The Comedians You Should Know

comedians you should know

Photo Credit: Jon Cole

Chicago is the breeding ground for funny. Everywhere you turn there’s a bar or club handing the microphone over to stand-up comedians, a few of whom could end up anywhere from the writing tables of a hit sitcom to behind the desk of a late-night talk show. How to find the ones that will one day make it big is the challenge. Which comedians should you know? Consider this your formal introduction.

Comedians You Should Know is a group of six Chicago-based comedians “intent on changing the face of stand-up comedy” and, by the looks of it, they don’t seem to be wasting any time. This eclectic group of seasoned performers produce a weekly showcase featuring themselves as well as other top comedians in the area.

CYSK grew organically from the mind of one Chicago comic several years ago. Member and co-founder Danny Kallas recalls, “There was a show in Chicago that called itself ‘The Best Stand Up Comedy Showcase in Chicago.’ I thought I could do a better job.” He brought on fellow stand ups whom he felt were both talented and committed to the idea. By January of 2008, CYSK had their first weekly showcase at Fizz Bar on the north side of the city. Kallas and the boys soon went full-force to promote the show, handing out free tickets at grocery stores and high traffic “L” train stops — even getting up early to stuff flyers in Red Eyes and the Onions before the morning rush.

Their hard work has certainly paid off. Their Wednesday night 9pm show at Timothy O’Toole’s downtown always brings a crowd and frequently sells out. With a cozy back room cut off from the loud flat screens and restaurant, O’Toole’s creates the perfect atmosphere for a night of comedy. And considering the low admission of $10, it’s not an easy one to pass up.

As of June 2011, the CYSK members include Marty DeRosa, Danny Kallas, Joe Kilgallon, Mike Lebovitz, Drew Michael and Michael Sanchez. Each brings his own style to the stage along with a confidence that immediately puts the audience at ease. These funny guys are so comfortable with themselves and their material that watching them on stage feels more like drinking beers and relaxing with a close friend. Some of their best performances can also be heard on their debut album, recorded live at O’Toole’s which premiered at #1 on iTunes in February 2011.

Kallas is passionate about the comedy scene in the Windy City and knows it breeds genuine talent. In 2010 Variety Magazine did an article about the top ten comedians to watch — and six of them were out of Chicago. “That’s not a coincidence. There is something special about this scene,” Kallas said.

The men of CYSK are no exception. They know comedy and they’re going far. For your own sake, get to know ’em.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit:

comedians you should know

Jessie Stegner

About Jessie Stegner

Jessie has been living in Chicago since 2007 and loved every minute of it. Her only setback is, due to growing up in Sierra Madre, California, she can't feel her toes between the months of November and June. With a degree in Theatre from the University of Colorado at Boulder and training from Second City and Improv Olympic, Stegner can usually be found on a stage somewhere trying to make people laugh. She enjoys falling asleep to the sound of the El train, drinking Blue Moon, jogging on the lovely streets of Ravenswood, eating Thai food and watching White Sox baseball.

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