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The Toughest Man In Chicago


Mike Royko is undoubtedly one of best newspaper men Chicago ever produced. He was the voice of the working class. His favorite topics were the everyday people of the city, the bars and taverns, softball, and the corruption in City Hall.  A man who stood up to power with his pen.


This one man show written & performed by Mitchell Bisschop explores Mike Royko's life through his columns, books, interviews, stories, and tall tales about Chicago's most popular columnist.

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Mike Royko was a daily columnist and Chicago institution for 34 years. During his career, he amassed over 7,500 columns writing five columns a week for most of his career.  Everyday he spoke truth to power, advocated for the little guy, and exposed corruption. He could be charming, sweet, mean, angry, rude, and sometimes drunk. No one wrote more about the inner workings of a city and the working class people who made it run more than Mike Royko. Love him or hate him, he . This play moves us through Mike Royko’s life from a depression era bartender at age 13 to the toughest man in Chicago.

The Show

"Growing up in Chicago, I had always heard the name Mike Royko but never explored his writing. In 2020, I read his book, Boss, and spent all my time after that writing and researching for this show"

-writer & performer Mitchell Bisschop


Royko: The Toughest Man In Chicago explores the life of Mike Royko through his daily column, interviews, and stories told about him. He was one of the last of the newspaper men. He wrote about the city the way its people like to think of themselves: tough, cynical, humorous and with compassion for the little guy. Often Royko was taking shots at the city's politicians, he take some shots at the tavern too. He constantly was exposing racism, police corruption, gun violence, and battling the political Machine that ran the city for 50 years. He wrote with his fist clenched, and both barrels pointing right at his target.

Mitchell Bisschop

Mitchell Bisschop has been a theatre professional for over 20 years. As an actor, he has performed in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.  As a solo performer, he has won nominations and awards for his satirical voice, unique characters, and trippy visual video style.

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