Patton Oswalt to Headline and Film Next Stand-Up Special During the Chicago-Based Festival

The Onion, The A.V. Club, and ClickHole are excited to announce the fourth annual 26th Annual Comedy Festival, taking place May 31-June 4, 2017, and presented by our friends at truTV. This year’s festival will once again invade venues all over the city, headlined by two shows by Patton Oswalt—who will be filming his next stand-up special at these appearances. Other highlights include appearances by Mike Judge (screening his film Idiocracy), legendary actor-director Christopher Guest in conversation, Nathan Fielder, an Adventures Of Pete And Pete reunion, Adam Ruins Everything Live!, and much more.


A very limited number of festival passes guaranteeing premium seating at shows will be offered for the first time this year; those are on sale immediately. Tickets for individual shows will go on sale Friday, March 10 at 12 PM, CT. Complete information and ticket links can be found at

This year’s fantastic lineup also includes Aparna Nancherla, a live taping of the popular “Bitch Sesh” podcast with hosts Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider, a live taping of the popular “Guys We F@#ked” podcast with hosts Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher, a pair of shows with legendary comic Bobcat Goldthwait and Caitlin Gill, an evening with the writers from ClickHole, and aftershow parties every single night at the Virgin Hotel Chicago featuring Ian Abramson and tons of special surprise guests. And the obligatory much more to be announced.

Also, for the first time, our festival will help present Rise Up: Comedy For Change. The parallel series of programming will bring together experts, change-makers, creatives, and comedians over a day-and-a-half to explore the role comedy can play in creating social and political change in an increasingly polarized world. More information on that series below!

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Christopher Guest In Conversation

Wednesday, May 31 / 7:00pm @ Music Box

Legendary actor and director Christopher Guest has been a part of some of the greatest comedy in the last 30+ years. He’s one-third of Spinal Tap. He’s Corky St. Clair in his own Waiting For Guffman. He directed the “synchronized swimmers” sketch on SNL, as well as A Mighty Wind, Mascots, and more. Here, Guest will have a conversation with The Modern School Of Film’s Robert Malazzo that will span his entire storied career, and will include clips from his work to help tell the story.

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Aparna Nancherla

Wednesday, May 31 / 7:00 & 10:00pm @ The Hideout

Aparna Nancherla is an incredibly funny stand-up who’s written for Late Night With Seth Meyers and appeared on Inside Amy Schumer.

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Idiocracy Screening with Writer/Director Mike Judge

Thursday, June 1 / 7:00pm @ Music Box

Mike Judge is the genius behind Beavis & Butt-head, Office Space, and King Of The Hill. His second feature film Idiocracy has proven to be incredibly prescient in these political times: 500 years in the future, the world has gotten very, very dumb. Here, Judge will screen a 35mm print of the film and then be interviewed by The A.V. Club’s Sean O’Neal.

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The Adventures Of Pete & Pete reunion

Thursday, June 1 / 9:30pm @ Lincoln Hall

Nickelodeon’s The Adventures Of Pete & Pete has been called the greatest children’s show ever, and it works just as well for adults. (Guest stars on the 1993-1996 series included Iggy Pop, Chris Elliott, LL Cool J, and Michael Stipe, among many others.) Join the cast and the show’s creators for an evening of obsessive reminiscing about all things Pete moderated by The A.V. Club’s Marah Eakin. There will be a cast and crew panel discussion, an audience Q&A, classic clips, and much more. Don’t be a blowhole! Be there for the Petes’ only Chicago appearance.

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Patton Oswalt

Friday, June 2 / 7:00 & 10:00pm @ Athenaeum Theatre

Patton Oswalt probably needs no introduction at this point, right? One of the biggest and best stand-ups working today, he recently took home a Grammy for Best Comedy Album (for last year’s Talking For Clapping). He’s also an incredible character actor, starring as everything from Remy in Ratatouille to Bob Sweeney on Justified and a thousand roles in between. At these can’t-miss shows, Oswalt will be recording a new TV special for the Chicago audiences that have welcomed him for many years.

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Bitch Sesh live with Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider

Friday, June 2 / 7:00 & 9:30pm @ Lincoln Hall

Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider (Hotwives Of Las Vegas) LOVE the Real Housewives on Bravo, and they’re sharing that excitement with you on Bitch Sesh! Listen in to hear the ladies dish on the season’s wildest moments, answer all your burning Housewives questions, drink Housewives-branded wine, and bring on some super special guests.

