Q&A with local comedian John DaCosse about being relatable, comedy in a Covid world, and feeling the adrenaline from a sold-out show at Zanies
By Trent Modglin
Q: What do you like best about a comic’s life in Chicago and Rosemont?
A: Chicago is the heart of the Midwest, and being in the middle, we get to experience everyone that comes to visit from around the globe without the attitude and the self absorption of New York or Los Angeles. As a comedian, it also helps when you go out of town to perform to be much more relatable to the people we are doing shows for across the country.
The Rosemont entertainment district has become the template for comedy clubs everywhere, where you can park, choose several places to have a meal or drinks, shop and enjoy a night out with a variety of first-class entertainment.
Q: What inspired you to get into comedy?
A: For me, it has really come full circle. I started back in 1982 at the Comedy Cottage in Rosemont, and 40 years later, I am still trying to make people laugh less than a mile away at Zanies. I graduated from college with a degree in theater but found that being funny and doing comedies was all I really cared about. And for the last 35 years, I have been making a living as a full-time, traveling, coast-to-coast comedian.
Q: What are some of your favorite local spots to go for dinner and drinks?
A: My wife and I love to go to Mr A’s in Roselle for breakfast or Asti’s Deli in Wood Dale for a quick bite (best soup ever!!). Cucina Bella in downtown Algonquin or the Boston Fish Market in Des Plaines. And for a special treat,
Alinea in the city.
Q: Who are the funniest people in your world?
A: The truth is, whoever makes you laugh! For me it’s Dave Chappelle and Brian Regan, as well as Kathleen Madigan. And locally, Mike Toomey, Jim Flannigan and Chicago’s very own Pat McGann.
Q: How would you say comedy has changed during Covid?
A: Comedy always does better when things are bad — it’s when people need to laugh the most. For the comics, it’s a time when we really start to think how much we love to perform because we had to stop for such a long time. And the people who are coming out to see live shows are some of the best audiences we have had in years because they are making the effort to come out… and not take for granted it’s just another show. It’s their moment too.
I have had the pleasure of performing sold-out shows at Zanies, and the best way to explain it is when you are hitting all the right buttons, the energy is passed from the crowd directly to you like a wave of adrenaline.
Q: Describe the feeling of being in a packed house on stage at Zanies.
A: Zanies is the Chicago comedy club!! it started here in 1978 and is our very own club. The Zanies on Wells downtown is an intimate club that works great for standup, and the Zanies in Rosemont was built to be a comedy club and is one of the best places to perform and watch stand-up comedy.
I have had the pleasure of performing sold-out shows at Zanies, and the best way to explain it is when you are performing and you are hitting all the right buttons, the energy is passed from the crowd directly to you like a wave of adrenaline. And the massive amount of confidence that you have has to be how Michael Jordan, LeBron or Steph Curry feel when they cannot miss!
Q: Finish this sentence: Life as a comedian can be…
A: The best choice you ever made, and you know you are doing what you were destined to do this week, while the next week it can go to: “Why did I ever think I was funny?”
People always give you way too much credit or way too little. But as time goes on, you stop worrying about the ups and downs and you just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Zanies Comedy Clubs are located at 5437 Park Place in Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park and at 1548 N. Wells Street in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood. Visit Zanies.com for calendar and ticket information.