A guide to Chicago's underground open mics

Writer and comedian Andy Boyle is a relative newcomer to Chicago, but has quickly immersed himself in the comedy scene; he's become a regular fixture at open mics, and helps edit and contributes to The Whiskey Journal. He's here now to shine the spotlight on some of the hidden treasures from the open mic scene that folks may have missed.

Choke on Jokes, Kuma’s, Saturdays at 7pm  
They don’t turn the music down, so expect to spend your four minutes screaming over some Swedish death metal group. If it’s your first time, you can get a burger for double the regular price. Fun fact: This mic is locally famous for being where Pete Holmes made his first dad joke.

Truth Teller’s, Lion House at the Lincoln Park Zoo, Thursdays at 1pm 
By far the most dangerous Northside mic, this one takes place in an actual lion pit. You get six minutes, but comics usually only through their first sexist joke before a lioness tries to eat them. This mic is required to be clean, as school children are usually present. Not to be confused with the famous Lion’s Club mic, which was held in the Primate House; that one was canceled when the park’s owners changed.

Get Yours, The Childhood Home of Mayor Richard J. Daley, Tuesdays at 8pm
This Bridgeport-area mic has been going strong since long before your grandfather bribed an alderman to pass the police exam. At this mic, political comedy is strongly encouraged, and if you bring a family member they can go up just a few names after you, as is tradition. Don’t worry about drinking too much and driving home, because if you get caught, someone will take care of it. Oh, and no Republicans allowed, unless you’re Eisenhower.

Funny on Porpoise, Shedd Aquarium, Wednesdays at 10pm
This mic has been around about four months, and it’s clearly one of the best, if not the best smelling. If it’s your first time doing the mic, you get a free fish to take home. Watch out for Beatrice, the three-ton Beluga whale who gives you the light by spraying out her blowhole.

The Joke Pit, Chicago Board of Trade, Mondays at 5:30pm

At one of Chicago’s longest-running open mics, the zanier your outfit is, the better. The mic’s actually held on the trading floor, so you’ll need a letter of credit to get in, or otherwise just slip a security guard a dishonest Abe (if you catch my drift). Similar to other mics, you'll need to get there early, around 9am, if you want to get a good slot. Or if you want any of your trades to be legally binding.

Saints and Sinners, Assumption Church, Wednesdays at 8pm

This mic is a lottery, just like your chances on going to purgatory. Hosted by Sister Mary Jane, she does not appreciate obvious jokes about her name, as she’s a big fan of jumping from A to C. If it’s your first time at the mic you get a penance-free visit to the confessional and a free shot of sacramental wine.

-Andy Boyle