Megan Gailey of "Naked Sports Live"
Got the winter blues? Hey, it's January—you're supposed to. But if it's true that laughter is the best medicine, then we've got the cure: seven straight days of comedy shows including stand-up, sketch, solo performance and improv to bring some wit into your winter.
Wednesday: TJ & Dave
Reviewers rave about this improv show, which has been running at iO for 11 years--"Run, don't walk to the 'TJ & Dave' show" (Chicago magazine)—and also plays often in New York at the Barrow Street Theatre—"Mind-blowing; the best 50 minutes of improv comedy that we've ever seen" (Time Out New York). Each week, TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi start out with the promise, "Trust us, this is all made up," and then dive in to portray multiple characters in a long-form scene devised on the spot.
Go: 11 p.m. at iO, 3541 N. Clark St.
Tickets: $5. 773-880-0199; ioimprov.com
Thursday: Naked Sports Live
Comedians You Should Know co-host Joe Kilgallon and his "Naked Sports Live" podcast partner Megan Gailey, along with local comics Joe Fernandez, Liza Treyger, and Clark Jones perform a hybrid comedy show that features stand-up sets interspersed with no-holds-barred, sports-themed sketches inspired by the podcast—where comedians strip down sports. Chicago funnyman Ricky Gonzalez hosts the joke-filled jamboree.
Go: 9 p.m. at Timothy O'Toole's, 622 N. Fairbanks Court
Tickets: $5-$10. 312- 642-0700; comediansyoushouldknow.com
Friday: Donnell Rawlings
You may have seen him do both comedy (as Ashy Larry on "Chappelle's Show") and drama (as Day-Day Price on "The Wire"). You may have also seen him as a cast member of MTV2's "Guy Code" and as a panelist on MTV2's "Hip Hop Squares." Now, you can see him live in his stand-up show, "Donnell Unchained."
Go: 8 and 10:30 p.m. at Up Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave., third floor
Tickets: $20. 312-662-4562; upcomedyclub.com
Saturday: Fillet of Solo: Gayco
The 16th annual solo performance and storytelling festival features 14 acts on two stages running through Jan. 20. Saturday, see members of Chicago's venerable LGBT sketch troupe including Armand Fields, Tim Paul, Jamie Newland, Kelly Beeman and Zach Zimmerman, all of whom 'fess up with humorous tales on the subject of "truth."
Go: 8:30 p.m. at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave.
Tickets: $10. 773-761-4477; lifelinetheatre.com
Sunday: "Stitched" and "Seriously Unprepared Prepares"
In "Stitched," three performers—Erin Johnson, Jack Farrell and Wolfgang Stein—begin with solo bits about a child-murdering mother, a hot mic and events that take place in a dark bathroom stall and gradually (you guessed it) stitch them together into two- and three-person scenes. Sketch duo Seriously Unprepared—Jo Scott and Jeff Murdoch—rounds out the night with a fast-paced set featuring highbrow approaches to lowbrow humor.
Go: 8 p.m. at The Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N. Broadway
Tickets: $10. 773-561-4665; annoyanceproductions.com
Monday: The Female Funnies
Men are invited to share the audience, but it's women only at the mic for this monthly stand-up showcase as Patti "Chicago's Latin Diva of Comedy" Vasquez emcees performances by local ladies of laughter including the former Riot Comedy co-founder Liza Treyger—fresh from her Thursday appearance in "Naked Sports Live" (see above)—plus Niki Brayden, NBC-TV's "Stand Up for Diversity" contest semi-finalist Emily Galati and others.
Go: 8:30 p.m. at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells St.
Tickets: $10 plus a two-item food or drink minimum. 312-337-4027; chicago.zanies.com
Tuesday: Comedy Secrets
A new year means new beginnings, which happens to be January's topic at this program about finding the funny in otherwise sad and/or shameful experiences, brought to you by the event producers of "You, Me, Them, Everybody." Hosts Stephanie Hasz and Andy Fleming and guest comics Kenny DeForest, Kristin Clifford, Julia Solomon, Ken Witzgall and Lisa Laureta spill their guts about times they chose—or were forced—to start over.
Go: 9 p.m. at Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont Ave.
Tickets: Donations accepted. 773- 709-1401; Facebook.com/comedysecrets