Funnier By The Lake


World’s Greatest Dad(?) at Madame Zuzu’s Teahouse

October 27, 2023 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Madame Zuzu's Teahouse
1876 1st St
Highland Park, IL 60035
Funnier By The Lake Comedy


Funnier By The Lake Comedy brings to Highland Park the highly acclaimed “World’s Greatest Dad(?)” from North Shore native and Second City and Annoyance Theatre alum, Jimmy Carrane. Celebrate the joys and pitfalls of being a father and having a father with Jimmy Carrane’s hit one-person show, “World’s Greatest Dad(?),” playing at Madame Zuzu’s in Highland Park on October 27, 2023.

About the show

After opening at Second City’s Training Center to almost sold-out crowds in 2019 Carrane — a long-time improviser, actor and storyteller in Chicago – has also performed his show at The Elgin Fringe Festival and the Solo Sunday storytelling series.

In “World’s Greatest Dad(?)”, Jimmy talks about starting out in improv in the 1990s with many people who ended up becoming famous – Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Tim Meadows and Andy Dick. But despite improvising alongside so many future stars, Jimmy never becomes famous himself, and that feeling of being left behind turns into bitterness and self-loathing, which eventually lands him in therapy in his early 40s.

Ten years into therapy, Jimmy is still depressed about his career, so his therapist suggests that Jimmy and his wife have a baby to bring more joy into their life – which launches him on a journey of fertility treatments in a quest to become a dad at age 52.

He also talks about his complicated relationship with his own dad, who was a workaholic lawyer and real estate developer who was convicted of embezzlement and spent 33 months in federal prison. As Jimmy puts it, “This did nothing to improve the father/son relationship.”

After his father dies, Jimmy has a dramatic confrontation with his family at his father’s funeral that results in the Winnetka police being called to the church.

Through it all, Jimmy takes us on a funny and poignant roller coaster of life and death and shares his discovery that you don’t have to be the “greatest” to be a good dad.

The Chicago Reader called Jimmy “bracingly honest” and said his new show goes from “making us laugh out loud… with a witty quip, and then moving us again with another of life’s bitter truths.”

Carrane is no stranger to putting his life experiences up on stage. His first one-person show, “I’m 27, I Still Live at Home, and I Sell Office Supplies,” was a runaway hit, opening at the Annoyance Theater in 1991 and running for more than a year-and-a-half. Since then, Carrane has written other one-person shows including “Since We Last Talked,” “Dog Tales,” and “Living in a Dwarf’s House,” which was one of the Chicago Tribune’s Top 10 Shows of the year in 2001

About Jimmy Carrane

Jimmy Carrane

Jimmy Carrane

Raised on the North Shore in Kenilworth, IL, Jimmy Carrane learned at a young age that fat kids in big families are required to be funny.

After studying at Second City in his late teens, he went on to perform with some of the biggest names in comedy, including Mike Myers, David Koechner, Tim Meadows, Andy Richter and more. An original member of The Annoyance Theater and Armando at The IO-Chicago, Jimmy wrote and starred in several acclaimed one-man shows including “I’m 27, I Still Live at Home and I Sell Office Supplies” and “Living in a Dwarf’s House,” and also performed in groundbreaking shows such as “Godshow” and “Naked” with MadTV’s Stephanie Weir.

Today, Jimmy lives in Evanston, IL, with his wife and daughter and is a renowned and respected improv teacher, having taught at The Second City, IO-Chicago, The Annoyance, Victory Gardens and other locations for more than 25 years. He is the co-author of the book Improvising Better: A Guide to the Working Improviser and author of Improv Therapy.

He may be best known to some Chicago audiences from his seven years as host of Studio 312 on Chicago Public Radio, a show-within-a-show on WBEZ’s 848, where he interviewed celebrities including Conan O’Brien, Cindy Crawford and Jeff Garlin.

His film and TV credits include “The Playboy Club,” “Public Enemies” with Johnny Depp, “ER,” “Natural Born Killers,” “Early Edition,” “The Untouchables,” “Stash” and “Tapioca.”

Later, Carrane gained notoriety as the host of the popular podcast Improv Nerd, where he has interviewed some of the biggest names in comedy, including Key & Peele, Broad City, Bob Odenkirk, Adam McKay, Jon Favreau, Rachel Dratch, Tim Meadows, Cecily Strong, Mike Birbiglia, and more. http://jimmycarrane.com/improv-nerd-podcast/

About Madame Zuzu’s

Madame Zuzu’s is a local plant-based teashop in Highland Park, Illinois, owned and operated by musician Billy Corgan, founder of the grammy-winning Smashing Pumpkins, and fashion designer Chloe Mendel. Madame Zuzu’s combines insanely delicious plant-based foods, rare teas of the world, and an open source venue for the arts.


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