“An Evening with Kale and Komedy” at the Amazing Kale Burger


Regina M. Torres, Writer

The Amazing Kale Burger on Howard St. in Evanston offers more than just delicious vegan cuisine. They also have a venue every month called “An Evening with Kale and Komedy ”where queer identifying and non-queer identifying people can come together to enjoy a roster of queer-friendly comedians from the Chicagoland area.

It began its tradition over a year ago, giving an inclusive platform to the queer and queer-friendly comedy world by hosting a monthly comedy showcase. The brainstorming host of this ongoing comedy event is Chicago’s Rad Turkin, who is active in the local comedy scenes across Chicago. Leading the show, Rad started off with a set that hit topics such as social awkwardness and mathematics. Yes, math. Rad happens to also be a math teacher, so math jokes play into his set.

Comedy has always been a part of Turkin’s life; he liked writing jokes. He uses his jokes to help “alleviate some of what’s going on right now” and try to “find the humor in it somewhere.”

When asked why he picked The Amazing Kale Burger as his venue, he said Brandon was a friend of his. Turkin suggested to Brandon to use the stage in his restaurant for comedy shows.

“I was looking for more inclusive spaces for people that want to be around comedians that are not just talking about women’s bodies,” Turkin said. “For people that like comedy but don’t want to be offended or unsurprised by it.”

After Turkin, the audience was treated to the varying subject matters and stylizations of four other unique comedians: Sonal Aggarwal, Marla Depew, Erin Grotheer and Scott Duff.

Sonal Aggarwal offered energetic jokes on her non-native family’s interactions and living in a mostly heterosexual world where other lifestyles are often not understood or even accepted. According to her bio on the Kale and Komedy Facebook page, Aggarwal is a “world traveling performer and mischief maker.” She grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, but decided to travel and ended up living in India as an artist by 2015 until a motorcycle accident brought her back home to Chicagoland.

Marla Depew is very active all over the country as well as busy writing and producing for other comedic events. Her bio states that “she performed at venues and festivals throughout the Midwest, Los Angeles and New York” such as Laugh Factory, Zanies and Gilda’s Laughfest. She graduated from the Second City Training Center’s writing program and produces the showcase “Laughs in the Lounge.” Depew co-produces “Just Dickin’ Around,” a women/queer-friendly comedy collective.

Erin Grotheer used a good deal of physical comedy (such as exaggerated twisted up facial gestures and crossed eyes ) to help convey the uncomfortability felt as a woman receiving unwanted sexual advances by heterosexual males. Grotheer is also a producer, actor and writer. Her bio states that her “comedic style gravitates towards the strange.” She is founder and producer of Andorka’s Comedy Revue in Pilsen, and a cast member of 100 Proof Comedy at the ComedySportz Theatre.

Lastly, according to his bio, Scott Duff  is “a Chicago-based actor, comedian, radio host and professional gay.” You can find him acting in top-notch theater venues such as Steppenwolf, the Goodman, Lookingglass Theatre, as well as appearing in independent films. Besides being host/producer of the Laugh Factory’s “Kiki: Queer Comedy with Variety,” every Sunday Duff hosts OUT CHICAGO, a live LGBT talk show on WCPT. Scott brought attention to the fact that he is a cisgender individual and how this can translate into awkward social situations since he is also an identifying homosexual white male. To explain: cisgender is a newer term for persons whose gender identity matches up with the sex assigned to them at birth.

An Evening with Kale and Komedy occurs the second Friday of every month from 7pm and finishes up by no later than 9pm when the kitchen closes. For those interested in a free and friendly queer comedy event, please visit the Kale and Komedy page on Facebook for current listings and information. The Amazing Kale Burger is located at 741 Howard Street, Evanston, IL 60202. They have wholesome, vegan foods like made-from-scratch kale burgers. “Beetsup” instead of traditional ketchup is also available, and scrumptious cruelty free cakes and cookies.

*Updated: Feb. 22 at 5:14 p.m*