In early August, I attended a RIOT Comedy show at Chicago Joe’s (2256 W. Irving Park Road) and was pleasantly surprised, not only at the talent—it was a great show the night I attended—but also at how well the room was run. It was incredibly organized; everything was executed on time and super tight.
The show is coordinated by three women: Lauren Vino, Renee Schultz, and Liza Treyger (full disclosure: my friend). They work hard to make the show what it is, and you can see it in the quality of the production and the performers. Of course, they have no control over how well the comedians will perform, but they do curate the talent and that’s where they shine.
There was a great lineup the night I attended: Candy Lawrence hosted with George Tracey, Erin Jackson from D.C., Lauren Vino, Mikey Manker, Chad Briggs, and Joe Fernandez.
Treyger was working at Chicago Joe’s when she thought of the idea of hosting a comedy show in the backroom. “Joe’s was having a 20-year anniversary week and they OK’d it,” she says. “I just needed badass people to [work] with… I asked Renee and Lauren to do RIOT and we’ve had a blast.”
Vino helped produce Tonic Room back in the day. At that time, Schultz (like myself) was super new to comedy and started producing?organizing, decorating, creating lineups, and making decisions. The three stand-ups came together and put on their first RIOT show in June of 2009.
RIOT Comedy allows them to cut up and take risks they might not otherwise. “We get to book what we think is really funny and put up a variety of different performers and take chances,” Treyger says. “We are known for our parties and costumes. We love making events and baking cakes and making people feel special.”
RIOT Comedy takes over the backroom at Joe’s every Thursday at 9:30 p.m. (Doors open at 9 p.m.) The show is $8 or two for the price of one ($4 each), so when you bring a friend it becomes cheaper! There’s $2 Miller Lite and PBR draft, $3 Jameson shots, and $4 cheeseburger and fries.