Chicago stand-up comedy fans often have to make a choice between checking out fresh talent at open mics and independent shows in bars, or to see established acts in the city’s three main comedy clubs: Zanies, the Den Theatre and Laugh Factory.
But three local comics have come up with the solution for those who want to see both in a single show, with the “Latest and Greatest” showcase at the Lincoln Lodge. Produced and hosted by Adam Burke, Victoria Vincent and Georgia Gove, the show expertly mixes three short sets by emerging talent and three longer sets by some of the city’s favorite veteran performers.
According to Burke, the lineups ensure that audiences get a show “that is both fresh and high-quality at the same time.” Producing it at the much-loved independent comedy venue is a perfect fit for the showcase, which will feature “Latest” performers Katie Kincaid, Hobert Thompson and Max Shanker and “Greatest” talents Felonious Monk, Tyler Horvath and Lyssa Laird on May 6.
“I have been working with the Lincoln Lodge for some fifteen years and co-founder Mark Geary and his various co-conspirators and co-producers over the years have built a really strong sense of community and just a wonderful physical space to perform in,” says Burke. “The Lodge is always insanely supportive of producers without ever sticking their oar in or dictating what you should do.
“Also the amazing décor, the whole vibe and design of the place with the beer signs and hand-painted walls by Kate Mitchell gives the place such a cozy, Midwestern vibe you just want to invite your relatives over and start an argument about sports.”
Staking a claim to being America’s longest-running independent comedy venue, the Lodge presents up to seven shows a night across its three stages. Many shows are monthly, so comedy buffs have well over fifty shows a month to explore.
“Latest” debuted at the Lodge in July 2021 and featured a surprise drop-in set by comedy legend Bobcat Goldthwait in the very first show. Attracting other alternative comedy stars is a regular occurrence at the venue because of its long-established reputation for artistic freedom and highly appreciative audiences.
“We’re in one of the smaller rooms, and it’s really perfect because it lets our audience get up close and personal with our performers in this intimate space that is super comfortable yet still has topnotch light and sound,” Burke says. “Both the current and former staff, especially Geary, really do the best for all the shows and are really pulling for us all because most of them are artists and performers in their own right.”
Burke has been performing standup for seventeen years in Chicago, after moving to the Windy City twenty years ago from England. That adds an extra level of affinity for fellow British expatriate Geary, but he also has glowing insights about his producing partners Vincent and Gove.
“One thing that was important to me when starting this show was to create a diverse producing team with different tastes, outlooks and life experiences,” says Burke. “My co-producers are both wonderful, inventive and creative comedians themselves, and they have a great eye for talent which they’ve developed from running their own open mics and showcases.
“Chicago is such a perfect conglomeration of talent from all over the country, and it’s really a place where people come to develop their craft and get better. What I love about Chicago audiences is just how game they are. As long as you give them a good show they’ll really follow you anywhere in terms of the type of comedy and performer you present to them. And depending on the weather, they’re often just happy to be indoors.”
“Latest and Greatest,” May 6, 7pm, at the Lincoln Lodge, 2040 North Milwaukee. Tickets are $15. Visit thelincolnlodge.com.