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The next time your out-of-town visitors say they've always wanted to check out The Second City, take them to the famous improv theater's new second venue: UP Comedy Club, a plusher, more intimate space located a few floors above the main stage.

Since its mid-February opening, the cabaret-style club has been packing the house for its four main shows: The Second City's History of Chicago; The Second City's Improv All-Stars; Sex, Love and the Second City: A Romantic Dot Comedy; and the kid-oriented Improv Extravaganza Explosion.

We went for the stand-up comedy UP offers on Friday and Saturday nights, when big headliners command the stage and taking your seats early for a round of preshow cocktails seems like a weekend-worthy thing to do. (On deck tonight is Christopher Titus, a king of the dysfunctional-family genre.)

If you laugh hard enough to make yourself hungry, you can turn to UP's menu of classic Chicago fare (including Lou Malnati's pizza and Eli's cheesecake). But we suggest you hold out for a chic postshow dinner at Perennial Virant, our favorite Old Town spot just down the block: That's what we call a high-low kind of night.

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