A veteran Hollywood actor once said, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” In the second season of WTTW’s four-part reality series, The Chicago Stand-Up Project, four more local celebrities discover that indeed, being funny is not as easy as it looks. Four new 30-minute episodes air on successive Fridays — February 3, 10, 17, and 24 at 8:30 pm on WTTW. The series repeats on Sundays at 11:00 pm, and can also be found on WTTW Prime 11.2 (Comcast channel 370).
Zanies, the venerable comedy club in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood, opened its doors to Windy City Live co-host Val Warner (2/3), Chicagoland Sports Radio personality Jarrett Payton — son of Chicago Bears great Walter Payton — (2/10), local jewelry designer Lana Bramlette (2/17), and Fr. Tom Hurley of Old St. Pat’s Church (2/24) as they bravely took the plunge. In preparation for their performances, we watch each of them being coached by Zanies emcee Pat McGann on the finer points of engaging the audience, conquering their nerves, and putting over their original material. And then we watch them put it all on the line in front of a live audience. WGN Morning News feature reporter Ana Belaval hosts the program, and WTTW producer Ed Griffin was there to get it all on tape.
“We first aired this series on WTTW in the summer of 2010, and the audience response was great,” said Griffin. “Partnering with a Chicago institution such as Zanies turned out to be an inspired decision, and watching Pat help these well-known Chicagoans get ready for their comedy debuts gave me a new respect for their courage, and also for stand-up comedy as a profession,” he added.
“Zanies Comedy Club is proud to partner with WTTW on The Chicago Stand-Up Project,” said Zanies Executive Vice President Bert Haas. “The collaboration gives viewers a behind the scenes glimpse into the effort it takes to perform stand-up comedy.”
Will any of these four intrepid would-be comedians discover a true aptitude for one-liners? Watch and find out!
The Chicago Stand-Up Project is made possible in part by YouSwoop and Vienna Beef. The series is produced by Eddie Griffin and created by Pat McGann. Executive producers are Bert Haas, V.J. McAleer, and Dan Soles. Zanies performances are directed by Jack Ginay. Tech Supervisors are Dave Moyer and Derrick Young. Lighting Director is Tom Godar. Camera: Roy Alan, Tim Boyd, Mike Prendergast, Dave Moyer, and Tom Siegel.
For more than 50 years, audiences have turned to WTTW for distinctive programming that informs, inspires, educates, and entertains. WTTW reaches 1.5 million weekly households over a four-state area, making it the most-watched public television station in America. Recognized for its award-winning local and national productions, WTTW is committed to presenting the very best in cultural, nature, science, public affairs, and children's programming across its four distinct television channels: WTTW11, WTTW Prime, its Spanish-language channel WTTW V-me, and WTTW Create, its “how-to” channel. For more information, please visit wttw.com.
About Zanies Comedy Club
Zanies Comedy Club is Chicago’s original stand-up comedy club. Since 1978, Zanies has presented Chicago’s best stand-up comedy. Comedians who have performed on Zanies stages include Chelsea Handler, Whitney Cummings, Craig Ferguson, Kevin Hart, Jeffrey Ross, Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan, Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman, Jay Leno, Richard Lewis, Heather McDonald, Steve Rannazzissi and many more. Besides presenting the biggest names and most talented comedians, Zanies nurtures local comedians with comedy classes and showcases. For more information, please visit zanies.com.