Sketchfest '05: From Sketch Brilliance to Sketchy
By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 5, 2006 10:59PM
Railing against winter depression, working hard for the belly laughs, imbibing enough to make their Second City forbearers proud, legions of talented performers and commendable administrators take over Theatre Building Chicago tonight through January 15 for the 5th Annual Chicago Sketchfest. Squeezing ninety troupes over eight nights, the festival boasts one of the most impressive lineups outside Aspen. They’re savvy enough to host tonight’s League of Chicago Theaters’ Theater Thursday event, featuring pre-show beer and appetizers at an area restaurant and mingling with the performers. Click here for tonight’s ticket info (just promise you’ll come back, ok?).
Sketchfest has its interactive side, offering classes aimed at prospective Onion staffers, Comedy Central actors, or Sketch Fest performers. Generous sponsorships keep classes reasonably priced but high demand could shut you out if you wait too long. The Sketchfest website provides a helpful calendar but wisely remains neutral lest any funny fella’s feelings are hurt. We on the other hand poked around the internets and asked festival organizers for some recommendations. We laugh… to help you make up your mind.
The Ones to Watch
Thursday 1/12 @ 8pm (with the Backrow)
Resembling a really funny episode of The Twilight Zone, they mine the inner psyche for its vast comic potential. The videos on their site are pretty cool too.
Friday 1/6 and Saturday 1/7 @ 10pm
A sublime marriage of oddball cleverness (or clever oddity) that plays like a low-rent Kids in the Hall. Familiar enough to be endearing, original enough to be memorable, and resourceful enough to podcast, Elephant Larry has their shit together.
Saturday, 1/7 @ 7pm
We haven’t yet seen this mercurial duo, but Al Franken and Eddie Izzard have and endorse them highly.
Harvard Sailing Team
Friday & Saturday, 1/13 & 1/14 @ 10pm
Clean cut, upbeat NYC comic troupe not actually connected to the Ivy League presents topical humor for all. Their material is the stuff of better than average sitcoms. Sample it at their site, we particularly liked “Audience Participation.”
Sketchfest brings the funny to Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W Belmont Ave, tonight through January 15.
Tommorrow we bring you Part 2, a look at the veterans and unusual performances.