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Mary was the glue to All Jokes Aside, which is why she has been able to recreate the whole movement,” said Bob Sumner, founder of Showtime’s “Laff Mobb Presents” and the original producer of HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam.”

After her first foray into comedy, Lindsey changed courses by opening a residential cleaning service.

“I have a passion for cleaning,” says Lindsey. “If I’ve had a hard day, I come home and clean.”

When her zeal for that business faded, she decided to look for a new venture. She kept bumping into comics, making her think again about comedy. Finally, a former Chicago alderman persuaded Lindsey to support re-gentrification efforts in the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood by opening a new club. The club is in a historic arts enclave amid a mash-up of hair salons and clothing stores.

Praw said he couldn’t think of anyone else in comedy _ “black or white, male or female” _ who has accomplished what Lindsey has.

“Many clubs owners go out of their way to make sure that they give three extra people a drink at night,” he said. “But few make sure that they give three extra people an opportunity that night.”