Whitney Wasson (they/them) is a standup comedian and comedy producer based in Chicago. They've performed everywhere from smoky dive bars to fancy comedy clubs throughout the U.S. Now they're just hanging out, waiting for the world to resume.
(Keep reading to learn about the shows I produced back in the good ol' days of in-person comedy.)
More About Me
I'm an experienced standup comedian and emcee. I started standup in Fayetteville, Arkansas, spent some time in Memphis, TN, and now live in Chicago, IL. I've traveled all over the country too tell jokes at comedy festivals, pizza restaurants, clubs, and esteemed dive bars. As a sober person, I've been proud to perform at international conventions, conferences, and private events related to mental health and substance abuse recovery. Until a global pandemic put standup comedy on pause, I performed weekly in Chicago.
Some Chicago highlights include The Laugh Factory, Zanies, Second City, iO, The Annoyance and the Cards Against Humanity Theater. I was honored to perform at Steppenwolf Theatre for Colette Gregory's Woke Women in 2018. I emceed the standup showcase at the Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival (2016) and headlined the Chicago Women's Funny Festival (2017).
National festival credits include Midwest Queer Comedy Festival (2018, 2019), Floodwater Comedy Festival (Iowa City), Blue Whale Comedy Festival in Tulsa (2015, 2017), Cream City Comedy Festival (Milwaukee), Whiskey Bear Comedy Festival (Columbus), Crom Comedy Festival (Omaha), Burning Bridges Comedy Festival (Pittsburgh), and the Memphis Comedy Festival. (2015, 2016)
I'm also a pretty prolific comedy producer. I began emceeing the Comedians NWA Open Mic in Fayetteville in 2014 (at various venues, notably the infamous Dickson Street Theatre) and began producing showcases at Nomads Music Lounge in 2015. In Chicago in 2016, I co-founded the body-positive, LGBTQ+ show, Strip Joker, an awards show called You Won! in the Christ Farley Cabaret at iO, and a show for sober performers called Serenity Now at The Crowd Theatre. Check out some galleries from my past shows below.
My comedy has been featured in two standup documentaries. Along with drag star Valerie Chiffon, I co-starred in the documentary short, Stage Presence, which won the CSWE 2015 Virtual Film Festival and is now screened in Social Work classes across the country.
SERENITY NOW / The Crowd Theater (2018-2020)
From 2018-2020, I hosted SERENITY NOW, an all-sober variety show at the late, great Crowd Theater in Lakeview. I booked only performers who were in recovery and gave away free LaCroix. It was a blast! I was profiled in the Chicago Reader and Scapi Magazine. Photos by ANF Chicago and Drew Brown.
YOU WON! / Chris Farley Cabaret at iO (2018)
After I left Strip Joker, I wanted to try something wildly different. I pitched a VERY dumb concept to iO -- an awards show for losers! At You Won, comedians, improvisers, storytellers and musicians were asked to explore what it means to be successful. Audience members were encouraged to wear their real medals, ribbons, and certificates to compete for more awards.
Photos by Sarah Elizabeth Larson.
STRIP JOKER / Uptown Underground (2016-2017)
While I left the show in 2017, I'm proud to have co-founded the long-running, LBGTQ+, body-positive comedy showcase, Strip Joker. Valentine's Day weekend in 2016, I hosted our first show at the small burlesque theater, Gorilla Tango in Bucktown. From there, we headed to the 50 seat cabaret, then the 150-seat main stage at Uptown Underground in Uptown, so I got PRET-TY COMFORTABLE hosting in my knickers. Through my marketing efforts, the show received positive mentions Chicago Reader, RedEye Chicago, and Rebellious Magazine for Women, and even a shoutout from Katie Rife in the Huffington Post.