TBS, Just For Laughs team up for fourth annual comedy festival in Chicago

The Windy City is becoming more and more a traditional annual stop into America for Just For Laughs, as the biggest comedy festival organization has teamed up for a fourth straight June with TBS on Just For Laughs Chicago.

They announced the initial slate of headlining shows for June 12-17, 2012, which includes Aziz Ansari, Kevin Smith and a comedy showcase hosted by Chicago native Vince Vaughn over three nights at the majestic Chicago Theatre.

TBS has used its past Chicago ventures with JFL to broadcast multiple TV specials. Past years have seen Ellen DeGeneres, Cedric the Entertainer and the writers for Conan O’Brien all grace the small screen in live shows from Chicago’s fest. No word yet in today’s announcement about what or whom the cable network will spotlight this summer. Although the Vaughn showcase certainly seems like a natural fit, as the festival site says he’ll be introducing three comedians he’s developing TV projects with in “Vince Vaughn’s Comedy Showcase.” In related coincidental news, Vaughn is executive producing Sullivan and Sons, a new TBS comedy that debuts when did you say? Summer 2012. And who’s in it? Comedians Steve Byrne, Owen Benjamin and Roy Wood Jr., among others. Alrighty then. Speculation time over.

Moving onward into the meat of the schedule — much of which still will trickle out over the coming weeks, and include several shows specifically designed to showcase Chicago-based comedians — which is designed to move tickets, which go on sale this Saturday, April 14.

Ansari’s shows, a graduated move up to the Chicago Theatre after he had sold out four shows at the Vic during the 2010 fest, already are sold out! (Thanks to his previously announced tour)

Other headliners include:

  • Stephen Merchant, three nights at Park West. Amy Schumer and Jeffrey Ross also will get their own nights there.
  • Patton Oswalt and John Oliver will have separate nights at The Vic.
  • Mike Birbiglia brings his one-man show, “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend,” for a five-night run at Victory Gardens.
  • Smith’s event will be his standard Q&A evening with affair.
  • Bill Engvall, Billy Gardell and John Pinette will perform all on the same bill at the Akoo Theatre (formerly the Rosemont).
  • The Dan Band will party it up for a night at the House of Blues.
  • And “Stuffed & Unstrung” Henson Alternative will provide six nights of adult-based, live improv at the Bank of America Theatre.

Tickets for these shows again go on sale Saturday.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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