The Stoop Comedy Show was born last summer out of a desire to bring live comedy to people when that seemed a monumental task. Even producers Caitlin, Lauren and Chelsea couldn’t have foreseen that as worst days of the pandemic passed, the show would continue to grow. Catch the series’ first outing at its new home at Ludlow Liquors’ patio (2959 N. California Ave.) on Wednesday, Sept. 1
“People are still coming, and the show just keeps growing,” Lauren said. “That has given us such strong motivation to keep this train rolling.”
How It Began
The Stoop Comedy Show’s first show, last summer on July 31, was put on by founder Caitlin, a comic living off Logan Boulevard who simply wanted to bring comedy to people during a time they might have needed it most. Considering many comics also work in the restaurant industry, she knew how important it was to give comedians a chance to get out and perform again amid restaurant and venue shutdowns.
The “promotion” for that first show, if you could call it that, was a simple hanging sign on her fence announcing the upcoming performance. Lauren noticed the sign while walking one day, and having been so secluded during the height of COVID-19 regulations, was eager to get out and see comedy again. She’s been involved with The Stoop ever since.
“I didn’t even know her [Caitlin] at the time,” Lauren said. “I lived across the street and saw the sign for ‘live comedy tonight.’ Afterwards, I just asked her how I can help, and we came up with the name and concept. Since it was at a house, we decided to make it like a fun, house party vibe. Then people just kept coming back.”
Everything about The Stoop Comedy Show is centered on the Logan Square community. Even the equipment is donated by local comedy club The Lincoln Lodge (2040 N. Milwaukee Ave.), and Caitlin said she and her team couldn’t have gotten this far without the support that venue has provided to the Stoop.
Chelsea, one of the aforementioned producers, said she was incredibly relieved to be doing comedy again after such a long absence. The time between the COVID-19 shutdown and her first show with The Stoop last September was the longest she had gone without performing in more than 28 years.
“We all felt like lost little ducks without a pond,” Chelsea said.
An Unexpected Hit
Over the course of the summer, the Logan Square comedy show grew more and more popular. The team knew they would have to find a larger and more consistent space soon, but for the time being, the grassroots feel of the show felt perfect given the way it had started and its uncertain future, Lauren said.
“One night, there were over 100 people,” Lauren said. “The whole boulevard was packed, the entire green space, and everyone’s picnicking. And then a UPS driver came in the middle of the set and it became part of the bit. He walks by with this giant mirror, and everyone’s laughing, comics are using it, he’s laughing along. It just was a perfect moment.”
The show as the organizers knew it was inevitably going to end with the coming of winter, a reality further reinforced when their property owner deciding to call it quits because the show had grown too large. Facing the upcoming offseason, the Stoop Comedy team regrouped and began planning what 2021 might look like.
The Stoop’s New Home
As The Stoop Comedy Show began running shows again in early spring 2021, the initial plan was to use any space, yard, roof, etc. the team could find until locking down a semipermanent home. It was important for The Stoop Comedy Show to remain a local Logan Square act and still keep the grassroots vibe that had made the production such a hit in the previous year, the team said.
That semipermanent home came just recently when Lauren was able to secure a biweekly residency at Ludlow Liquors, at the border of Logan and Avondale, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 1.
“Last fall, when the weather started to turn, the landlord at our old space didn’t want the show to continue,” Lauren said. “So we started looking around to different patios in the neighborhood, and we came to Ludlow, which we actually discussed last summer before the COVID shutdown progressed. So we went back to them last week, and since we’re more established now, we were able to move forward with that partnership.”
Being frequent patrons of Ludlow Liquors, Lauren and Chelsea knew it’d be a perfect fit. The back patio gives them the perfect opportunity to expand their show while keeping it in the Logan Square area, establish a more consistent schedule, and provide bathrooms to their guests, a perk Chelsea and Lauren found out is easily overlooked.
With a biweekly home established for The Stoop Comedy Show, the team’s focus has shifted to establishing the series’ brand and continuing to grow, they said. In order to take the show further, Lauren and Chelsea are pursuing relationships with additional venues, breweries and artists in Logan to continue the neighborhood collaboration.
“We’re trying heavily to pursue more Logan bars and patios to establish residencies or partnerships,” Chelsea said. “We’re looking to partner with any Chicago brewers who’d be interested in sponsoring our shows and building those relationships. We just want to make sure everyone’s back on their feet before asking.”
In addition to venues and sponsorships, local artists can play a key role in the future of The Stoop Comedy Show. The team is looking for artists right now to help create new promotional materials and a brand the show can promote moving forward.
“There’s absolutely something special happening with The Stoop right now,” Chelsea said. “People are excited about it, and we couldn’t just let it drift away.”
If anyone would like to get involved, offer a venue partnership or perform in the show, please contact The Stoop Comedy Show on instagram @thestoopcomedy.
The Stoop Comedy Show’s first performance at Ludlow Liquors takes place Wednesday, Sept. 1. Purchase tickets here.
Featured photo: The Stoop Comedy Show