April 9, 2016

Special Saturday night event: Back of the Party with Dave Maher, featuring David Drake. 8:00 p.m. Free, BYOB.  

Back of the Party is intimate public conversations with comedians and other artists about art, work and life, hosted by comedian Dave Maher (pictured) and recorded for a monthly podcast with live shows at Transistor the second Saturday of every month. Every Back of the Party show features two guests, each of whom starts the show with a performance before they both sit down for a free-flowing conversation with Dave. The performances are only for the live crowd, and the conversation becomes the podcast.

Back of the Party's guest for April is comedian David Drake.


Dave Maher once choke-laughed watching a David Drake bit, which is the highest echelon of laughter. Drake writes sharp jokes and stories that, when combined with his natural energy and likability, allow him to just clobber audiences across Chicago and the country with his comedy. Over the past few years, he has ascended the ranks of Chicago stand-up, headlining independent shows, appearing as a regular at the Laugh Factory, and last year releasing his debut album "Dave," all while co-hosting one of the best open mics in the city (Three Dead Moose) every Sunday. That open mic was one of Maher's first, several years ago. On this month's Back of the Party, Maher will talk to Drake about doing comedy, life changes, and recording the album that includes that masterful choke-laugh-inducing bit ("Bananas," the third track on "Dave").


March 12, 2016
Back of the Party's guest for March was Mike Brunlieb.

Mike Brunlieb is the best improviser in Chicago, full stop. As a member of the improv group Sand, for years he has been a hero in the city's independent improv scene, where shows are often performed in bars and makeshift theater spaces. More recently, recognition of his talents has spread to the established comedy theaters. Whether he's improvising in sets at iO, acting in sketch shows or plays at the Annoyance Theatre, or appearing on screen in various film and video projects, Brunlieb brings to each moment a raging heart, a perverse-but-grounded intensity, a demented sweetness that is undeniable.

February 13, 2016
Back of the Party's guests for February were Bianca Diaz and Gabe Liebowitz.

Bianca Diaz is an illustrator and artist whose work shows a commitment to social justice. She is an alumna of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design and recently earned a Master of Arts degree in Creative Process from Uversity in Ireland. Her art is infused with the culture of her upbringing in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, and she has recently turned her eye toward making work that deals with issues of incarceration because, as she says, "I want to understand the roots of violence and harm [...] to understand how to grow justice and peace." She recently completed a comic for young people with incarcerated loved
ones titled "The Princess Who Went Quiet."

Gabe Liebowitz is a songwriter, singer, musician and producer who is active in both the Chicago music and comedy scenes. He appears regularly at popular variety show Paper Machete, has booked and performed on local-songwriter showcases around the city and regularly produces records for other artists. He is a go-to for comedians looking to add music to their shows and was a particular favorite on the recently-departed-for-L.A. Puterbaugh Sisters' "Entertaining Julia" show. Last year, his band Dastardly released their long-awaited album "The Hollow," and he is now a solo artist.

Diaz and Leibowitz have never met each other, but they are both good friends of Back of the Party host Dave Maher. This show will give them and an audience the opportunity to find revelation and mystery in the ways in which their acts juxtapose and jibe.

About Dave
Raised in Oklahoma and Cincinnati, Dave Maher is a Chicagoan of a dozen years and as many apartments. He started acting and improvising comedy around the city in 2008, until he transcended improv and realized that stand-up is where his brand of loose, conversational honesty fits best. Fresh off the sold-out success of his debut one-man show about the coma he suffered in 2014 ('Dave Maher Coma Show,' now in an extended run at the Annoyance Theatre on Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. through February 24th), he produces and hosts Back of the Party at Transistor on the second Saturday of every month.

Watch this excerpt from the inaugural Back of the Party: