1978: In November, Zanies on Wells Street opens. Featured comedians Jim Fay, The Original Comedy Rangers, Larry Rand and Phil Bufka (later to be known as EMO PHILIPS) are part of the first show. Since then Zanies in Chicago has hosted thousands of comedy shows and is now the fourth oldest comedy club in the United States.
1980: Zanies in Chicago starts to move away from its showcase format with musical and variety acts to an all standup comedy format featuring headline talent.
1982: Zanies begins to introduce Chicago to national touring comedians and has JOHN FOX for New Year’s Eve.
Owner Rick Uchwat becomes a trend setter:
Pays comedians a weekly salary rather than just a show fee.
Hangs original artwork in the club featuring Bizartist Bob Fisher.
Uses mannequins in the audience to “fill the house” during recession slowed performances.
1983: JAY LENO makes his first Zanies appearance in Chicago during the Fourth of July weekend. Later that year will bring Jerry Seinfeld, Yakov Smirnoff and Richard Lewis to Zanies.
October 1983: Zanies opens its second location in Nashville, Tennessee and the southern club grows into one of the top comedy clubs in the country.
1986: Rick Uchwat decides “this funny kid from Florida” should be working at Zanies and hires JEFF GARLIN as house M.C.
1987: Zanies opens in the Northwest suburbs with a new club in Mt. Prospect. This club stays open until 1996.
1989: Zanies becomes part of the Pheasant Run Resort and brings national comedy headliners to St. Charles. The comedy club in a barn is still going strong – now open 27 years.
1992: The North Shore finally receives first class comedy when Zanies opens in Vernon Hill – a beautiful room that stayed open for 19 years.
2012: Zanies in Rosemont opens and becomes one of the original tenants in The MB Financial Park/Entertainment District. Considered the best comedy club in the country, Zanies/Rosemont continues with the Zanies tradition of presenting the best in standup comedy in an intimate environment.