As summer draws near, big-name comedians are coming to town en masse, including Nicole Byer, Dax Shepard, and the most hilarious cast member from Queer Eye.
Jonathan Van Ness: Road to Beijing at the Chicago Theatre
The funniest cast member of Netflix’s Queer Eye (and let’s be honest, everyone’s favorite), Van Ness is embarking on a world tour with a one-night stop in Chicago. This is, admittedly, his first foray into the world of stand-up, but any fan of the show is sure to have a delightful and whimsical evening with his infectious energy.
Details: June 8, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.; $93–$258
Kill Tony Live Podcast at Thalia Hall
Hosted by comedians Tony Hinchcliffe and Brian Redban, Kill Tony is a weekly live show/podcast recorded at the Comedy Store in Hollywood. The show features the hosts—along with a changing panel of established comics and celebrities—acting as judges for amateur comedians as they perform one minute of material.
Details: June 13, 7 p.m.; $20
Jena Friedman at the Hideout
Friedman was once a Chicago resident, but since moving to New York about 10 years ago, she’s been doing big things. Formerly a staff writer for The Late Show With David Letterman and a field producer for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, her words are razor sharp—as is her stand-up. Her first critically acclaimed special, American Cunt, is available on iTunes, and her new special, Soft Focus With Jena Friedman, recently debuted on Adult Swim.
Details: June 14, 7 p.m.; $14
Why Won’t You Date Me? With Nicole Byer at Thalia Hall
Actor-comedian Byer has been busy the past few years. She currently has a show loosely based on her life called Loosely Exactly Nicole and hosts the baking show Nailed It! on Netflix. She has also appeared on 30 Rock, Lady Dynamite, Chelsea Lately, and The Tonight Show, among many others. Why Won’t You Date Me? is Byer’s podcast about dating in the modern landscape and features a wide array of guests.
Details: June 15, 6 p.m.; $20–$50
Hannah Gadsby at the Chicago Theatre
Although she’s been performing for more than a decade, Gadsby was thrust into the international comedic spotlight last year after Netflix debuted her hour special, Nanette. In a performance heralded as “groundbreaking” (the special received 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), Gadsby discussed growing up as a member of the LGBTQ community in Tasmania, where being gay was illegal, and goes on to shed light on where she sees her place in the LGBTQ community nowadays (“…where are the quiet gays supposed to go?”). Nanette was moving and hilarious, and it’s safe to assume her new hour-long show will be similarly poignant.
Details: June 16, 7:30 p.m.; $39–$59
Conner O’Malley Presents: I Wish I Could Beat My Own Ass! at The Hideout
O’Malley is yet another comedian who originally hails from Chicago. Most known for his writing and comedic acting on Late Night With Seth Meyers, he’s also gained a huge cult following for his characters on YouTube and Vine (RIP Vine). He’s appeared on Broad City, Joe Pera Talks With You and been nominated for three Writers Guild of America Awards. This Hideout show will feature O’Malley doing stand-up, showing videos, and performing one-man improv.
Details: June 17, 7 p.m.; $12
Ron Funches’s Merriment Marauder Tour at Thalia Hall
With his infectious laugh, mischievous smile, and killer material, Funches is one of the most delightful and likable comedians currently working. He was a main character on NBC’s Undateable for three seasons and has also performed stand-up on Conan, The Tonight Show, and Comedy Central. Comedian Blair Socci is the opening act, who is also a solid comic on the rise.
Details: June 20, 8 p.m.; $27
Armchair Expert at the Chicago Theatre
Actor Dax Shepard is taking his podcast on a live tour across the country, with a one-night stop at the Chicago Theatre. Shepard has starred in dozens of movies and TV shows, most recently Chips and Parenthood, but many still remember him as the star of MTV’s Punk’d with Ashton Kutcher. The podcast features interviews with celebrities from various industries (actors, comedians, chefs, etc.) and aims to dive into “the messiness of being human.”
Details: June 28, 8 p.m.
The Jimmy Dore Show at Thalia Hall
Dore, a stand-up comic and political commentator, records a live episode of his podcast, The Jimmy Dore Show. The show was originally born as a weekly radio show in Los Angeles, before migrating to The Young Turks network, until earlier this year, when Dore decided to take it on himself. Politically, Dore leans very heavy to the left, which influences much of his comedy and almost the entirety of the podcast.
Details: July 13, 7 p.m.; $30
Felipe Esparza’s The Bad Hambre Tour at Vic Theatre
Esparza was the winner of Last Comic Standing in 2010, and since then he has been consistently on the rise. With two critically acclaimed hour specials under his belt (one airing on HBO), he’s also made forays into the acting world quite a bit, most notably as a recurring character on NBC’s Superstore and the upcoming Netflix show Gentefied.
Details: July 13, 7 p.m.; $39.50–$61
Johnny Pemberton at the Hideout
Pemberton’s oddball style of comedy has made him a favorite in alt rooms around the country, and he has quite the impressive acting résumé. He’s had roles in 21 Jump Street, Ant Man, Neighbors 2, Oscar-nominated In the Loop, as well as a recurring role on NBC’s Superstore. He also hosts a podcast, Live to Tape, on Starburns Audio.
Details: July 15, 7 p.m.; $10