Home » Biography & Memoir » Vince Vieceli » Stand-Up Comedy in Chicago

October 23 , 2010

Stand-Up Comedy in Chicago


Ten years after Chicago saw its first full-time comedy club open, the landscape was decidedly different. “Stand-up comedy has exploded in the last couple of years,” a club owner told the Chicago Tribune in 1985, “that’s the only way to describe it: exploded.” It was truly a comedy boom, with as many as 16 clubs operating at once, and it lasted nearly a decade before fading, taking with it some of Chicago’s oldest comedy stages, including the Comedy Cottage, Comedy Womb, and Who’s on First. Still, stalwarts like Barrel of Laughs (south) and Zanies (north) persevered. That part of the story is known; overlooked is the fact there was a comedy boom, period. To hear the story, it is as if stand-up comedy innately morphed from a dated nightclub scene to what one Chicago Sun-Times writer called “Chicago’s atomic comedy blast.”

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