About

The Chicago Women's Funny Festival gathers writers, performers, and comedy lovers together to create and celebrate in the comedy capital of the world.

Chicago Women's Funny Festival was founded in 2012 when producers Jill Valentine and Liz McArthur wanted to build a comedy festival where women could come together and celebrate all forms of comedy under one roof.

The first festival boasted 66 shows and 400 performers in five days. Women's Fest also hosted events throughout the week where women from across the country could come together, network and more importantly, see each other's work. The response from comedians and audience members was overwhelmingly positive – which is why the festival is coming back for a sixth year.

Today the CWFF involves all genders, all forms of comedy (anything from stand-up, sketch, improv, burlesque, musical-comedy, and much much more), all celebrating #WomenInComedy.

 

LEADERSHIP

JILL VALENTINE Executive Producer Jill Valentine is a South Side Chicago native who has worked as an actor, writer, improvisor and sketch comedian all over town. You may have seen Jill with The Cupid Players Chicago's premier musical sketch comedy group, with The Deltones IO’s musical improv group, Feminine Gentlemen a 2 person comedy group with her pal Liz McArthur or with her burlesque parody sketch comedy group Off Off Broadzway. Some other recent credits are Barbra in Musical of the Living Dead (Voted Best Musical by the Chicago Reader). Jill is the Executive Director of The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival and the Executive Producer of the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival. Jill works as the Director of Theater Management for Stage 773 and is a principal founder of the building.

JILL VALENTINE
Executive Producer

Jill Valentine is a South Side Chicago native who has worked as an actor, writer, improvisor and sketch comedian all over town. You may have seen Jill with The Cupid Players Chicago's premier musical sketch comedy group, with The Deltones IO’s musical improv group, Feminine Gentlemen a 2 person comedy group with her pal Liz McArthur or with her burlesque parody sketch comedy group Off Off Broadzway. Some other recent credits are Barbra in Musical of the Living Dead (Voted Best Musical by the Chicago Reader). Jill is the Executive Director of The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival and the Executive Producer of the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival. Jill works as the Director of Theater Management for Stage 773 and is a principal founder of the building.

LIZ MCARTHUR Producer Liz McArthur was born, raised and then set free from St. Louis to attend Columbia College Chicago. Since graduating a million years ago, Liz has been writing / performing / improving / stand-uping / sketch comedying all over the place. If you have a time machine, you can see Liz hosting SMUSH open mic or performing with OneTwoThree Comedy or Sassafras productions. More recently you may have seen her as Judy/Karen in the new hit musical comedy Musical of the Living Dead or performing with Bye Bye Liver: The Chicago Drinking Play. Liz also performs with her friend Mr. Jill Valentine in the sketch group Feminine Gentlemen.

LIZ MCARTHUR
Producer

Liz McArthur was born, raised and then set free from St. Louis to attend Columbia College Chicago. Since graduating a million years ago, Liz has been writing / performing / improving / stand-uping / sketch comedying all over the place. If you have a time machine, you can see Liz hosting SMUSH open mic or performing with OneTwoThree Comedy or Sassafras productions. More recently you may have seen her as Judy/Karen in the new hit musical comedy Musical of the Living Dead or performing with Bye Bye Liver: The Chicago Drinking Play. Liz also performs with her friend Mr. Jill Valentine in the sketch group Feminine Gentlemen.

MANDY WHITENACK Associate Producer Mandy Whitenack has lived in Chicago for the last 15 years. She is a massage therapist farm girl from Portland, IN and has been doing sketch comedy for the last 10 years with The Cupid Players. Her most current projects include Helen in Musical of the Living Dead, Salazar/Oatsie in Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and her hot sketch burlesque parody group Off Off Broadzway. When Mandy is not on stage you can find her sashaying in many local karaoke bars with a martini in hand of course! She would like to thank her family and friends for all their support! Rock on!!

MANDY WHITENACK
Associate Producer

Mandy Whitenack has lived in Chicago for the last 15 years. She is a massage therapist farm girl from Portland, IN and has been doing sketch comedy for the last 10 years with The Cupid Players. Her most current projects include Helen in Musical of the Living Dead, Salazar/Oatsie in Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and her hot sketch burlesque parody group Off Off Broadzway. When Mandy is not on stage you can find her sashaying in many local karaoke bars with a martini in hand of course! She would like to thank her family and friends for all their support! Rock on!!

JONALD JUDE REYES Associate Producer Jonald Jude Reyes is a writer, performer, & Director from Chicago, IL. As a graduate of Rutgers University (NJ), he went on to learn from Second City, iO, Annoyance, and the Chicago Dramatists. He currently performs with Stir Friday Night and Dustin with a J. Jonald has performed in the Chicago Improv Festival, Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, and the Just for Laughs Festival. As a Director, Reyes has been honored to be named as Chicago Reader’s Best of Stage Director (2012, 2013, & 2014). He is also an Associate Producer for Chicago’s Sketch Comedy Festival (Stage 773), Chicago Women’s Funny Festival (Stage 773), and Musical Improv Festival (iO). Jonald was the Producer of the Chicago Improv Festival 2015. Tweet Jonald a funny pic because he likes that stuff (@jonaldjude).

