Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival: Day Three, Part Two



Headed into the third night of SketchFest, I was thinking I'd better start coming up with more adjectives meaning funny. This was the point in the festival—any festival—when you settle in, see the patterns, and recognize people in the audience—people who performed earlier—supporting their friends and studying their moves. And since watching sketch comedy by yourself is a little like drinking tequila alone, I was glad to be with my wife and a friend this time around.

Space Chocolate eschewed the introductions common to these groups and jumped right in, alternating between the two-man comedy of Jason Flowers and Harz Sondericker—bits about strange Swedish food, Elliot Ness's gay barber, a dad with PTSD at his son's football game—and a sextet whose offerings included a piece on existential crises at sleepovers and a hysterical parody of the smooth-jazz culture represented by stations like WNUA.

The sextet also presented the funniest sketch I’ve seen so far: three dudes bro-ing down and talking sports, until it’s revealed that none of them actually likes sports. In fact, they find the subject completely boring. They'd much rather discuss Glee. Towards the end they recite standard-grade talking points on Brett Favre, Michael Vick, and LeBron James in unison as they laugh at the facades they’ve constructed for one another.

The Backrow are one of four groups who've performed at every single SketchFest, and their experience showed through during their set. This large ensemble evince a comfort and familiarity you only see in groups who've been together a while. They started with a shooting at a company dinner and moved on to the trials of a Whole Foods employee giving out free samples of holiday double-butter crisps to a man who keeps approaching her in different disguises. When she finds him out, he confesses his love for her. The Backrow sketch I enjoyed most involved three aliens who eventually admit to “being really good at space travel but really bad at everything else.” They try offering their “vast scientific knowledge”—a cure for polio, cubes that can save “ten to 15 books”—in exchange for earth’s resources.

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