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Slideshow: 7-Portrait Comedian Gallery of 2011 ‘Just for Laughs Chicago’

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Steve Martin begins his very stupid conversation with Martin Short.

CHICAGO – Last week, June 14-19, Chicago felt the roar of hilarity as it hosted the 2011 “Just for Laughs” festival, sponsored by the TBS Network. For five rollicking days, the Windy City entertained audiences at venues all around town, with both name comic celebrities, local stand-up and the Chicago school of improvisation.

Exclusive Portrait: Whitney Cummings at ‘Just for Laughs Chicago’

Whitney Cummings, Photo by Joe Arce

CHICAGO – The unique comic stylings of Whitney Cummings took centerstage June 16th at the Vic Theatre here, as part of the TBS “Just for Laughs Chicago.” Cummings wowed the audience with her hilarious set, and took down the house with her demonstration of the “money shot.”

Preview: 2011 TBS ‘Just for Laughs Chicago’ Kicks Off June 15

CHICAGO – Hilarity is back in the Windy City as the annual “Just for Laughs” festival comes to town to kick off summer. Over the next five days, Chicago venues will be rocking with comedy legends like Steve Martin, and the smaller clubs around town will also be featuring up-and-coming acts.

TV Review: Talented Cast of Chicago-Set ‘My Boys’ Finds Comic Rhythm

CHICAGO – The writing on “My Boys” can still be overly self-aware of its perceived cleverness but the ensemble has developed to such an extent that they’ve reached level of talent that can overcome the occasional weak punchline or false character moment.

Just For Laughs Chicago: George Wendt Leads Big Cast in ‘Da Bears’

Just for Laughs Chicago, Da Bears Team

CHICAGO – Da Super Fans were out in force on a spectacular Saturday night at the Park West in Chicago, as the TBS Network’s “Just for Laughs” Festival presented “Da Bears Movie Dat Wasn’t.” George Wendt, Joe Mantegna, Horatio Sanz and Da Coach, Mike Ditka, provided the hilarity.

Just for Laughs Chicago: Bob Odenkirk, Robert Smigel Are ‘Not Inappropriate’

Robert Smigel and Bob Odenkirk in "Just for Laughs Chicago"

CHICAGO – The just-opened Mayne Stage on Chicago’s north side was the setting for “The Not Inappropriate Show,” featuring comedians Bob Odenkirk and Robert Smigel. Both are in town as part of the TBS network’s “Just for Laughs Chicago,” playing through Saturday, June 19th.

Theater Review: Ellen DeGeneres Brings Laughs, Magic to Chicago Theatre

Ellen DeGeneres

CHICAGO – “I like the word ‘somewhat’”, mused Ellen DeGeneres Wednesday night onstage at the Chicago Theatre in front of what is now her standard roused audience. “Like you can say, ‘I’m somewhat gay. But my girlfriend’s really gay.’”

Interview: Ellen DeGeneres Takes on Chicago in ‘Just For Laughs’ Festival

Ellen DeGeneres

CHICAGO – Ellen DeGeneres has always been a woman of many hats. Whether taking a seat as host (or featured dancer) on her Emmy Award-winning talk show “The Ellen Degeneres Show”, offering musical insight to hopefuls on “American Idol”, or lending her voice to the LGBT community, DeGeneres has become a trailblazer of the entertainment industry.

TV Review: Animated ‘Neighbors From Hell’ Keeps Laugh Meter in Red

Belthazor Hellman from "Neighbors From Hell"

CHICAGO – Coming from the punishing fires has never been wackier in the new animated TV series from TBS, “Neighbors From Hell.” Featuring the voice talent of Patton Oswalt, Molly Shannon and Kurtwood Smith, Neighbors reminds us that our current paradise is closer to actual hell than ever before.

TV Review: Cliched, Generic TBS Sitcom ‘Are We There Yet?’

CHICAGO – Very loosely based on the Ice Cube movie (and featuring occasional cameos by the Executive Producer himself), TBS’s “Are We There Yet?” feels more like a product of the recently-passed era of generic family sitcoms like “According to Jim” or “My Wife and Kids.”

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves

    CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.

  • A Field in England (teaser)

    CHICAGO – I can’t recommend this more. “A Field in England” is a flashback and a flash forward all at once. It’s impossible to watch without thinking of great counter culture cinema. In fact when I saw it at Fantastic Fest 2013 it played as part of a double bill with Ken Russell’s “The Devils” (1971). They made perfect cinematic companion pieces. Russell’s film concerned a wayward priest desperate to protect his 17th century city from corruption in the Church only to fall victim to group hysteria when he is, ironically, accused of witchcraft by a jealous nun.

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