JONALD JUDE REYES
Associate Producer

Jonald Jude Reyes is a writer, performer, & Director from Chicago, IL. As a graduate of Rutgers University (NJ), he went on to learn from Second City, iO, Annoyance, and the Chicago Dramatists. He currently performs with Stir Friday Night and Dustin with a J. Jonald has performed in the Chicago Improv Festival, Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, and the Just for Laughs Festival. As a Director, Reyes has been honored to be named as Chicago Reader’s Best of Stage Director (2012, 2013, & 2014). He is also an Associate Producer for Chicago’s Sketch Comedy Festival (Stage 773), Chicago Women’s Funny Festival (Stage 773), and Musical Improv Festival (iO). Jonald was the Producer of the Chicago Improv Festival 2015. Tweet Jonald a funny pic because he likes that stuff (@jonaldjude).

MOLLIE REHNER Associate Producer Mollie Rehner, known for her big characters and spunky personality, commands the stage with her rapping abilities, physical antics, and theatrical presentation. A producer for The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival and Chicago Women’s Funny Festival, Rehner also co-stars in her comedy duo Rehner & Nixon and makes people laugh all over the internet with her sketch and musical group Hard Candy. A former Late Night intern for Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon, Rehner now performs all over Chicago, and has taken her comedy to festivals all over the US. Mollie is represented by Stewart Talent.

MOLLIE REHNER
Associate Producer

Mollie Rehner, known for her big characters and spunky personality, commands the stage with her rapping abilities, physical antics, and theatrical presentation. A producer for The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival and Chicago Women’s Funny Festival, Rehner also co-stars in her comedy duo Rehner & Nixon and makes people laugh all over the internet with her sketch and musical group Hard Candy. A former Late Night intern for Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon, Rehner now performs all over Chicago, and has taken her comedy to festivals all over the US. Mollie is represented by Stewart Talent.

PAUL HUGHES Associate Producer Paul Hughes loves making connections and creating theatrical magic. Most recently he produced the sketch shows Prime Cuts and Ladies Night, written/performed by the vivacious duo Rehner & Nixon. A Des Moines, Iowa native, Paul is a graduate of the Second City's writing, improv, and producing programs who also holds a BBA in Finance from the University of Iowa. Growing up on a steady diet of musicals and Bette Midler, Paul was active both on and off stage with the Des Moines Playhouse. When not working to get butts in theater seats, he works to get teachers in schools as the Director of Talent Recruitment for the Noble Network of Charter Schools.

PAUL HUGHES
Associate Producer

Paul Hughes loves making connections and creating theatrical magic. Most recently he produced the sketch shows Prime Cuts and Ladies Night, written/performed by the vivacious duo Rehner & Nixon. A Des Moines, Iowa native, Paul is a graduate of the Second City's writing, improv, and producing programs who also holds a BBA in Finance from the University of Iowa. Growing up on a steady diet of musicals and Bette Midler, Paul was active both on and off stage with the Des Moines Playhouse. When not working to get butts in theater seats, he works to get teachers in schools as the Director of Talent Recruitment for the Noble Network of Charter Schools.


HISTORY (HERSTORY)

6th Annual CWFF: June 15-18, 2017

 
 

5th Annual CWFF: June 16-19, 2016

4th Annual CWFF: June 18-21, 2015
From the Executive Producer Jill Valentine:

I am giddy with excitement about this year’s festival. The Chicago Women’s Funny Festival showcases some of the best comedic talent from across the country. Every year we keep getting MORE applications, MORE talent, MORE press and MORE and MORE FUNNY. Want to know what gives me a lady boner? We are training MORE and MORE of us every year. MORE women comedians are taking stages all over the world. MORE women are teaching comedy classes and becoming mentors to young comedians. MORE of us are doing it and doing it better. While we get a week long comedy slumber party, take the time to reflect and to enjoy that. Support each other, mentor the younglings, learn from your peers, thank those that did it before you and do it better. Not looking so male dominated any more, eh?
Year 4 Bitches!!!

3rd Annual CWFF: June 5-8, 2014
From the Executive Producer Jill Valentine:

This year I am extremely proud to share the stage with so many brilliant, brave and hilarious women.
I reflect on what kind of people have empowered, supported and raised such women. I think about how I was raised.

This year has been a toughie for me because I lost my dad. I remember growing up he told me I could do anything. I believed him. He told me whatever you do make your own fun. I listened. He encouraged me to take the road less traveled and I did. You’ve taken that road less traveled. So this week let’s celebrate those who have supported our weird little comedy journey. Those people who are consistently in the audience supporting. Those that taught us that we could do anything.
This one’s for you dad.

Year 3 Bitches!!!

2nd Annual CWFF: June 6-10, 2013
From the Executive Producer Jill Valentine:

I look at the lineup of talent and I am instantly overwhelmed and proud. This week is about celebration. We do comedy because we have no choice. It’s inside of us. Celebrate that. Look at how many of us there are. Collectively we are so strong and in numbers we look pretty bad ass. Every year there are more and more of us rebels with a cardboard phone and random mustache in your purse. Celebrate that. Apparently, we are not funny. We have been told this over and over by overweight, has been, ignorant Adam Carollas. Celebrate that. See each other’s work this week. Support each other. Learn from each other. Get inspired by your peers. Get drunk and say yes to a project that scares the shit out of you. Collaborate. Celebrate. And laugh together.

Year 2 Bitches!!!

1st Annual CWFF: June 6-10, 2012
From the Executive Producer Jill Valentine:

I am so honored to have this many amazingly talented ladies under one roof this week. The response to this festival was overwhelming and all of us were amazed at the number of applications. I, like so many of you, have been doing this for a long time.

We are all a part of the weird funny girl club.
The class clown in a dress. Funnier than your uncle at the family table. Making friends with facial expression and punch lines. You bring the ridiculous realism to the feminine mystique.
Not only am I honored, I am empowered that I am standing next to hundreds of us's.

Let's do this bitches.