If you happen to be in the Chicago area and like original comedy, there’s nothing better to do than going to an improv show, as every single show you see will be different every time. Chicago is famous for its improvisational theater, most notably through Second City and the iO Theater. How famous? Well, a large number of American comedians (well, the ones that are actually funny) have studied improv at either one of the Chicago improv theaters or their colonies. Did I say colonies? Yes, Chicago improv has been successful enough that the improv theaters have founded offshoots on both coasts. I would say that the improv theaters are breeding, but this is a family blog, so I can’t say that here. Some people you might have heard of that have studied improv in Chicago include Stephen Colbert, Del Close, Dan Castellaneta, Dan Aykroyd, Tina Fey, Susan Messing, Wyatt Cenac, Amy Poehler and on and on. The training programs at both the above theaters are inexpensive, and the instructors are awesome. They care deeply about their students and they care about the art itself, so you’ll get your money’s worth and more.
Laugh at people LIVE!
The vast majority of shows at these theaters are funny, and in most cases quite impressive. How would I define impressive … oh, making up a Shakespearean-themed comedy on the spot in the correct Elizabethan dialect and lexicon for every single show. It’s called Improvised Shakespeare, it’s real, it’s pretty neat and it’s at the iO Theater. Another example of some impressive craziness is The Second City That Never Sleeps: 24 Hour, which is exactly what it sounds like – this is a show that goes on for 24 hours, from 6:00 PM on December 17th to 6:00:PM on the 18th. I’m honestly not sure how the show keeps going but I expect that the performers switch off or inhale pure caffeine. Either way there’s Fred Armisen and some other celebrities in it, so it should be cool. Yet another popular show is TJ & Dave at the iO Theater. This long-form improv show often sells out, and is heralded as one of the best out there. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve heard it’s pretty great. In general, there are a great number of improv shows in Chicago, and it’s worth your while to check them out, especially as so many famous comedians hone their trade at Chicago improv theaters.
These theaters are easy to get to, but if you don’t have a parking spot, it’s not gonna be as fun. The best thing you can do is find and book a place to park before the show. I wouldn’t recommend going to random parking garages, so the best thing you can do is download the ParkWhiz app. This cool gizmo can be found on the iOS and Android app stores, and used not only for Chicago improv, but also for Cubs games, Bears games, Blackhawks and Bulls games, festivals, concerts and pretty much any public event throughout the country that you might need a car to get to. It’s pretty neat. Oh, and the iO Theater is literally within a stone’s throw (yes, that old chestnut) from Wrigley Field, so you should go see shows there.