Chicago SketchFest | Stage 773 | Improv/Sketch | Chicago Reader

Chicago SketchFest Member Picks Agenda The Short List (Theater) Recommended Image

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 18 2015

This may be more than you can handle on your own. With four stages running simultaneously over the course of two long weekends to accommodate an announced 168 acts, you're going to need either a lot of energy (15-minute rotations for about 42 hours?) or a disciplined plan to get through this 14th Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, aka Sketchfest. Here's just the tiniest sampling of what you're up against. When at the "nation's largest sketch comedy festival" you'll naturally want to see some of its historic sights. Those would include Stir-Friday Night (Sat 1/17, 6 PM) and the Cupid Players (Sat 1/10, 8 PM, Sat 1/17, 9 PM), each of which has performed at every Sketchfest to date. The former focuses on all things Asian, while the second highlights original songs and is led by Sketchfest founder Brian Posen—who's also a member, with Brian Peterlin and the engaging Tim Soszko, of silent comedy trio Bri-Ko (Fri 1/9 and 1/16, 11 PM). Another fest perennial is from out of town: New York's FUCT (Fri 1/16 and Sat 1/17, 10 PM), known for ribald, giddy bits that can involve an audience member salsa dancing with a gorilla. Fest first-timer Charles (Fri 1/9, 8 PM) is a Seattle duo with a decidedly cerebral bent. Their Youtube video features a drily funny lecture on the impossible logic of British weights and measures. Also look for Hot Thespian Action (Fri 1/9 and Sat 1/10, 10 PM) from Winnipeg, offering physical comedy that's just slightly reminiscent of Pilobolus when handling subjects like the birth of a baby. The scores of local participants range from the veteran dorks comprising Kerpatty! (Fri 1/9 and Sat 1/10, 9 PM) to York High School's Dukes of Comedy (Sun 1/11, 4 PM). Reader critic Marissa Oberlander praised Bryan Duff (Sun 1/18, 1 PM) for "incredible physical timing" in 2013, when he was half of of Two Man Hamlet. Oberlander has also had positive things to say about gay-centric Pinque Pony (Sat 1/10, 5 PM) and the women of Feminine Gentlemen (Sat 1/17, 7 PM). And if I were you I'd make a point of stopping in for Astronaut Theatre (Sat 1/17, 7 PM), inasmuch as they promise "one of the cheaper beers" to anyone who doesn't agree that they perform the "funniest Earth-based sketch comedy in the known universe." —Tony Adler

Price: $37-$57, $150 festival pass


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