Laugh Riot Fest: The 6th Annual Chicago Women's Funny Festival Returns

Feminine Gentlemen of the Chicago Women's Funny Festival

Why did the chicken cross the road?

If the road in question is Belmont Avenue, it’s to get happy by seeing 400 comediennes perform at the 6th Annual Chicago Women’s Funny Festival at Stage 773. Yes, that’s where humans can shake off the blues by watching hundreds of witty chicks from all over the country—and from all walks of comedy: improv, standup, sketch, musical and more—in 80+ hilarious shows this June 15-18.

“We are extremely excited to be celebrating the sixth year of the festival and to host some of the best women in comedy in the nation,” says Director of Theatre Management Jill Valentine, who founded the festival with co-producer Liz McArthur in 2012. “Chicago Women’s Funny Festival was created to celebrate women in comedy and also to create a community that support each other’s work,” adds McArthur.

Neither Valentine nor McArthur are strangers to humor since both have performed in the comedy groups Off Off Broadzway and Feminine Gentlemen. Yet you can bet your rubber chicken, they generate even more laughs from putting together the largest female comedy festival of its kind in the country.

Boasting a lineup of fresh and familiar faces, the festival features Chicago Sketchfest veteran groups such as Rehner and Nixon, The Cupid Players, and Off Off Broadzway as well as showcasing Her Story Theater, and the comedic dance troupe Matter Dance.

Chicagoan Kristen Toomey is among those performing standup, as are the Montreal-based D.J. Mausner, Strip Joker and transgender comedian Dina Nina Martinez. The festival also includes improv by Joan and Ro (Katie Rich and Holly Laurent), The Boys (Susan Messing and Rachel Mason), Matt Damon Improv, and LA-based Jen Murray, who received the iO West Comedy Festival’s Best Comedian Award in 2015.

“Having women from all different comedic art forms come together and celebrate under one roof in Chicago is something that is very special to us and the community,” observes Valentine. “Chicago is a huge comedy hub, and women are starting to dominate the scene. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s beautiful.” 

The 6th Annual Chicago Women’s Funny Festival performs:

  • Thursday, June 15 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Friday, June 16 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 17 from 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 18 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

For a complete schedule and searchable calendar, visit www.stage773.com/WomensFestCalendar. Individual tickets are $15; festival passes range from $33 to $100; and all are available at www.Stage773.com.

(Photo of Jill and Liz in their Feminine Gentlemen group courtesy of Stage 773)

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Ms. Arvia is a freelance writer, former filmmaker, artist and Janet-of-all-trades who is pleased to contribute to our magazine since she’s always been Rebellious.