All stories by Zach Freeman on BroadwayStars

Monday, October 9, 2017

Demetri Martin is most himself with his one-liners at The Vic by Zach Freeman

“The human head is least scary when attached.”Demetri Martin is a person. He is a person who tells jokes, which makes him a comedian. As evidence of these two claims he has recorded stan…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 11:45AM
Friday, September 8, 2017

He's still Chris Rock, but the 'Total Blackout' laughs come few and far between by Zach Freeman

“That was a great show," one audience member said hopefully to another as they walked out of the Chicago Theatre on Thursday night after the first of a sold out, four-night run of legendar…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 10:40AM
Thursday, September 7, 2017

Fall Comedy Top 10: Our pick of legends, from Steve Martin to Cameron Esposito by Zach Freeman

From local legends (Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher) to legend-legends (Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin), here are our top 10 comedy shows not to miss this fall. Jo Koy Jo Koy had been workin…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:00PM

Fall Comedy: Good things are coming Just Nesh's way by Zach Freeman

Last year Just Nesh — a Chicago comic whose given name is Taneshia Rice — appeared on Kevin Hart’s “Hart of the City,” a show where Hart — a comedy juggernaut — checks out the …

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:00PM
Friday, September 1, 2017

Laurie Kilmartin at Zanies: Life is a temporary condition by Zach Freeman

Leaning comfortably on the mic stand with her right hip stuck out and her left knee bent, comedian Laurie Kilmartin surveyed the Thursday night crowd at Zanies, sizing the audience up anew a…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 10:30AM
Thursday, August 17, 2017

At Zanies, a still hysterical Emo Philips shows why he's Emo Philips by Zach Freeman

“I was pretty much the first comic to play this club,” comedian Emo Philips said early on in his playful and loose hourlong set Wednesday night at Zanies in Chicago. That’s no joke. Ph…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 11:06AM
Monday, August 7, 2017

Moshe Kasher and Natasha Leggero give relationship advice on 'The Endless Honeymoon Tour' by Zach Freeman

A comedy show might not seem like the ideal place to solicit relationship advice, but Sunday night at Park West — which is the most romantically inclined of Chicago’s comedy venues, if a…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:00PM
Thursday, August 3, 2017

What's real diversity in comedy? Welcome to 'Woke Up, Stand Up' by Zach Freeman

Seven months after stepping off a plane at Midway after relocating from Denver, comedian Basil Faraj took the stage on a Thursday night in front of a sold-out crowd in the backroom of Cole's…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:45PM
Monday, July 31, 2017

Dwayne Kennedy begins week at Zanies with a little comedy philosophy by Zach Freeman

“That’s the beauty of stand-up,” comedian Dwayne Kennedy says casually, his glasses, goatee and all-black outfit mixing with his contemplative tone to give him the vibe of a philosophy…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:15PM
Saturday, July 22, 2017

'Tim and Eric Awesome Tour': They're not afraid to go beyond funny by Zach Freeman

I don't think it's a spoiler to tell you that Tim Heidecker — the Tim half of alt-comedy duo "Tim and Eric" — ends the "Tim and Eric 10th Anniversary Awesome Tour" parading across the st…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 10:30AM
Saturday, July 15, 2017

Comedy Get Down finally arrives in Chicago: These guys are pros by Zach Freeman

"I'm gonna tell you right now my … ticket said 8 p.m.!" said a suit-clad George Lopez, taking the stage at the United Center to kick off the Comedy Get Down tour. At 8:45 p.m. He had a few…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 11:42AM
Thursday, July 13, 2017

'Kyle Mooney Live' at Thalia Hall: Funny, but with a piece missing by Zach Freeman

Before comedian Kyle Mooney made the leap to "Saturday Night Live" in 2013, he was a member of the iconic sketch comedy troupe Good Neighbor, along with childhood friends Beck Bennett, Dave …

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:52PM
Saturday, July 8, 2017

Gabriel Iglesias at Horseshoe Casino, master of his own brand management by Zach Freeman

“The show ended a long time ago,” comedian Gabriel Iglesias said suddenly Friday night from centerstage of The Venue at Horseshoe Casino, wearing jean shorts, white tennis shoes and one …

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 11:10AM
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Trae Crowder and WellRED Comedy should be more than curiosities by Zach Freeman

"Ya'll been to the internet lately?" As drawled Friday night to a sold-out Thalia Hall audience by comedian and Facebook/YouTube sensation Trae Crowder — better known to many as "The Liber…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:06PM
Saturday, June 17, 2017

