s show that takes place right after. Ladylike is a storytelling show where women, femme-identifying and non-binary performers tell their most disgusting stories.
Details: January 20, 7 p.m.; $10

Helltrap Nightmare at The Hideout
Helltrap Nightmare is a show that defies both description and category. The wild, raunchy show has a monthly residence in Chicago and frequently takes the show on the road, recently doing stints in New York and Los Angeles. The show is created and run by comedian Sarah Squirm and sketch group The Shrimp Boys; all of whom recently shot a hair removal “infomercial” for Adult Swim in LA (watch it ​here)​ , that is beyond bizarre but more importantly: hilarious.
Details: January 20, 9 p.m.; $15

Comedy Do Show
Photo courtesy of Sarah Squirm/Facebook