Comedy Chat Resolutions

It’s that time of year again, when we set goals to make the next 365 days better than the last. Rather than relying on the same old New Year’s resolutions that can be difficult to maintain, set yourself up for success with a guaranteed plan to improve your mental state in 2018.

They say laughter is the best medicine for whatever ails you, so with that in mind, we’ve collected comedy recommendations from some of the funniest comics in Chicago to help you get a break from the stresses of life throughout the new year. Check out their picks for the best stand-up acts, showcases, series, specials and more and dive deeper into the hilarious women of the Windy City comedy scene with our monthly Chi-Town Comedy Chats column.

Rebecca O'NealRebecca O’Neal – Recommends Cole’s Bar Wednesday Night Open Mic

“I would recommend where we are right now, Cole’s Bar. The open mic is free. We give out free drinks, and you never know who’s going to stop in. Hannibal Buress is in here like once a month. Everybody gets so jazzed when he shows up,” said O’Neal.

Alex Kumin – Recommends Parlour Car, Tig Notaro and More
Alex Kumin
“There are so many comedians I love right now – they’re pretty well known – I love Aparna Nancherla. I love Rory Scovel. I love Tig Notaro. Those are kind of like the people who anything they say I will listen to. In terms of clubs, working at the Comedy Attic in Bloomington has always been a real treat. It’s a really fun club, so if you’re down Bloomington way, go check that out. Parlour Car on Thursday nights is also a great show,” said Kumin.

Kelsie HuffKelsie Huff – Recommends The Kates, Lincoln Lodge and More

“Locally, of course, I’m going to say my own show [The Kates] because I’m the worst (laughs). The Lincoln Lodge has really good, weird shows. There’s a storytelling show called ‘We Still Like You.’ You tell your most horrible story, and they’re usually really funny, but awful stuff. At the end, everybody says, “We still like you,” so there’s this real camaraderie thing about it. Also, I would watch Rebecca O’Neal every second of every day, so any shows she’s in,” she said.

Elizabeth Gomez – Recommends Wanda Sykes, Elizabeth GomezEddie Murphy and More

“I’m a huge fan of Kelsie [Huff], so I’d put her first. And I really love Wanda Sykes’ detachable vagina bit. About her jogging and leaving her vagina at home. I love her so much. She has another bit about tilapia that kills me. Also I love, from back in the day, Eddie Murphy’s bit about hamburgers. Where he talks about poor people hamburgers, which made me sad because it reminded me of my mom – she totally made those burgers,” she said.

Kristen ToomeyKristen Toomey – Recommends George Carlin, Richard Pryor and More

“’George Carlin: Jammin’ in New York,’ it’s his ’92 album. I was listening to it the other day and it could have been recorded today. It’s almost prophetic, so listen to that. And listen to Lewis Black, Richard Pryor and all of the philosopher comedians. They are timeless, and their comedy literally applies still today, in a lot of cases. It’s pretty fascinating and they’re all hilarious, too,” she said.

Sarah Sherman – Recommends Wham City and “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”
Sarah Sherman

“’Pee-Wee’s Playhouse’ and Wham City, they’re a sketch group out of Baltimore. They make the craziest sh*t I’ve ever seen. It’s so good that it makes me want to pull my head off,” she said.


Kellye HowardKellye Howard – Recommends Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish and More

“In ‘The Standups,’ Deon Cole was super, super funny. I really enjoyed that. I also really enjoyed Kevin Hart’s new book. It was great… Tiffany Haddish is another one. She’s a good friend of mine, and when I see her on TV, she’s just the same way as when I see her in person. She’s never been any different, which to me is very admirable,” she said.

Denise Medina – Recommends The Book Cellar, Zanies and More
Denise Medina
“Go see The Kates at the Book Cellar. Go to shows all over town. Go to the Laugh Factory. Go to Zanies. Go see The Kates at The Improv in Schaumburg. That would be really fantastic. Wouldn’t it be great to have a show like The Kates there every month? That would be wonderful,” she said.

Gwen La RokaGwen La Roka – Recommends Las Locas Comedy, Pilsen Stand Up and More

“I’m going to keep it local, and I’m going to say Pilsen Stand Up, The Kates, The Mona Show, Comedy Bowl, The Mikey O Comedy Show and Las Locas Comedy. And all of the Chicago stand-up spots,” she said.

Alexandra Tsarpalas – Recommends Tim & Eric, Maria Bamford and More

“In particular, my favorite ‘Tim and Eric’ episodAlexandra Tsarpalases are when Maria Bamford was on their show a few times with weird lotions – I love those scenes. They are so good. Amy Sedaris is also one of my favorite people of all time. She has a new show out that is totally up my alley. It’s kitschy crafts and recipes and weird scenes with other famous people. It’s awesome,” she said.

Click here to read full interviews with each of the above mentioned Chicago comedians. Have a happy – and hilarious – New Year!!!

Laurie Fanelli is a Chicago-based writer and photographer who specializes in live entertainment coverage. She is at home at major music festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo and, of course, Lollapalooza and...