No, it’s not Second City, they’re doing fine.
But there is another Chicago institution that is in trouble and needs your help– the Lincoln Lodge. The Lincoln Lodge lost its home when the Lincoln Restaurant that LL called home closed. But the show and the people who put the life into the show are continuing, and they could really use some help from the comedy-verse to ensure their survival.
You can’t always say exactly what it is about a particular show that draws in crowds week after week, or what both nurtures young talent and attracts veterans to drop in. But whatever it is, the Lincoln Lodge has it. I first found out about the Lincoln Lodge from James Kamp who runs Comedy of Chicago and tipped me off that the Lincoln Lodge (and Parlour Car, too) as shows that anyone who loves comedy should check out.
When you ask how the hell Chicago keeps on popping out stars like they were blueberry muffins, part of the answer is that shows like the Lincoln Lodge help to create an environment that really matters- where young comics can get stage time in front of great audiences, and develop their voice. Shows like the Lincoln Lodge aren’t run from the standpoint of profitability, they’re run for the love of comedy.
T.J. Miller is one of those blueberry muffins who “cut his teeth” at the Lincoln Lodge, and he created a video to put out the call to comedy fans everywhere to help out. T.J. may be Colorado-raised, but the city that raised his stand up career is none other than Chicago, U.S.A. and one of the shows that helped raise young up-and-coming Miller was the Lincoln Lodge.
In the video, Miller praises the Lincoln Lodge, and the team behind the show, a non-profit group called Tight Five Productions. The show he said, is responsible in many ways for some of the best talent of the last 15 years, and he names a few comedians you might have heard of– Kumail Nanjiani, Pete Holmes, Kyle Kinane, Matt Braunger, Nick Vatterott, Cameron Esposito, and Hannibal Buress.
“The Lincoln Lodge lost their partnership with the Lincoln Restaurant, were rendered homeless and need their own venue,” Miller explains. He said they’re looking for all kinds of help and invites people to not only donate cash, but also volunteer their time or skills. “I can’t stress enough how important the Lincoln Lodge was to so many people you laugh at today,” he adds and points out that wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go to the Lodge in the future and say “you know what, I kind of helped build this place and all the best shows are here.”
— The Lincoln Lodge (@thelincolnlodge) November 29, 2016
T.J. asks anyone who has ever laughed at anything he’s said to kick a little money towards helping the future of comedy and then throws it to some other great comics, Hannibal Buress, Kyle Kinane, Pete Holmes, Nick Vatterott, and Matt Braunger, who echo all that Miller said.
The video is worth the watch even if you’re not able to help out- and it raises and answers some important questions like how to pronounce Hannibal’s last name. Some questions won’t be answered. Like why a sheep is wearing a fez.
Through an Indiegogo campaign, Tight Five posted that they’ve already raised $50K privately which will help them reach their end-goal of opening a theater, but they need another $30,000 to secure permits, licenses and all those miscellaneous things you need to build-out a space. If they succeed, they expect to be running in their new home by this summer. In the meantime, they’ll find space to keep things going on a short term basis. In December, they’ll be at Subterranean.
If you would like to get involved, visit their Indiegogo page, contact them via tightfiveproduction.com or call 773-251-1539.