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Jena Friedman

Friday, June 2 / 10:30pm @ The Hideout

Jena Friedman is a stand up comedian, actor, writer and filmmaker. She is currently a correspondent for National Geographic Explorer and has worked as a field producer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and has written for Late Show with David Letterman. Her critically acclaimed stand up special, American Cunt, is now available on Seeso and Amazon.

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Nathan Fielder of Nathan For You

Saturday, June 3 / 7:00pm @ Athenaeum Theatre

In this rare live appearance, Nathan For You mastermind Nathan Fielder will talk about the work that goes into one of the weirdest, most amazing comedy shows in existence. His life’s work has resulted in such indelible segments as “Dumb Starbucks” and the world-fooling “Petting Zoo Hero.” Expect the unexpected (as well as a sneak peek at season four).

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Guys We F@#ked: The Experience

Saturday, June 3 / 7:00 & 10:00pm @ Thalia Hall

Each week, Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson (together known as the comedy duo Sorry About Last Night) interview a gentleman they slept with on Guys We F#$ed: The Anti Slut Shaming Podcast. Some they made love to, some they had sex with a few times and some they f****d in a hotel bathroom... er, what? Corinne & Krystyna want to make the world a more sex-positive place... one candid story of intercourse at a time. These live tapings of the show should be wild.

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7 Minutes In Purgatory with Ian Abramson

Saturday, June 3 / 8:00pm @ Lincoln Hall

What happens when you deny stand-up comedians the benefit of laughter? Ian Abramson, host of 7 Minutes in Purgatory, finds out when he puts comics alone in while the audience watches from a different room. Last year’s show at the Hideout was sold out and crazy, so this year we’re moving it to a bigger room.

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ClickHole Live

Saturday, June 3 / 10:30pm @ Lincoln Hall

ClickHole is The Onion’s sister site, and it tackles the ridiculous world of viral sites with headlines like “16 Pictures Of Beyonce Where She’s Not Sinking In Quicksand” and “How Many Of These Hard-Line Negotiating Tactics Have You Used To Get The Best Price On A Sponge?” Live, things are just as weird, with the ClickHole writers taking turns getting strange on stage, with PowerPoint presentations, songs, and stand-up sets.

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Crabapples with Bobcat Goldthwait and Caitlin Gill

Saturday, June 3 / 7:00 & 10:00pm @ The Hideout

Bobcat Goldthwait is one of the most recognizable comedians in show business and was ranked as the 61st greatest comedian of all time by Comedy Central. You might recognize him from the Police Academy movies, but we prefer to think of him as the stand-up master—and writer/director of the cult classic Shakes The Clown. Bobcat is also currently in production for a new series, Bobcat Goldthwait’s


Messed Up Stories (working title), for truTV. He’ll be joined here for two shows by Caitlin Gill; the two host a regular stand-up showcase called Crabapples.

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Adam Ruins Everything Live!

Sunday, June 4 / 7 & 9:30pm @ Lincoln Hall

Adam Conover is the creator and star of truTV’s ADAM RUINS EVERYTHING, a comedy series that dispels widespread misconceptions about everything we take for granted. Adam recurs on the hit Netflix animated series BOJACK HORSEMAN and was a regular panelist on VH1’s BEST WEEK EVER. A writer and performer for College Humor Originals, he is also a founding member of the sketch group Olde English, which performed at HBO’s Comedy Fest in Aspen and was named “Best Sketch Group on the Web” by A popular standup comedian, Adam can be seen regularly in the top New York and Los Angeles comedy clubs, and he brings his special brand of “ruining” to the Comedy Festival stage.

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Rise Up: Comedy For Change

Friday, June 2 through Sunday June 4

In conjunction with the comedy festival, The Onion announces ‘Rise Up: Comedy for Change’ from June 2-4. With support from The Open Society Foundations, the day-and-a-half event will bring together experts, change-makers, creatives, and comedians to explore the role comedy can play in creating social and political change in an increasingly polarized world. An opening reception will be held Friday, June 2; panels, performances, and debates will be held during the day on Saturday, June 3 and the morning of Sunday, June 4.

As part of the event, Caty Borum Chattoo, director of the Center for Media & Social Impact at American University (CMSI), will facilitate workshops for several satirists and comedians from the US and Latin America to create new comedy projects through media that will later be published on a Univision or Fusion Media Group platform later in the year. CMSI’s new project, The Laughter Effect, provides insights about how comedy works to create social change.

Space at ‘Rise Up: Comedy for Change’ is limited and invitation only. For more information or to request an invitation, email