Chicago Women's Funny Festival


The women of the ComedySportz Theatre will be well represented in Chicago's second annual festival celebrating women in comedy, with members of our main ensemble and 100 Proof Comedy appearing in many of the festival’s more than 60 shows over four days. The second annual edition of the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival will be held June 6- 9th at Stage 773 at 1225 West Belmont Avenue just down the street from The ComedySportz Theatre.


Contributing to the collection of stand-up, sketch, improv, burlesque, musical-comedy, solo shows and one acts to be featured in the festival will be ComedySportz players Tara DeFrancisco (DeFrancisCO), Mel Evans (Improvised Jane Austen), Meg Grunewald (Just the Tip), Liz Reuss (Claudia & Liz, ‘90’s Girl Band, The Solo Bunch) and Jen Staben (Improvised Baby Sitters Club). There's even one male ComedySportz player contributing to the on-stage effort - Peter Kremidas, who is directing Lets Watch TV, a solo show by  ComedySportz alum Leslie Nesbit.


Performing stand-up at the Festival will be 100 Proof Comedy cast members Kristin Clifford, Kelsie Huff and Alexandra Tsarpalas along with Talk Hard writer Monique Madrid, and former Training Center stand-up student, Grace Lusk.


For the complete schedules of shows and ticket information, visit



Matt ElwellEvery year, tens of thousands of people attend our show, ComedySportz, for recreation.  Many of them never know that we use many of the same elements of our namesake show to help people in their workday as well!  On Thursday, May 16th, ComedySportz President and CEO, Matt Elwell will address the Chicagoland Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development on how improvisation can be used to develop soft-skills in the incoming workforce.


Although not as fun as an evening of comedy, Matt promises that participants will actually get to try some of the same improv exercises ComedySportz uses to build Chicago’s next generation of improv comedy talent.  If you work in the Learning and Development or HRD departments of your company, this is a great way to see how the emerging field of “Applied Improvisation” can benefit your employees and your bottom line.


For more information on this event:


Or, to talk to someone about all our Workplace Learning Solutions, contact our Director of Creative Services, Greg Werstler at 773-549-8080, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or

Highly competitive playoffs expected

The fourteen-week inaugural regular season of the Chicago Improv League concluded on Sunday, April 28th with four teams gaining playoff berths and a chance to win the grand prize of $500.00.. Moving on to post-season play are The Barnstormers (Shannon Noll, Mike Norris, Alex Young, Matthew Beard, Nathan Streifel and Judith Schomp), d'Hôtél Winñetkå (Sean Price, Annie Goodson, Chris Littrell, Josh Razvi, Andy Bogue, and Caleb George),  Besides Dinosaurs (Nico Carter, Miguel Villa, Nathan Spring, Alison Banowsky, Nathan Verrone, Ricky Haschemeyer and Annie Rix) and Mercury (Derek Shoemaker, Molly Ruthenberg, Carly Heiser, Harrison Stamell, Ruth Morrison and  Jordan Williams).

The semi-finals are set for Sunday, May 5th, with The Barnstormers meeting d'Hôtél Winñetkå in Match 1 and Besides Dinosaurs facing Mercury in Match 2. The winners will play each other in the finals on Sunday, May 12th. Matches will begin at 8:30 pm each night and tickets are $10.00 per night. All playoffs will take place at The ComedySportz Theatre, 929 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets can be purchased through ComedySportz by calling 773.549.8080, online at, or at The ComedySportz Theatre box office.

Given the intensely competitive regular season, a close and fiercely contested playoffs is expected. Jonathan Pitts, Commissioner of the CIL and Executive Director of Chicago Improv Productions, producer of the league, says “When I was putting together the league and our first season, I aimed to make all the teams good so that like the NFL, we would have parity. It could not have worked out any better. No team went undefeated, every team won at least one match, and we even had one match end in a tie.” He adds, “It’s great that all these super talented young improvisers are alumni of our College Improv Tournament because they are used to playing in a competitive format without losing the camaraderie that exists between them. They play hard, but they still know it’s play.”

Some new rules will be in place for the playoffs. The audience’s votes will now be worth 1/2 of the final vote, instead of just 1/3 of the final vote. The weight of the judge’s scores will be decreased from 2/3 of the final vote to 1/2 of the final vote. If there is a tie between the audience’s votes and the judge’s votes, the tiebreaker will be decided by votes from CIL players who are out of the playoffs but are attending the match.

On Sunday, May 12, before the start of the CIL Finals, there will be an All-Star Showcase as each of the 6 teams not in the CIL Finals will have 2 players from their team all playing together in a 30 minute montage. The CIL Finals and the presentation of $500 cash to the winning team will follow.

Semi-Finals Schedule:

Match 1: The Barnstormers (3rd) vs. d'Hôtél Winñetkå (2nd)

Match 2: Besides Dinosaurs (4th) vs. MERCURY (1st)


Final Standings (4/29/13):


1st Place: MERCURY, 5-2

2nd Place: d'Hôtél Winñetkå, 4-2-1

3rd Place: The Barnstormers, 4-3

4th Place: Besides Dinosaurs, 4-3

5th Place: Dads’ Night In, 3-3-1

6th Place: Balt & Co., 3-4

7th Place: Jefferson, 3-4

8th Place:  Third Place, 1-6

For more info about the CIL: Jonathan Pitts, 773.875.6616 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




d'Hotel Winnetka


Besides Dinosaurs



Jimmy CarraneFriday, April 26 at midnight, Talk Hard, Chicago’s hit late-night, uncensored talk show is proud to welcome Jimmy Carrane, the host of Improv Nerd! While hosting the live show and podcast, Jimmy has interviewed celebrities including Andy Richter, Key & Peele, Rachel Dratch, Tim Meadows and more. He is also the co-author of Improvising Better: A Guide to the Working Improviser. He is an award-winning improv teacher with new classes including the Art of Slow Comedy starting in May. He was the former host of Studio 312 on Chicago Public Radio and was recently seen in the films LOL and Public Enemies with Johnny Depp.

Michael LippertThe show will also feature Michael Lippert, the co-writer/producer/director of the web series Funemployed. Funemployed outlines the lives of five twenty-somethings trying to figure out what to do with life after college; weighing out the stress of not having jobs, while maintaining a sense of worth and enjoying life in dire straits all in a humorous manner.



Gabe Liebowitz




Rounding out the evening is a live musical performance by Gabe Liebowitz! Gabe is the lead singer of the Chicago band Dastardly and recently released a solo album. Talk Hard likes Gabe so much we invited him back for a “threepeat.”

As always, this show is live and uncensored, hosted by the unpredictable Jamie Campbell, and written by a staff that was hand-picked from Chicago’s world famous comedy scene. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at The ComedySportz Theatre box office. Call 773.549.8080 in advance or buy them at the door. Attendance to the 10 p.m. ComedySportz improv show gets audience members into Talk Hard at half price. Life is short – talk hard.