The 13th Annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival begins at Stage 773 this Thursday night. Over 10,000 people are expected to flow in and out those doors to see roughly 180 different sketch comedy shows. It can be overwhelming, which is why I have pulled out my recommendations of shows to see for this weekend. Next week, I'll be posting my recommendations for the second half of Sketchfest. (Hint: Danny Pudi is playing with Siblings of Doctors, get your tickets before they sell out.)
THURSDAY, JANUARY 9th
- Exquisite Corpse - The Pro @ 9pm
I have not had the pleasure of watching these gentlemen perform live - yet. However, I have seen the attention to detail they pay towards their video content and it is nothing short of cinematic brilliance. So I would make an educated guess that with their Wes Anderson-esque style and sense of humor coupled with their dedication to focused intent, this sketch will not only be smart, but might actually float over the heads of some audience members.
- WILDCARD - The Pro @ 10pm
I saw WILDCARD last year at Sketchfest and they blew my mind. Out of all of the sketches I saw last year, this was one of my top two favorites. With Rachel LaForce on tour in Europe right now, I'm curious to see how the dynamic of this group changes, but I still have very high expectations. You can read my WILDCARD review to see why, then buy your ticket. You won't regret it.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 10th
- Two Bunnies Eating Flowers - The Thrust @ 7pm
This trio comes highly recommended. I have not seen them yet myself, but after asking around, this is the number one most recommended show to see at Sketchfest this year. Don't miss it.
- THUNDERDOME - The Pro @ 8pm
THUNDERDOME is a variety show turned sketch revue. This lineup is riddled with established improvisers and is guaranteed to be quite the thrill. Performed by Carmen Christopher, Annie Donley, Morgan Lord, