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Our Favorite Funny People from the Windy City

Alongside New York, Los Angeles and Boston, Chicago is one of the biggest comedy cities in the world. As the birthplace of Second City, it is the epicenter of sketch and improv comedy and has produced countless comedy stars. Even a number of hugely successful comedians who weren't born or raised in Chicago -- names like Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Tina Fey -- spent formative years there performing on the Second City stage. Here are some of Chicago's funniest comedians.


1. Bill Murray


One of nine kids, Bill Murray was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. Like a lot of the comedians on this list, he came up through Second City before leaving to work for National Lampoon and eventually Saturday Night Live. Huge Hollywood success followed soon after. Murray is still a fixture in Chicago and regularly attends sports events in the Windy City.
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2. John Mulaney


Chicagoan John Mulaney became one of the best and most promising comedians of the 2000s thanks to two Comedy Central specials, The Top Part in 2009 and New in Town in 2012. He would eventually move to New York to perform stand-up, where he became a successful writer at Saturday Night Live and eventually landed his own short-lived sitcom, Mulaney, at FOX.More »


3. Bob Odenkirk


Comedian and actor Bob Odenkirk was born and raised in Naperville, Illinois, and came up doing comedy through Second City (where he shared a stage with Robert Smigel and Chris Farley). Alongside David Cross, he would go on to co-create and star on Mr. Show with Bob and David, still the best sketch comedy show of the '90s. Odenkirk is more recognized for his dramatic work on AMC's Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul now, but there is no overstating his contribution to comedy.More »


4. Hannibal Buress


Hannibal Buress is a totally original voice in stand-up. From his comedy beginnings in the clubs of Chicago (where he was born and raised) to his stints writing for both SNL and 30 Rock, Buress has been making a name for himself. He released two albums, Hi My Name is Hannibal in 2010 and Animal Furnace in 2012 before taping his third stand-up special, 2014's Hannibal Buress Live in Chicago, in his home town.More »


5. Bonnie Hunt


Comedian, actress and former talk show host Bonnie Hunt is a devoted Chicagoan, having been born and raised there and working as a nurse at a city hospital before getting her break in comedy. Hunt was a member of Second City in the late '80s, which eventually led to roles in huge movies like Rain Man opposite Tom Cruise and Jumanji opposite Robin Williams (who, incidentally, was also born in Chicago). When Hunt directed her first movie in 2000, the romantic comedy Return to Me, she made sure to do it in her home town.


6. Jeff Garlin


Jeff Garlin was born and raised outside of Chicago in Morton Grove, Illinois, until moving to Florida in sixth grade. He returned to Chicago in the '80s to perform at Second City and the rest is comedy history. The stand-up, author and actor spent years as star of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm and found sitcom success a second time on ABC's The Goldbergs. His directorial debut, 2007's I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, was filmed in Chicago and starred Sarah Silverman and fellow Chicagoan Bonnie Hunt.More »


7. Redd Foxx


The legendary Redd Foxx (born Jon Elroy Sanford) was raised on the South Side of Chicago, where he became so well known he was dubbed by none other than Malcolm Little (aka Malcolm X) as "Chicago Red." He would eventually leave the city and move out to Los Angeles to perform his nightclub act before finding television success on Sanford and Son. Foxx's raunchy act influenced an entire generation of comics, most notably Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, who all teamed up on screen in Harlem Nights.More »


8. T.J. Miller


TJ Miller was born and grew up in Denver, Colorado, where he performed comedy for a few years before moving to Chicago. That's when his stand-up career really took off. He performed stand-up regularly alongside the likes of fellow Chicagoans Hannibal Buress, John Mulaney and, at the time, Pete Holmes. With some major movie credits and a starring role on HBO's Silicon Valley, Miller has become a big star since his time in Chicago.More »


9. Melissa McCarthy


Hailing from Plainfield, Illinois, Melissa McCarthy has become one of the biggest movie stars in the world in the 2000s thanks to turns in blockbuster comedies like Bridesmaids and The Heat. Though Chicago gave her her start, she made her comedy bones as a member of The Groundlings in Los Angeles before breaking into TV (Gilmore GirlsSamantha Who?) and eventually film.More »


10. Kyle Kinane


Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Kyle Kinane is now a fixture on the comedy scene doing what would have once been called "alternative comedy" but is now just called "comedy." His first stand-up album, Death of the Party, was among the best stand-up albums of 2010. These days he's probably best known as the voice of Comedy Central, performing all of their commercials on TV and radio.
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