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Comedy Wed Mar 13 2013
Last Thursday, I trekked through early-March slush to watch local standups perform in Congrats On Your Success, a BYOB showcase held every first Thursday of the month at Uncharted Books in Logan Square. At first read, standup in a used bookstore might seem strange -- wait, aren't standups confined to dark dive bars, you say -- but that's the great thing about Chicago comedy right now, it's happening all over the city, anywhere people can get a microphone and a crowd.
With its mismatched chairs and exposed brick, Uncharted Books feels like the basement of your friend's cool parents. The unconventional comedy space is a little more accessible for people who might not see many shows and conversely a change of pace for people who see comedy/perform every night.
Hosted by Bill Bullock, the CoYS lineup featured five smart comics who gave us a mix of storytelling, observations, and solid jokes. All the performers seemed really relaxed, which was nice because we got to hear jokes that felt natural -- anything from Rebecca O'Neal talking about a Venn diagram of her love life to Nicholas Rouley's feelings on having children.
The show opener is always really important -- they set the tone -- and O'Neal was smart about warming up the crowd. I like when a comic can take an event that recently happened to them -- in O'Neal's case riding the CTA -- and turn it into a bonding moment for the audience; everyone's like yeah, that thing happens to me too. She did a confessional style of standup that really worked for her.
Ian Abramson probably had the tightest set of the night. His jokes were really well-paced and his timing was on point. His bit about a Target t-shirt got a "large" response from the audience.
Nicholas Rouley (Kind of Blue Comedy) and Davey Boy Helem both did their thing. Rouley was funny in this cool, observational way -- his material about marriage and children was especially funny to me. He knew how to interact with the crowd and at some points would check-in with us about his jokes. I really like Helem -- who hadn't "been that far North" in a while. He was just kinckin it with the crowd and his jokes had some of the strongest punchlines.
Candy Lawrence closed out the night. I vibed a lot with her set, because she admitted she hadn't showered in a few days and what if I just floated away right now. Lawrence had this ease with the audience and had a really smart way of interacting with us -- like she'd tell a story, finish, and then go into an impersonation. Her Rose from the Titanic could get any crowd to laugh (even frat boys, apparently).
Congrats On Your Success has a party feel to it -- I think there was a keg toward the back, but I didn't go check it out -- and feels unique to Logan Square. Go check it out next month.
Produced by Bill Bullock, Justin Covington, Sonia Denis, Odinaka Ezeokoli, Rebecca O'Neal, and Charlie Rohrer, CoYS is a free comedy show that happens the first Thursday of every month from 7-9pm at Uncharted Books, 2630 N. Milwaukee Ave. For more information, check out the show's Facebook page.