UP Comedy Club is one of the seven venues of The Second City, Chicago’s most famous comedy enterprise. In this post, we review the venue, including giving information on buying tickets, getting to UP Comedy Club, and some quick thoughts on the show we were watching this evening—She The People.
Buying Tickets for UP Comedy Club
Tickets can be purchased online via The Second City’s website. Purchasing in advance online is highly recommended because shows do sell out. There is a box office on the first floor of the theater, as well.
The Second City has seven venues in their Old Town theater building, which means they can host a lot of shows on a given night. Ticket prices range from about $10 to $15 for the smaller venues to $30 to $60+ for the main venues.
You can browse the shows by venue here. If you already know the date you want to go, you can just go to the calendar here—you’ll again have to click between the different venues. And if you’re looking for something to do tonight, just go ahead and see “What’s On Tonight.”
The displayed prices don’t include ticket fees ($5.25 each for this show). For our show, we purchased Premium Rail Seats because we originally thought we’d be planning to arrive a bit later.
You’ll probably be fine with General Admission, but keep in mind that if you want a good table seat, you’ll want to arrive earlier (30 to 45 minutes early). Almost every seat has table access, but there are a few without it. Tickets were delivered via email–no need to print, we just scanned when we arrived.
Getting to UP Comedy Club
UP Comedy Club is located at 230 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60614, in the Piper’s Alley theatre building, which also houses Second City’s other six venues. UP is on the third floor of the building, easily accessible via escalators.
The main entrance is on North Avenue just west of Wells St.
Taking the L (Chicago’s local train system), you can use the Sedgwick stop of the Brown Line, which is just a four minute walk away.
If you have the time, we recommend using the Clark and Division Red Line stop. Walk west to Wells Street and then north through the heart of Old Town. It’s a 14-minute walk, but a nice walk, especially if you’re looking for drinks / dinner before (or after) a show.
With its proximity to Lincoln Park, there are a variety of CTA bus routes that service the area. Use Google Maps to get directions if you’re taking the bus.
If you’re driving, there is street parking in the neighborhood for $4 / hour (North Avenue and south) or $2 / hour (north of North Avenue). You can pay for two hours at a time and reload using your phone via the Park Chicago app (just note your meter number).
Piper’s Alley also has its own garage with parking rates of $12 (first hour) to $35 (12 to 24 hours) depending on the length of your stay.
1959 Kitchen & Bar
Before the show, we swung by 1959 Kitchen & Bar, the bar inside The Second City building that mostly caters to people before and after the shows. It’s on the second floor, next to the Mainstage and e.t.c. theaters.
The 1959 menu is about as straightforward as they come–burger, chicken parmesan, tacos. Mains range from $9 to $16, cocktails from $11 to $13, and beers from $6 to $8.
The space itself is pretty cool and was surprisingly empty for the time (though it probably livens up as the night goes on and more shows begin). We enjoyed a $7 pretzel twist and $5 garlic bread with marinara and two beers.
Service was quick (we had a simple order). Besides some cool pictures of comedians past, there are a wealth of games available.
Doors to the show opened at 7:15PM. We wanted to get a food order in before the show, so we headed over there (just up one floor) at 7:30PM.
If you’re interested in some alternatives, we cover “What’s Nearby” farther below.
UP Comedy Club – Venue
We were scanned in and assigned seats without any regard to our actual ticket type (Premium Rail). Since we were given a close seat with a table in front of us, we chose to keep our mouths shut.
Obviously it would have been nice not to have paid for the Premium Rail Seat, but arriving at 7:30PM got us great seats.
There aren’t any bad seats, but I might worry a little bit about the sound as you get farther back. There were a few sketches when we had trouble hearing from our good seats.
We placed an order for french fries ($6), cheese curds ($9), and a pitcher of Goose Island Natural Villain ($32), and it came after about ten minutes.
There’s no drink minimum at UP Comedy Club, and the food menu also includes fuller items like the double cheeseburger ($12) and Chicago style brat ($10).
She The People Show
While we’re more focused on the venue, She The People is scheduled to perform through 2019, so it makes sense to give the actual show a bit of our time.
Going in, you should know that She The People is—as expected—driven by a very political and particularly very feminist bend. As long as you don’t mind the topics, it should be an enjoyable show. The writing, music, performance, and delivery are all spot-on.
During the intermission we discussed just who the show was for. Obviously as a comedy show, it’s really for all people, and we do believe it would deliver laughs to most anyone. But it particularly seemed to be most powerful for women who find themselves mostly surrounded by
idiots people who haven’t fully embraced their cause of equality.
Conversely, feminists who often buried in the cause may actually find some of the jokes falling flat, only because they beat the refrains of the most recent wave of the past few years, often so directly that they aren’t really jokes at all.
But those moments are few and far between. The show ranges from songs about empowerment, to short sketches about men’s perception of feminism, to improv musicals. The second half in particular felt jam packed with energy and emotion (admittedly it could have been the alcohol).
The show was 100 minutes with about a 10-minute intermission. This was a great length and had us leaving the theater at about 10PM. There are plenty of cabs in the area through the night, and we quickly grabbed an Uber home.
If you’re looking to put a full day together, you couldn’t choose a better spot. Just a short walk east / northeast you’ve got North Avenue Beach (Chicago’s most eventful summer spot) and Lincoln Park—including Lincoln Park Zoo, the Chicago History Museum, and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
Fifteen minutes east is the NEWCITY entertainment district, which offers a small amount of shopping and sining, along with a Kings (bar restaurant with bowling, billiards, shuffleboard, air hockey and foosball).
For dining and drinking, though, our choice is definitely the heart of Old Town–Wells Street between North and Division, just south of the theater. Old Town Pour House is a large, easy choice, but you should also just hop into any of the smaller spots in the neighborhood for a more local vibe.
UP Comedy Club — Conclusions
As a part of The Second City, it isn’t surprising that UP Comedy Club is one of Chicago’s best comedy venues. It’s one of the higher-tier theaters at The Second City, so you’ll be paying a premium for one of the best venues and best shows. (We paid $9 / person + $4 / beer for our recent visit to Comedians You Should Know, for example.)
With plenty of daytime activities and nightlife nearby, Up Comedy Club is definitely worthy of consideration if you’re looking for something to do in Chicago.