Includes improv with a few dance moves, following the overarching theme of technology. $15
A monologist tells personal stories that inspire the improv. $12
Baby Wants Candy--a tight troupe now famous for its improvised musicals--began in 1997 as one of the dozens of ImprovOlympic teams formed every year. Somehow they've avoided the usual dissolution of such groups. More impressive, they've never experienced the artistic conservatism that paralyzes improvisers eager to "do it right"--and reap the reward, presumably, of a career in NYC or LA. Instead the troupe has become the very model of smart, physical, quick-thinking, and just plain silly long-form improvisers; they still play well together and manage to entertain. Inspired by the improbable suggestion "So this is it" at the show I saw, nine actors (backed by the five-member Yes Band) improvised a complicated, hilarious, tongue-in-cheek tale of three partnerships on the rocks--two marriages and a professional relationship--and the narrator who helps bring the couples back together. --Jack Helbig $15
Local standup and improv groups perform. Kevin White and Jack Ritchie host.
A full musical comedy is improvised with audience suggestions. $15
At the top of this highly entertaining show from Porchlight Music Theatre, cast members ad-lib five songs based on titles suggested by the audience. Then we vote for our favorite, and the winner serves as the foundation for a wholly improvised, hour-long musical comedy. On the night I saw the show, the winning number, "When Todd Met Michael," inspired Nativity My Way, an LGBT retelling of Christ's birth involving a carpenter and the burly gym owner he miraculously impregnates. It was hilarious, blasphemous, and heartwarming in equal measure. The charming, whip-smart cast are accompanied on piano by the show's creator and musical director, Matthew Loren Cohen, who churns out one catchy tune after another. —Zac Thompson $10-$15
A core cast performs a different type of long-form improv each week, with guests. The actors meet once just before going on, which gives a frenetic unpredictability to their bits and leads to prankish pushing and pulling, but it also produces occasional fumbling to discover others' sensibilities. (RH) $10
GayCo Productions presents an all-woman sketch comedy show. $15
How many bumbling buddies does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Or juggle? Or deliver a meal in a water balloon? On Saturday afternoons at Stage 773, the answer is three—specifically the three members of Bri-Ko. The sketch-comedy troupe Rube Goldberg would've created if Rube Goldberg had created sketch-comedy troupes, Bri-Ko puts on a silent clown show for the sort of kid who'd appreciate British humor. The name suggests bricolage—i.e., art improvised from materials found at hand. But the many kooky props at hand here (Nerf darts, ping-pong balls, various foodstuffs) are used to make a great, big mess. Tim Soszko, Brian Peterlin, and Chicago Sketch Fest founder Brian Posen bop happily about like Beaker the Muppet, contriving difficult ways to accomplish routine tasks. High art it's not, but the slapstick is practiced and the dumb smiles on these bozos' faces are contagious. —Asher Klein $10-$20
A show about and with drinking. $20
This variety show hosted at Cafe Ballou has a new cast every month..
At the start of each show an all-star ensemble creates a tableau onstage, then asks after a blackout, "Where in Chicago did that take place?" "Soccer practice" was the response the night I was there, and after an hour the improvisers--intensely alert and feisty--had crafted a veritable community, complete with idiosyncratic characters, unpredictable backstory, and tragicomic intrigue. Veteran T.J. Jagodowski, recognizable from a series of Sonic commercials he's done with quick-witted cast member Peter Grosz, played a thick-accented German coach. Abruptly launching a new scene by charging to the front of the stage, he squatted and gestured as he yelled at his coed youth team, "I will yank on your nuts like the Hunchback of Notre Dame working a bell!" --Ryan Hubbard $8
Counter Productive Lover headlines with a rotating line-up of comedy teams. $10
Comedy music performed in a wide array of genres. $7