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Sketchfest Part Deux: From the Stage to the Desktop

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 6, 2006 2:50PM

Note: Part 1 of this series is here.

The Chicago Sketchfest brings some of the country’s finest comic troupes to town this weekend and next. Fitting really, since a mid-January Chicago vacation requires a hearty sense of humor. Yesterday, Chicagoist profiled a few up-and-comers but we didn’t want to leave out the veteran performers, the very backbone of the festival itself, and the uniquely wacky groups, the pickled liver of the festival itself. Many of them preview their work online, perfect for the more discriminating comedy shopper.

The Old Hands
Cupid Players
Friday 1/6 & 1/13 @ 11pm
They’re virtual residents of the IO Theatre, having spent over 30 months entertaining thousands with Cupid Has A Heart On, a thoughtful and hilarious look at modern relationships. They’ve performed Sketchfest every year since its inception, perhaps because the fest’s Executive Director Brian Posen is in the troupe.

busstop.jpgTrain of Thought
Sunday 1/8 at 5:30pm
This energetic trio tends towards the slightly surreal (very good) and overdramatized (not always so good) while evoking political and pop cultural signatures. ToT’s sketch comedy feels familiar until the straight man runs rampant, spewing ridiculous R-rated bon mots perfect for the age of The Aristocrats.

Sat 1/7 @ 9pm
A duo with one of the most impressive pedigrees among festival performers has knocked them dead at IO, IO West, The Playground Theater, Seattle Sketchfest, and Comedy Central. They are Mike Betette, currently chasing The Dream in Los Angeles, and Phillip Mottaz, chasing another dream at The Playground. They reunite this week for their 5th Festival appearance.

Stir-Friday Night
Thursday 1/12 @ 8pm
stirfryweb.jpgChicago’s most-successful (and perhaps only) pan-Asian comedy troupe presents an hour of their greatest moments mocking and defying cultural stereotypes. If your frame of reference for Asian-American humor is limited to Margaret Cho and some incidental Simpsons characters, do yourself a favor and see them. They’re also auditioning new troupe members in case you’re feeling funny.

…performing with…

Thursday 1/12 @ 8pm
The only troupe performing in three languages—English, Spanish and Spanglish—Salsation brings a light touch to heavy issues like globalization, corporate malfeasance, and cultural stereotypes.

Saturday 1/14 @ 7pm
Their Weddings of Mass Destruction wowed Chicago and NY Fringe Fest audiences, now they’re taking on Macy/Fields.

defiant_thomas_brothers.gifDefiant Thomas Brothers
Saturday 1/14 @ 10pm
They’re not really brothers, but they do defy political correctness and the follies of civil discourse. You’ll laugh, you’ll squirm, you’ll be glad you went.

Honorable Mentions
Friday 1/6 and Saturday 1/7 @ 11pm
Among the most well-rounded and provocative (and smokin’ hot) performers in the lineup, MEAT returns for their third Sketchfest.

3rdfloorweb.jpg3rd Floor
Friday 1/13 and Saturday 1/14 @ 11pm
The Portland troupe presents That’s Entertainment? satirizing 100 years of comedy stylings in just under an hour.

Slow Children At Play
Friday 1/13 and Saturday 1/14 @ 9pm
You insist otherwise, but these Boston University performers will in fact go there.

Sketchfest makes you laugh tonight through January 15 at Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W Belmont.