Let me be the first to say Ever Mainard is going to be the next big thing to come out of Chicago’s historic comedy scene. Truth is, I’m not the first and I certainly won’t be last as she’s already been named among Chicago’s top 100 comics, Seven Acts to Watch and one of The Most Influential Women in Chicago Comedy by Chicago magazine, Chicago’s Redeye and Gaper’s Block respectively. As one of the most dynamic and savvy comics in Chicago, Ever’s comedic momentum makes her one of the hardest working, with an impressively busy schedule that finds her working by day, and doing stand-up seven nights a week. It’s a wonder she has time to write and audition after landing her first agent, but she does that too and so much more.
As a Texas native, Ever fondly remembers watching The Carol Burnett Show, SNL and MAD TV. When she turned 18, she started performing improv at the only comedy club in Temple, Texas. At the age of 21, she moved to Chicago to pursue comedy. Before long she was accepted into Second City’s conservatory program, found herself doing improv along side then-unknown SNL darling Cecily Strong and was handpicked to open for Maria Bamford.
Captivatingly funny and charming, Ever’s personality translates onstage in the form of absurd personal stories and quirky anecdotes. She is able to fluidly interact with the audience and is possibly most well-known for her ability to touch on social criticism with experience and tact. In-between relaying stories of gynecological exams going awry and her upbringing in Texas, she is deftly able to break taboos and relate to an audience.
“The thing that is so great about comedy,” Ever said, “is that you can have complete different beliefs from someone, but comedy can make you go ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve totally been there. Sometimes I play in small towns or other places where I hope that the audience can get past my sexuality and mega mullet and when they do, its great, but sometimes in very conservative rooms, it does get tough. Ladies!”
But it’s her comedic entrepreneurial spirit that makes her so unique, as well as her drive to be collaborative in a highly individualistic line of work. Ever started Comedy Cares, a non-profit fundraising organization that that uses comedy as a source of revenue for programs/individuals in need of help. Her unmatched energy also landed her a spot on the esteemed Chicago Underground Comedy cast and is the fuel for her own monthly comedy showcase, The Shit Show. The Shit Show is celebrating it’s first anniversary this month, a huge milestone after it’s days as one of Chicago’s favorite open mic nights.
“We started this as an open mic for three years,” Ever said. “One day we went up stairs and the bar hadn’t cleaned up from a party that happened over the weekend. The place looked like a real shit show and that’s how it started. Since then we try and have a comedy party every show that we put on. We try and pack the room as much as possible and get a killer line-up of positive people. We have a grown man in a hot dog suit that passes out free Fireball Whisky. So, its not like you’re going to a show, you’re going to a comedy party!”
The show is just that, a riotous evening of phenomenal talent, big laughs and free shots. It’s also one of the most diverse and inclusive nights in the city where big names are known to casually drop by to perform. Comedy fans will experience a night of goodhearted laughs, where they will be taken care of by gracious hosts and walk out with party favors and a Chrome bag full of whiskey.
Ever has also started teaching comedy, creating a class called Get Riffed. “I wanted to help people get comfortable on stage and comfortable with their bodies,” said Ever. Truth is, comics like Ever are the reason the comic scene is seeing more ladies taking the mic. “There isn’t necessarily a limited amount of space as there are ladies,” Ever said. “The numbers of gals going to open mics is up, but its still predominantly male. It’s just a matter of going out, being seen, and being the best. It does get competitive, but that doesn’t mean it gets nasty. It’s nice to have a challenge because then you get to grow.”
It’s no secret that Chicago is known for comedy, and is full of insanely talented people performing any night of the week. Ever’s professionalism and fearlessness have helped her successfully make a name for herself while at the same time keeping a level head in regards to her burgeoning career and local fame.
“This town will let you do whatever weird shit you want to do and grow that character or show until its the best that it is, “ Ever said. “Chicago is amazing and the amount of talented people here is nuts. Every now and then a jealous comic will get nasty with remarks on Twitter like ‘the only reason why they are getting booked is because of their haircuts and the fact that they are gay.’ But its just a simple fact that gay ladies with trendy haircuts are funnier! Duh! Just jokes. Sometimes it gets gross out at open mics and certain shows where the comedy is gay bashing or lady bashing, but if you can bounce back and turn that around on stage, its worth it.”
What’s next? Aside from regular stints with Chicago Underground Comedy and The Shit Show, Ever will be in Los Angeles in early June to perform a number of shows including Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen and The Business Los Angeles. She’ll also be taking The Shit Show to the Just for Laughs festival in Chicago, auditioning for Just For Laughs Montreal and hosting popular Pride event, Back Lot Bash with her girlfriend and fellow comic Caitlin Bergh.
“Ladiesssszz! Whats up! I’ve been working on my biceps for this show and glossing up my mane,” Ever said. “I love performing in front of lesbians. Ladies!”
The Shit Show comedy showcase is held the last Friday of every month at 8 p.m. Ever is also a cast member of Chicago Underground Comedy and can be seen at the Beat Kitchen on Tuesday nights at 2100 W. Belmont in Chicago.