More Than 170 Comedy Artists Representing 18 Countries
Gather for Inaugural Festival
CHICAGO, Illinois – The World Comedy Expo brings sketch, improv, and stand-up comedy artists from across the United States and around the world to Chicago audiences March 25 - 27, 2022. This inaugural edition features more than 170 artists showcasing the power of laughter in 27 shows, spanning five Chicago venues.
“I came to Chicago from Japan as a young stand-up because the city is known as the comedy capital of the world,” said co-founder and Artistic Director Saku Yanagawa. “Chicago famously became known as a world-class city with the World’s Columbian Exposition following the Great Fire, and now we hope our World Comedy Expo can restore the city’s comedy reputation as we recover from another disaster, a global pandemic. Maybe we’ll even get that fifth star on the flag?”
The World Comedy Expo features artists hailing from 18 countries spanning five continents, including China, Rwanda, India, Ecuador, Canada, Italy, Thailand, Japan, and Mexico. 94 stand-up comedians and 25 ensembles, 174 artists in total, will perform over the course of the three-day festival at Laugh Factory, The Annoyance Theatre, The Den, and UP Comedy Club and Donny’s Skybox at The Second City.
“The World Comedy Expo is an unprecedented event that gives audiences an opportunity to explore the idea of comedy and humor by giving a microphone and a stage to artists who Chicagoans may not otherwise get to hear from,” said co-founder and Business Director Kerry Sheehan. “We’ve curated a slate of shows that include artists from different countries and cultures, artists with disabilities, artists of color, LGBTQ+ artists, genderqueer artists, because comedy comes from our own lived experiences. Showcasing such a range of diverse points of view makes the World Comedy Expo unique, and comedically brilliant.”
Special programs include The History of Chicago Comedy, moderated by Kelly Leonard and Anne Libera with panelists Raymond Lambert, Rick Kogan, Jennifer Estlin, and Mick Napier, exploring how Chicago came to prominence in the world of comedy. Workshops include Intro to the Art of Slow Comedy Improv workshop with Jimmy Carrane, developing people into better performers by learning the tools of improvisation; and Improv for Stand Up, led by Rachael Mason and Susan Messing, developing skills to improvise your way through tricky moments, audience interactions, and the dreaded “oh no, I forgot what I’m doing next!” situations.
The full program and show schedule for The World Comedy Expo is available online at www.worldcomedyexpo.com. Tickets are on sale now for $20 each. All attendees including artists, audience members, media, staff, and volunteers are required to show proof of full vaccination or negative PCR test results taken within 72 hours of the show date, and masks are required to be worn over the nose and mouth at all times, unless actively eating or drinking. Some venues may have additional restrictions.