Comedians from near and far stopped in Logan Square on day three of Comedy Exposition 2014.
According to the authors of the book The Humor Code, Chicago is America’s funniest city, so it makes sense that the city would host the first ever Comedy Exposition. The Comedy Exposition began on Friday, July 11 in Lakeview, visited Wicker Park on Saturday and by Sunday, July 13, was ready for Logan Square.
Organizers say they intentionally made the festival neighborhood-focused, so residents looking for laughs could easily enjoy several showcases by simply walking down the street. And that’s what I did, taking in three shows at three different locations, catching rays, burning calories and meeting new people along the way.
First stop – 3:30 p.m.
My first stop was at something called “The Dork Forest,” at Elastic Arts Foundation (@elasticarts, 2830 N. Milwaukee Ave.). The name intrigued me because I’m quite the pop culture and random factoid dork. Host Jackie Kashian traded stories and confessions with fellow comedian Sean Patton. Patrons also heard some trash about the suburbs.
“I know more crazy, fucked up people in the suburbs. They’re isolated and away from culture,” Patton said. He also mentioned he hates “gutter punks,” and added “If the zombie apocalypse is real, I’m pushing them in front of me.”
Kashian joked about her lack of grace.
“I’m a gazelle,” and said for some reason all her asides are braggadocio. She give humorous examples like “I don’t know about you, but I have a Twitter account” and “This bottle of water? It’s mine.”
Both comedians agreed that when it comes to jokes and comedy, “It’s the execution, not the topic.”
Maybe my dork bar was set too high, but I was expecting more dork, but the pair did work in some nods to Dungeons & Dragons, 1970s television and YouTube videos.
Second stop – 5 p.m.
Brandon Wetherbee hosted a live talk show and podcast called “You, Me, Them, Everybody!” This men’s rights rally (parody) was well attended at the historic Comfort Station (@Comfort_Station, 2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.), a location Wetherbee said, “If Portladia shot here [Chicago], they’d shoot here first.”
In attendance as Wetherbee’s guests were Mike McPadden, author of book Heavy Metal Movies and head writer for (adult content!) website Mr. Skin; Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, competitive eater turned Food Network’s Food Court Wars winner; Portland comedian Curtis Cook (@Curtis_Cook); and deadpan piano man Daniel Knox (@danielknoxmusic).
In addition to talking movies with McPadden, Wetherbee commented on the bearded comedian’s many tattoos, including asking about an eye on his hand and assuming that, being a movie guy, he’d be a collector.
McPadden replied, “I’m not a collector, I just put stuff on my body.”
Bertoletti said he spends a lot of time in the suburbs tending to that food court restaurant, Taco in a Bag (Spring Hill Mall, West Dundee, Ill.), a concept he admits he stole and made gourmet. Noticing the foodie’s Chicago love, Wetherbee pointed out the Bears shirt and Chicago flag belt buckle, “You’re everything right about this city in one.” When his friend Joey, another competitive eater, joined him on the makeshift “stage” Bertoletti said, “We turned an eating disorder into a profession.”
Curtis Cook, a young comedian from the Northwest has been doing standup for three years and got the crowd chuckling both at his commentary and his delivery.
“This is the extent of what I do. Make fun of stuff that matters to others,” he says. What he didn’t make fun of was the Midwest, “People here are nice for the sake of kindness.”
Between guests, the audience was treated (and perhaps introduced) to Daniel Kibblesmith, the voice behind the twitter account @GOPTeens. Kibblesmith shared some mail he’s received from people who thought the twitter account is a real rep for conservative Republican teens. The Onion writer says some readers do not know the account is a complete parody. Kibblesmith also plugged clickhole.com for some quizzes mocking the popular Buzzfeed-esque quizzes. He also told patrons to add to the already ridiculous amount of views the site’s “This Stick of Butter Is Left Out At Room Temperature; You Won’t Believe What Happens Next” video has gotten.
Daniel Knox—a Chicagoan who Wetherbee mentioned would be performing on July 22 at The Empty Bottle—closed the evening. Knox sang songs potentially inspired by various encounters with women, from old classmates to chlamydia, marriage and a hatred of dancing.
Third Stop – 7:30 p.m.
The last stop on my Chicago comedy crawl was the Logan Square bar Cole’s (2338 N. Milwaukee Ave.). Guests could enjoy a delightful stout from North Coast Brewing Co. called Old No. 38 on special for a mere $3, which, paired with a free show made for a great end to my entertainment-filled Sunday. Hosted by native Chicagoan and funny guy Jay Washington, this showcase featured a varied lineup including Logan Square resident, Natalie Jose, who besides sharing her dirty girl humor (“Boners are like little fires, you have to put ‘em out”) also showcased her pipes via her introductory American Idol wannabee “singing audition.”
The lineup included Curtis Cook, Zach Reinert, Ralph Hardesty, Derek Sheen and “secret” headliner Ryan Singer who started with dick jokes, segued into pseudo-science babble and brought the set full circle by ending on another dick joke.
There was no two-drink minimum at this show, but it would have been an easy requirement to meet, as the audience was attentive, active and amused.