W. Kamau Bell does political humor — with an emphasis on the political by Zach Freeman

“It’s important for those of us who have a voice to speak out,” comedian, podcaster, author and CNN host W. Kamau Bell said Friday night, partway through his conversational and frequen…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:46PM
Saturday, June 3, 2017

Laughing and crying in a devastating set from Patton Oswalt by Zach Freeman

"Just over a year ago, I became a widower …" Deep breath. This isn't a bit. It's not the set-up for a joke. This is comedian Patton Oswalt about halfway through an hourlong stand-up set, d…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:24PM
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The comedy fests are coming: Who to see at Break Out and 26th Annual by Zach Freeman

Among the many things that Chicago is known for, comedy remains one of our most cherished and proudly exported. Whether you prefer chuckling at locally-sourced, artisan jokes at open mics an…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 09:47AM
Saturday, May 20, 2017

Review: Nikki Glaser is long on the racy stories, short on jokes by Zach Freeman

Imagine the most embarrassing moment in your sexual history. Got it? Now imagine recounting that moment to a stranger. Now imagine recounting that moment to a room full of strangers while ho…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:40PM
Thursday, May 11, 2017

Neil Hamburger show at Lincoln Hall was a comedy disaster. A perfect comedy disaster. by Zach Freeman

Grease-slicked hair stripes across his forehead in a blatant comb-over. He spills half of his drink setting it on a music stand and pours the rest on his head a few minutes later. He loudly …

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 11:19AM
Sunday, May 7, 2017

Maher needed to put away his notebook and be present at Chicago Theatre by Zach Freeman

What a missed opportunity. A little over 100 days into the presidency of Donald J. Trump and political satirists are riding high on the fact that so many of their viewers are feeling very lo…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:12PM
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Jay Leno's stale set at Rosemont Theatre still has Bill Clinton jokes by Zach Freeman

At the end of last year I saw Jerry Seinfeld perform an unfortunately unimpressive and dated set at the Chicago Theatre. I was especially struck not just by how lackluster Seinfeld's presenc…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 10:54AM
Sunday, April 16, 2017

Norm Macdonald knows how this comedy thing is supposed to work by Zach Freeman

A standing ovation is typically reserved for the end of a truly impressive performance. But on Saturday night at The Vic, as comedian Norm Macdonald took the stage for the first of two sold-…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:58PM
Sunday, April 9, 2017

Ali Wong sells out Chicago Theatre, but 'who's taking care of the baby?' by Zach Freeman

What a difference a special makes. A year ago, before her Netflix special "Baby Cobra" — one of the best stand-up specials of 2016 — was released, Ali Wong wasn't a name that you would h…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 11:12AM
Sunday, March 26, 2017

Comedian Katt Williams has no interest in traveling light by Zach Freeman

Katt Williams may have a rocky relationship with the law — the impetuous comedian has been arrested more than a handful of times in the past decade — but judging from the laughter at Sat…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:10PM
Sunday, February 19, 2017

Kathy Griffin spins seamlessly and hilariously between Trump, the Kardashians by Zach Freeman

A little under a month ago, a controversial tweet about Donald Trump’s 10-year-old son, Barron, got “Saturday Night Live” writer (and former Chicagoan) Katie Rich suspended from the sh…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:10PM
Sunday, February 5, 2017

Review: Chris D'Elia finds it absurd that he’s an adult by Zach Freeman

After years of self-aware, self-aggrandizing fanfare mixed with constant belittlement at the hands (and peer-reviewed articles) of our elders (and often even from our peers), the oldest of t…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:01PM
Monday, January 30, 2017

Louie Anderson's take on hang-ups? Not so bad by Zach Freeman

Some comedians tell you everything about their personal lives — where they live, their marital status, what their home life is like, etc. — while closely guarding their actual deep-seate…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:54AM
Saturday, January 28, 2017

Review: It's got to be hats off to Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy by Zach Freeman

"Folks, I cannot dumb this show down any more than this," Larry the Cable Guy (the intentionally obtuse, drawling alter ego of comedian Dan Whitney) declared after dropping a particularly cr…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:20PM
Sunday, January 15, 2017

Chris Tucker's talent only counts for so much at the Chicago Theatre by Zach Freeman

Comedian Chris Tucker may not know how to structure a coherent 85-minute comedy set (more on that later) but he definitely knows how to make an entrance. Most comedians enter from stage left…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 07:08PM
Thursday, December 22, 2016

Our comedy Top 10: Stand-up for all types and stripes this winter by Zach Freeman

With big-name comedy acts ranging from Mike Epps to Jeff Foxworthy, Chicago has you covered this winter: Janeane Garofalo: Look back on the television shows from the '90s that are most rever…

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:33PM

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