The fourth edition of this annual comedy showcase, presented by Lukaba Productions, features more than 80 local and out-of-town ensembles, including folks from New York, LA, Seattle, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, and Vancouver. Some well established, some new to the scene, they represent a remarkable range of styles and viewpoints. Chicago SketchFest runs 1/6-1/16 at Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont, in the venue's west, south, and north theaters. Admission is $12 per show except where otherwise noted; $30 provides admission to all performances any single Friday or Saturday evening; and a festival pass costs $75. For reservations, call 773-327-5252; tickets are also available through Ticketmaster at Hot Tix booths (www.hottix.org for information) or online at www.ticketmaster.com. For updated fest info, visit www.chicagosketchfest.com. Following is the schedule through 1/6; a complete schedule is available online at www.chicagoreader.com.
Hans and Robyn and CarniKid Productions
Hans Holsen and Robyn Norris's show Murder on the Comedy Express isn't a crime, but it's not much of an experience either. The duo come up with a bunch of odd conceits--usually involving small behaviors taken to an extreme--then play them out without developing them. (TA) CarniKid Productions offers "humorous observations about life on the road and abroad." 8 PM, west theater.
The Uncomfortables and The Perfect Gentlemen
The Uncomfortables preview their new show, Chicago Transient Authority. Dave Taylor and Jeff Madden, aka the Perfect Gentlemen, "analyze and celebrate trivialities and unhealthy human obsessions." 8 PM, south theater.
The Embassy and Head Cheese Fat Boss
The Embassy describes its show Blue Laws as "an evening of sketch comedy that is Good for America." Head Cheese Fat Boss, the company that just closed its annual holiday show The Hipmas Carol, invites viewers to "hang it up and see what tomorrow brings." 8 PM, north theater.
Waste Management and Shecky Kulhan
Waste Management "attempts to make people forget about the everyday crap in life," according to a press release. Shecky Kulhan's one-man show combines "physicality with raw passion and fantasy animal emotion." 9:30 PM, west theater.
Triplette and Teatro Bastardo
Triplette is a trio of women who've improvised together since 1998. Teatro Bastardo satirizes the news media. 9:30 PM, south theater.
The Mike and Duane Show and Cheetarah
Mike Ferbrache and Duane Freeman perform miniature rock operas. Cheetarah, an all-female ImprovOlympic team, presents Cheetarah: 6 Girl Stall. 9:30 PM, north theater.