Gelsosomo’s in Lemont offers great food and hilarious comedy shows
There are not a lot of comedy clubs in Chicago’s Southwest Suburbs but two stand out you should visit, Riddles in Alsip and Gelsosomo’s in Lemont. Riddles offers the traditional award winning comedy experience while Gelsosomo’s offers a mix that includes music entertainment, great Italian food and phenomenal standup comedy acts.
By Ray Hanania
There are not a lot of standup comedy clubs out in the Southwest Suburbs, and I am not sure why. Riddles, which used to be located in Orland Park, is now out in Alsip and offers a great lineup of national and regional comedy stars.
That’s where I started my own Palestinian-married-to-a-Jew standup comedy performances, after comedian and activist Jackie Mason refused to appear on stage with me at Zanies back in 2002 because his wife and manager explained he didn’t know that I am “Palestinian.”
Riddles Comedy Clubhas great shows at their new location including a performance by local Palestinian comedian Nasr “Abu Ali” Owaynat. Owaynat is hilarious and he will be performing at Riddles on Jan. 10. Check Riddles out. It’s worth it and offers the full comedy club experience.
But there is also another comedy club out in the Southwest Suburbs, Gelsosomo’s Pizzeriaout in Lemont. They definitely have a great Italian food menu but they only book comedy shows once each month, usually on Friday. The next shows are Saturday, Jan. 19, Friday February 1, and Friday March 1, starting at 9 pm. Get there by 7 pm and enjoy dinner beforehand.
Gelsosomo’s is part of a national franchise. The Lemont location opened at 206 Main Street by owner’s Ed and Peggy Gricus back in 2014. It has a real pleasant family-style atmosphere a restaurant in the back with a stage, and a bar in the front. The place is always hopping.
Comedy show’s are in the back with a good stage, lighting and sound system so you won’t miss a joke.
I went there for New Year’s Eve with my wife and enjoyed dinner followed by comedy performances by Amy Shanker, Paul Farahvar and Ken Garr. Shanker was hilarious, from New York, joking about all kinds of subjects including her Jewish background. Farahvar is Iranian American and goes into the humorous experiences people who look like terrorists — as I do — go through every day. Farahvar’s comedy wasn’t so much Middle Eastern as it was about the funny stuff that happens to new ethnic groups in this country. Nothing offensive. I promise you won’t want to turn him in to the Feds. You’ll be laughing too hard
The headliner was well known standup comedian an actor Ken Garr. Garr does comedy all over the country with some TV series drop-ins and roles in a few films, including in “Love Meets Hope” (2016) starring Ed Asner. He just returned from a tour entertaining the troops in Iraq.
Dinner at Gelsosomo’s was served before the comedy show while talented guitarist Pete Stillwell entertained with a wide variety of music including from the Rolling Stones. Stillwell is a great guitar soloist and has a lot of the songs and singing down perfectly. The acoustics in the back area are very good.
Gelsosomo’s is best known for their pizza but I enjoyed a half-slab of ribs, which was very hot and tasty. I’m going back for the pizza next time and for the new comedy performances.
Both clubs are real convenient, Riddles offering drinks and laughs in the traditional comedy environment, and Gelsosomo’s offering comedy and great food in a family environment.
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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