Just For Laughs highlights

What to see when the TBS Just For Laughs comedy festival lands in Chicago

  • Left to right: Al Madrigal, Lil Rel and Angelah Johnson
Left to right: Al Madrigal, Lil Rel and Angelah Johnson
June 07, 2013|By Julia Borcherts, @JuliaBorcherts | For RedEye

If you can't find a reason to laugh this week, it's your own fault.

The fifth annual TBS Just For Laughs comedy festival kicks off Tuesday with more than 90 shows over six days featuring hundreds of comedians at multiple venues. We're talking national and international headliners, cast members from hit TV shows and special stagings of popular local productions.

To get you started on your road to hilarity, we've rounded up some highlights for each day of the fest. Buy tickets and check out the full schedule at justforlaughschicago.com.

TUESDAY

Pete Holmes

The former Chicagoan and frequent "New Yorker" cartoonist, who's also the creator and host of the "You Made It Weird" podcast—where guests have included Jon Hamm, Judd Apatow, Sarah Silverman, Michael Ian Black and Hannibal Buress—returns prior to prepping for his new Conan-produced TBS live comedy talk show this fall, "The Midnight Show with Pete Holmes."

$25. 8 and 10:30 p.m. (also 8 p.m. Thursday) at Up Comedy Club (230 W. North Ave. 312-337-3992)

WEDNESDAY

Anjelah Johnson

You—and 55 million others—have seen her on Mad TV as cranky fast food cashier Bon Qui Qui and will soon be seeing her co-star in the NBC-TV "About a Boy" pilot with Minnie Driver and David Walton. But this week, you can see the former Oakland Raiders cheerleader onstage with her stand-up act.

$25. 7:30 p.m. at The Vic Theatre (3145 N. Sheffield Ave. 773-472-0449)

THURSDAY

David Cross and His Super Duper Pals

Now that he's back in his cut-offs as Tobias "Never Nude" Funke in the "Arrested Development reboot, the actor—also the creator and star of IFC's "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret"—leads a comedy posse featuring Doug Benson, Paul F. Tompkins, Brian Posehn and Todd Glass.

$39-$49. 7:30 p.m. at The Chicago Theatre (175 N. State St. 800-745-3000)

Chelsea Peretti

For the price of a fancy martini, you can see the comedian whose "Call Chelsea Peretti" podcast debuted at No. 1 on iTunes and who's all over some of TV's most popular shows as a writer for "Parks and Recreation," "Portlandia," "The Sarah Silverman Program" and "Kroll Show," as a regular on Adult Swim's "China, IL" and Tru TV's "World's Dumbest" and in guest roles on "Kroll Show" and "Louie."

$15. 8:30 p.m. (also 8:30 p.m. Friday; 7 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday) at Stage 773 (1225 W. Belmont Ave. 773-327-5252)

FRIDAY

Dylan Moran: "Yeah, Yeah"

The Irish comedian best known as David in "Shaun of the Dead" and as the creator, writer and star of the BAFTA Award-winning British comedy, "Black Books" performs his solo show featuring humorous observations about such topics as the differences between the sexes, the disadvantages of skiing and kids these days who dance like they've just been tasered.

$35.50. 7:30 p.m. at the Park West (322 W. Armitage Ave. 773-929-1322)

Comics to Watch

Chicago comedian (and RedEye Five on Fives contributor) Clark Jones hosts sets by local jokesters Ben Bergman, Brandi Denise, Bryan Christopher, Cody Wilkins, Gia Claire, Lem Slaughter, Mark Gregory and Meechie Hall.

$15 or two-for-$20 plus a two-drink minimum. 8:30 p.m. at Jokes and Notes (4641 S. King Drive 773-373-3390)

SATURDAY

Knuckleheads

Three of the newest "SNL" cast members—former Chicagoans and The Second City ensemble members Tim Robinson, Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant—join forces for a sketch and improv show.

$25. 8 and 11 p.m. p.m. (also 10:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 and 11 p.m. Friday) at Up Comedy Club (230 W. North Ave. 312-337-3992)

The Blackout Diaries

Chicago funnyman Sean Flannery hosts tales of inebriated misadventures from festival performers Mike Burns—creator of the @DadBoner Twitter sensation and Vice magazine contributor—and Kyle Kinane ("Dancing Around the [Bleep] Fire"), plus local bartender John Leadley and the dudes from Pipeworks Brewing Co. Bonus: after each story, the audience quizzes the teller about missing—and potentially embarrassing—details.

$15. 11:30 p.m. (also 11:30 p.m. Friday) at Stage 773 (1225 W. Belmont Ave. 773-327-5252)

SUNDAY

The Lil Rel Show

Joke slinger Lil Rel—the Chicagoan whose first Comedy Central special just premiered June 7 and who's taping a Comedy Central pilot he created, wrote and stars in called "Legion of Goons"—headlines a stand-up showcase.

$15 plus a two-drink minimum. 8 p.m. at Jokes and Notes (4641 S. King Drive 773-373-3390)

Bill Maher

The Emmy Award-nominated HBO political pundit ("Real Time"), documentary filmmaker ("Religulous") and bestselling author hits the stage to close out the festival.

$49-$79. 7:30 p.m. at The Chicago Theatre (175 N. State St. 800-745-3000)

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