Girl power: Chicago hosts the 3rd Annual Women’s Funny Festival

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WENDY CITY MOM.the parenting column.

Women’s Funny Festival, founded by producer and Stage 773 director of operations Jill Valentine and co-producer Liz McArthur, was created as a networking opportunity for women to connect and support one another in all comedic endeavors.

“We’ve got the best local Chicago talent, including never before seen and not to be seen again one night only performances,” said Jill Valentine. “Each one of these ladies (or occasional fella) in this festival was chosen out of hundreds of applications for a reason and we are excited for each and every one of them.”

Prepare to get the giggles out at this year’s 4-day comedy fest, featuring over 70 shows and 400 artists. Celebrate the best in female comedy on June 5 — 8 at 1225 W. Belmont, in all four of Stage 773’s theatres. Bigger and better, this year comediennes from around the world will come together to illuminate various methods of comedy — stand up, sketch, solo, vaudeville, improvisational and musical. Standout performers include SNL writer Katie Rich, Conan O’Brien and Chelsea Lately contributor Beth Stelling, Turkish native Aliye AJ, The Second City Main Stage performer Holly Laurent and Toronto star Danz Altvater.

“Audiences can see all different art forms,” said Valentine. “We have all types of comedy flavors playing every hour on the hour in all of the four theaters.”

Other highlights are Chicago Sketchfest veteran groups: Off Off Broadzway, The Cupid Players, The Puterbaugh Sisters and Feminine Gentlemen plus much more talent from around the globe, which will keep you entertained throughout the fun and funny fest.

“Patrons can walk into Stage773, take off their coat and get a cocktail because everything is all under one roof,” said Valentine.

Stage 773 featured workshops, available to help prospective comediennes hone in on their craft, include “Sit-down with Stelling” with stand-up comic and actress Beth Stelling and “Advanced Long Form” with SNL writer Katie Rich, both on Saturday, June 7. For artists looking to break into the business, talent agent Marisa Paonessa will host “Getting Started in the Business” on Sunday, June 8 from 10:30 a.m. — 1:30 p.m.

The good news for comedy-goers is that tickets are affordable: $14 — $15. Purchase tickets at, by phone at 773.327.5252 and in person at the Stage 773 box office. The full performance schedule may be viewed at