5 Solo Shows to see Tonight!

It's no secret that Chicago's a hotbed for up-and-coming solo sketch performers: on any given night you'll find several comedians taking the stage at various venues across town, offering up an hour or so of this performance style that blends storytelling, sketch, and standup.

Tonight (Wednesday, July 23rd) is one such night, with several equally intriguing concepts being presented by some of the city's most interesting and creative minds. We've narrowed down our top 5 picks to catch, the rest is up to you!

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The Steamkend approaches!

This weekend, The Steamroller is presenting a pair of very exciting events: A semi-formal fundraiser for The Comedy Exposition and A Jangleheart Circus at Goofballs United on Friday, and the second and final (for a while) edition of Seven Minutes in Purgatory, a science experiment of a comedy show hosted by Ian Abramson.

This confluence of two extremely high quality comedy shows in one weekend will be known from now on as The first annual STEAMKEND.

More info on both shows below!

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Interview: Irene Marquette, director and creator of The Raven and The Messenger

Thank god for The Annoyance. There is nowhere else in Chicago that would but such immense support behind an original comedy/drama/musical about Jim Jones that isn't about Jonestown. In addition to the really, really great new Mick Napier-directed sketch show Invisible World, the brand new Annoyance Theatre is staging the world premiere of The Raven and The Messenger a new play created and directed by friend of The Steamroller, Curio Show curator, and Super Human Irene Marquette, and written by The Reckoning's Charlie McCrackin.

The Raven and The Messenger explores the relationship forged between 1960s spiritual leader Father Devine and Peoples Temple leader Jim Jones, who would eventually absorb Devine's followers into the Peoples Temple. The cast features Paul Jurewicz, Greg Hollimon, Sarah Ashley, Laurel Krabacher, and Michael Brunlieb, with original music by Lisa McQueen. The show opens tonight, (Friday, June 6th) at The Annoyance at 8pm and runs every Friday through July 25th.

In anticipation of tonight's premiere, I spoke with Irene about the show and got her thoughts on why media based around New Religious Movement is so engaging.

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Getting to Know CAVES!

CAVES is a brand new improv team formed in March 2014, featuring four talented performers named Jen Burns, Kristina Felske, Jennifer Mills, & Becca Slack. They've secured a run of shows at the Upstairs Gallery on Saturday evenings at 8pm through the end of May, performing alongside a slew of Upstairs Gallery house teams like Dead $$$ and Big Trees!

As a means of getting folks introduced to CAVES, they've put together and answered a questionnaire full of interesting and provocative questions that reveal shocking truths about all four members.

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This Weekend: A Double Dose of The Steamroller Presents...

So this weekend is a big one! The Steamroller is presenting two huge events, one recurring show that you're read about before, and one all-new one, that you've also read about before. Tonight (Friday, May 16th) at 11pm is the latest edition of Goofballs United, a hybrid sketch/improv/standup comedy show presented by The Steamroller and Upstairs Gallery at The Den Theatre in Wicker Park.

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Interview: Pitbull & I's Brian McGovern and Pitbull

Brian McGovern is a well-known Chicago based sketch and improv performer, praised for his work with groups like Pizza Party, Kill All Comedy, and the Other Other Guys. He's teamed up with Pitbull, a Grammy-nominated musician whose chart-topping hip-pop hits like "Bon Bon" and"Give Me Everything" are beloved worldwide, to present a new hourlong sketch showcase called Pitbull & I: A Comedy About Friendship on Thursday nights all month long here in Chicago.

I was lucky enough to speak with Brian and Pitbull about their partnership in advance of tonight's premiere at the Public House Theater at 8pm. I've been assured by Brian, as well as by Pitbull's publicist, that this show is 100% legitimate and not any kind of joke, but in fact all real.

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Claymore & WiseSnatch starring WiseSnatch and Claymore

Claymore (creators of the wildly awesome Exquisite Corpse pilot you've read about on here before) and WiseSnatch (who DESTROYED at Goofballs United a few months ago, I've never seen improv like that) have teamed up for a run of shows at iO starting tomorrow night, Thursday, May 1st at 10:30pm.

In anticipation of this series of shows, they've put together an awesome one-take promo video that perfectly captures the silly/sinister vibe both groups pull off so well. I'm seriously in love with this thing.

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