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2024's Queer Comedians To Watch: A Pride Showcase to Take Place At The Annoyance Theater

The event will take place on June 29, featuring 11 talented performers.

By: Jun. 13, 2024
2024's Queer Comedians To Watch: A Pride Showcase to Take Place At The Annoyance Theater  Image
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- 2024's Queer Comedians To Watch is the biggest, gayest, funniest showcase of the year on stage at the Annoyance Theatre for one night only on the eve of the Pride Parade! Featuring 11 comedians performing stand up and original characters, this showcase will leave you in awe of the upcoming talent in Chicago right now. The showcase is directed by Lillie Frances. Frances (owner of Laugh out Loud Theater) is an acclaimed Chicago actor, improviser and director. Among a multitude of credits, Frances directed GayCo, a Second City sketch show in the early 2000s. 2024's Queer Comedians To Watch is an intergenerational collaboration celebrating queer art and Chicago voices!

Featuring: Alexi Bolden, George Elrod, Beckett Kenny, Sierra Kenyon, Asya Meadows, Chloe Mikala, Chelsea Matkins, Amita Rao, Ateeq Rehman, Rogue Schmidt and Sam Rocha.

June 29th, 2024 at 6:00pm, tickets on sale now at

"We're producing this show as a love letter to the Chicago comedy community and the queer artists who inspire us every day." shares Schmidt. "On a typical show, you'll see maybe one or two queer performers - what better time than Pride to get so many of us on one stage? Having Lillie's guidance has been invaluable. Bridging her talent and expertise together with the freshness of this show has really created a tour de force of queer comedy."

About the Artists:

Lillie Frances, Director (she/her) began acting, improvising, and directing at Northwestern University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Theater. She has performed with improv ensembles at iO and other venues in Chicago, and assistant directed and performed at Boom Chicago in Amsterdam. Directing credits also include a Second City National Touring Company, the all women's improv groups Jane and Sirens, the critically acclaimed sketch groups GayCo and Stir Friday Night, and various ensembles at iO and The Playground. She worked for several years as a lead facilitator for Second City Business Communications where she designed and facilitated training programs for Fortune 500 companies and worked as a Core Faculty Member for the Second City Training Center. She currently teaches at Columbia College, and owns and runs Laugh Out Loud, an itinerant comedy theater in and about Chicago, IL.

Alexi Bolden (she/her) is an actor, writer, and comedian based in Chicago, IL. She is an SNL Scholarship recipient with The Second City and has written and performed with her sketch teams and solo material at Brooklyn Comedy Collective (N.Y.), Austin Sketch Festival (TX), The Annoyance, iO, and other theaters around Chicago. You can find her at @alexibolden on Instagram or on any streaming platform where she co-hosts her podcast, Academia.

George Elrod (He/him/they/them) is a member of Second City's National Touring Company (GreenCo). He wrote and performed in Second City's first original LGBTQ sketch revue, Salute to Pride: Not Safe for Werk. TV credit includes HBO's Somebody Somewhere. Other Chicago comedy credits include Bob Curry Fellowship (NBCUniversal/Second City), Deck the Hallmark (Second City), Let's Make it Perfectly Queer (Second City), and Comet (iO Chicago). George is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and is an alumni of DePaul University. They are represented by Grossman & Jack Talent.

Beckett Kenny (he/him) A staple of the Chicago comedy scene for over 5 years Beckett has produced and performed on Chicago's most iconic comedy shows. He has been described as, "A talented gay guy perfectly balancing the eclectic tastes of the alternative scene with a healthy respect for the traditional craft of stand-up comedy."

Sierra Kenyon (she/her) is a writer, dancer, comedian, singer, and actor. She has performed at Annoyance, iO, Lincoln Lodge, Zanies, Laugh Factory, and The Paper Machete. Sierra is most known for her revered and sold-out solo show: Sierra's Ungodly Hour and has won awards for writing and voicing her commercial work. She played her first titular role in Goodnight, Gladys, which was awarded runner-up for Best of Chicago 2023: New Play. She is a scuba-certified citizen scientist and host of Brutal Sketch Comedy. Sharks and big cats don't scare her, but the eeEeEEeE of the redline and the Air and Water show do. When she's not performing she can be found underwater looking for critters, info-dumping, or spreading the gay agenda. Follow her @sierra_skank_kenyon

