Having found success in Chicago’s comedy clubs, AJ Lubecker wants to give back to the place where his standup routine found its first audience.
The 2012 Dundee-Crown High School graduate is raising money to buy books for his former school’s library, through an online effort and one last show before he heads to Los Angeles, where he hopes to continue his comedy career.
The 23-year-old Algonquin native has created a fundraising page at www.youcaring.com/openbooksfordc, looking to raise $2,500 for books for the Carpentersville school. He also plans to donate money raised at his show – “AJ’s Chicago Goodbye,” scheduled from 8 to 10:30 p.m. June 23 at The Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Tickets cost $10 at www.theplaygroundtheater.com.
“I just wanted to do something before I leave that could help people,” said Lubecker, who started performing standup in Chicago in 2009 at the age of 15. He’s the creator of two shows – C4 at The Playground and Funked UP at the Laugh Factory, both of which became staples in the Chicago standup scene.
A 2016 graduate of DePaul University, he’s partnered with Open Books, a nonprofit bookstore that supports literacy experiences in the Chicago area, for his fundraising effort. Using all of the money raised, he will buy books from Open Books and donate them to Dundee-Crown.
He targeted the school’s library after speaking with school officials about the need for books.
The school’s library averages 1.2 books a student, far less than other schools which average about 20 books a student, he said, and more than half of the student body comes from low-income families.
“I am a proud alum of Dundee-Crown and believe I’m a more well-rounded individual for having the opportunity to spend four years there with a diverse student body and passionate, hard-working teachers,” he wrote on his fundraising site. “The network that I built at DC has been extremely impactful on my post high school years, and I want to give back.”
Lubecker has shared the stage with numerous professional comedians, including Sarah Silverman, Kevin Nealon, TJ Miller and Hannibal Burress.
He credits comedians Brian Babylon and Chris Redd as his biggest influences.
He describes his routine as “offbeat, a little experimental, deadpan.”
“I’ve started to play music, and, when I do longer sets, it normally has some kind of magic along with the standup,” he said.
Being late-night, the show he typically performs isn’t family friendly, he said. “It’s definitely more of a party atmosphere,” he said. “I like to kind of say it’s an anything goes type of thing. I like playing music and doing different stunts and things.”
Having found success in Chicago and while visiting Los Angeles, he said he decided to make the permanent move to Los Angeles to pursue more opportunities.
“Hopefully, when I do come back I’m able to do even bigger events like this,” he said.