Places in Chicago to laugh as a family

Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” To make sure your family doesn’t waste any days, check out these fun Chicago spots for kid-friendly improv and comedy that will tickle everyone’s funny bones.

For younger kids

That’s Weird, Grandma 

Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago

Dates vary

$15 for adults; $5 for children under 12

This fun show features stories, sketches and songs created by Chicago elementary school students and adapted for the stage and performed by Barrel of Monkeys Company members. Each audience votes on the lineup, so it’s never the same. The show has been running for 21 years, likely because adults laugh as much as the kids do. Appropriate for all ages, or whomever can sit through a one-hour performance.

‘Stories on Sunday Afternoons’ wraps up on Nov. 12, and the Holidays Stories production runs Dec. 4-23 on Mondays with added holiday weekend performances. Be on the lookout for the Stories for Change run starting in January.

Storytown Improv

Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont Ave., Chicago

Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.

$10, with kids 2 and under free

It’s a full-on group effort to produce the giggles here, with actors handling the improv, musicians making up tunes on the fly, artists crafting a set and kids in the audience providing imaginative ideas. Recommended for ages 3-10 with their whole family, with assurances that grown-ups will enjoy right alongside their little ones.


Bughouse Theater, 1910 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago

Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.

$10 for kids, adults are free

If your kids are good at adding unexpected changes to your day, why not let them handle plot twists for those seeking for such input? In addition to said plot twists, kids also pick costumes for characters, determine the setting of the tale and even join in the story. Recommended for kids ages 3-12 and their parents.

For tweens


CSz Theater Chicago, 929 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.

$25 per person

Want to get everyone disconnected from devices and having fun together? Try ComedySportz, Chicago’s longest-running, game-based, short form improv comedy show. It puts the “battle” in battle of wits as two teams face off against each other on stage for 90 minutes. A referee keeps things moving at a brisk pace (and keeps them clean). The show is relentlessly positive. ComedySportz is for all ages, and is especially good for those ages 7 and up. 

For teens

Second City

1616 N. Wells St., Chicago

Dates and times vary

Mainstage tickets start at $36

One of the great parts of parenting a teen is that they get jokes. All the jokes. And to see those jokes in the same place where Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert launched their careers is pretty cool. All shows contain R-rated content, so use your judgment on what your teen can handle. To hit the highlights, check out the Best of the Second City show.

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