Chelsea Matkins (she/her) is an Actor/Comedian/Writer based in Chicago. She is the creator of the Gag Reflex comedy duo which was voted one of Chicago's best improv/sketch troupes by the Chicago Reader 2022. She has been featured in the Chicago JFL and SNL showcases at the Annoyance Theatre and is also the producer of the Holy Fuck Comedy hour at the Annoyance Theatre. She has been featured in shows all over Chicago at venues like IO Theatre, Lincoln Hall, Sleeping Village, The Lincoln Lodge and more. You can follow her viral videos on TikTok and Instagram @chelseamatkins She is represented by Grossmen and Jack Talent.

Asya Meadows (they/them) is a queer actor and comedian, a suburbanite from the west side of Chicago. They've trained at The Actors Studio Chicago, Vagabond Schools of Arts, and iO Theatre, Annoyance Theatre. They have performed in sketch and improv shows at famous comedy theaters in the following, What was I Paid for? (Second City), Lesbian Lodge (Lincoln Lodge), Splatter 2022 (Annoyance Theatre), Dopeness (Annoyance Theatre), and Satirical Race Theory (iO Theatre). Asya was the Winner of the LGBTQ+ season of iO's Improvised Survivor. They produce and host a seasonal outdoor variety show, the Bare Variety Show.

Chloe Mikala (she/her) is a Black Queer award-winning actor, comedian, and writer. She's opened for Dulcé Sloan, Bobcat Goldthwait, Adam Conover, Marcella Arguello and more. She's been seen on multiple stages and festivals such as Laugh Factory, Comedy on State, Comedy Vault, Madison Comedy Festival, and the Black Women in Comedy Laff Festival in NYC (Best of Fest Runner Up '23), just to name a few. She's performed with The Second City, where she was a Bob Curry Fellow, and is a co-producer/ensemble member for the all Black comedy variety show "My Best Friend is Black", which was voted as the Best Comedy Show by the Chicago Reader. Chloe also has a horror movie on Tubi called "Re-Elected" and spoiler she doesn't die first. Absolutely groundbreaking.

Amita Rao (she/her) is a comedian, actress, and writer. She can be seen as Nandika in Hulu's upcoming show, Deli Boys. She has toured with Second City, was an NBC/Bob Curry Fellow, and has performed across Chicago with her comedy group, Gag Reflex. Amita is represented by Grossman & Jack Talent and Authentic Management.

Ateeq Rehman (he/him) is from Chicago, IL (ok fine! He's from the suburbs but he'd drive into the city a lot!) He made comedy more than just a hobby after the pandemic when bread-making didn't get a rise out of him. He can be seen weekly, performing improv with Creamboy and Stir Friday Night, sketch with Best of Annoyance Sketch, and will do stand up occasionally, if everyone asks nicely. He loves feeding his friends lavish meals with no recipes, reading, writing, and watching movies so terrible they are great. You can follow him on Instagram at @ateeqmr.

Sam Rocha (she/her) is a Chicago-based comic and creator. She has become a featured comic at top comedy Chicago clubs like Zanies, Lincoln Lodge, and Laugh Factory, where she produces SASHAY the last Friday of every month. She was also a finalist on the sixth season of the iO's popular live show Improvised Survivor, regularly hosts aliveOne's weekly open mic, and produces and stars in On Air with Bev, a pop-up musical comedy variety show based on her popular viral character "Bev". You can follow her @samhandleyrocha across all platforms for updates and to see a show!

Rogue Schmidt (they/she) was voted the winner of Chicago Reader's Best Comedian in 2023. Their debut solo show, "The Locker Room" ran at The Annoyance Theatre for 6 sold-out weeks. Rogue tours their solo characters all around the city, is a frequent contributor to The Paper Machete at The Green Mill, and they were cast in the Just For Laughs Character Showcase at The Annoyance in 2023. Rogue's characters have been featured at shows at The Second City, The iO Theater, C2E2 at McCormick Place, Zanies, The Hideout, and The Laugh Factory. Rogue produces and hosts Brutal Sketch Comedy, a monthly variety show at The Lincoln Lodge. In August of 2024, Rogue makes their debut at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland with a new iteration of their solo show, The Locker Room. Rogue is represented by Grossman & Jack Talent.


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