Starting just this past week, the Chicago Comedy Sketch Festival is kicking off the New Year with a entertainment for everyone. January 8th marked the beginning of the thirteenth year for the event with it running until January 18th. Over the course of eight days the festival will feature 168 groups and 188 shows, taking over the entire Stage 773 building. Nicknamed Chicago SketchFest, the festival holds the title as the nation’s largest sketch fest.
In case you are new to sketch comedy, which is dissimilar to improv comedy, the show features short, scripted, humorous scenes. Sketch comedy in America originated from The Second City Theater when it opened in the late 1950’s. Since then many have come to learn about this comedy outlet from Mad TV, In Living Color, SCTV, and the famous Saturday Night Live.
The festival began in 2002 when Producer Brian Posen needed to fill a six week spot at the Theatre Building Chicago. After calling a few friend the sketch community an empty spot grew to thirty groups ready to participate at a moment’s notice. Since then shows have evolved to hundreds of performers from Chicago along with troupes from Boston, L.A., New York, Portland, Seattle, Milwaukee, Austin, and Denver. Panels of experts within the sketch comedy community, including members from Second City, Late Night with Conan O’Brian, and Saturday Night Live, educate and entertain participants and public with store and advice.
With dozens of groups, tons of performers, and shows going on almost every day, it is clear there is something for everyone. Feel like this is a festival worth trying out? Check out Stage 773 on 1225 W Belmont where all the performances are featured. Tickets for a show is $15 or day passes for $37. You can check out a performance schedule here to find out more.