Hailed by the Chicago Reader as the Best New Play of 2011, Musical of the Living Dead takes audiences on a rip-roaring journey beyond the grave with its satirical send-ups of classic zombie films and musical theater. Now that their bodies have had one more year to decay, the play’s zombies return for a triumphant second run that promises even more brain-eating mayhem than the last. The curtain opens on 10 survivors of a recent zombie apocalypse, trapped in a farmhouse and willing to try anything to escape. Directors Marc Lewallen and Brad Younts gleefully fulfill horror-film conventions in selecting which cast members survive and which succumb to the screeching songs of the zombies, who have sewn up their larynxes to perform harmonized ditties in honor of Halloween. As musical trends rarely reach the deaf ears of the undead, the play’s soundtrack gathers inspiration from such disparate sources as George Gershwin, Green Day, and the werewolf doo-wop group that sometimes practices out of The Charnel House’s basement.
The seasoned and bourgeoning comedians featured at the King Day Comedy Tribute rattle off knee-slapping anecdotes while audiences indulge in Club E’s drink specials. Established funnyman Shawn Morgan, who has appeared on BET’s series Comic View, courts chuckles while discussing relatable topics such as salvaging relationships and making a birthday cake that can conceal a rattlesnake. Emerging jesters Laroyce Hawkins, Meechie Hall, and Calvin Evans—the latter of whom is the winner of WGN’s Next Big Comic Contest—open the evening with ice-breaking standup routines, prepping audiences and stomach muscles for an evening of belly laughs.
Riddles Comedy Club has been rolling out the laugh-barrels for more than 20 years, propelling standup stars such as Ellen DeGeneres, Drew Carey, and Martin Lawrence into the spotlight. Today’s deal treats visitors to the show of their choice between now and the end of May, plus tickets to any future show attended after the first show. In addition to entertaining the troops in Iraq, Al Del Bene (October 14–15) has accompanied Dane Cook on his Isolated Incident tour. Political satirist Tim Slagle (October 21–22) will give funny bones a pre-election tickling, and Trial by Laughter champ Mike Baldwin (October 28–29) plans to fill bellies with laughs before guests pack them with Thanksgiving stuffing. Instead of rehearsing their own standup routines for crowds of fickle mannequins, club-goers can practice them on Riddles’ friendly bartenders as they sip beers, martinis, or Long Island iced teas.
Hand-cut and -rubbed with award-winning seasoning, the wings at Cigars and Stripes are smoked for more than four hours before pit masters reheat them on the grill. Then, they toss them in your choice of homemade sauces, including a buffalo-style sauce made with cayenne and a super hot sauce made with peppers and molasses. The process is emblematic of the culinary team’s barbecue mastery, which they further showcase with entrees that change throughout the week, including hand-pulled pork marinated with pineapple and mango, slow-smoked for 13 hours, and topped with chipotle corn salsa. To complement those sauce-soaked bites, bartenders keep 13 beers on tap and stock tons more by the bottle, including Delirium Tremens and Founders Breakfast Stout. Comedians grace the bar’s stage twice weekly as part of a calendar that also includes regular movie nights, TV-nights, live music, and trivia, and once a year Cigars and Stripes trades chuckles for chills with their annual Freaktober Fest, which features beer tastings, tarot card readings, and screenings of scary movies, such as Beaches.
Gallery Cabaret is one of the few bars in Chicago where one can catch free music and comedy every night of the week. Slip into a vinyl booth and pay close attention to the act of the night. After all, The Smashing Pumpkins and Liz Phair both stopped here on their way to stardom.
The mission of The Sidebar Show is simple: host club-caliber comedians without the club. Inside Riverview Tavern's laid-back showroom, three Chicago standups produce sets featuring hand-picked talent from the local and national scenes. The relaxed atmosphere allows guests to kick back, sip on a beer, and watch the witty performers, free from worries such as drink minimums and bouncer-enforced laugh quotas.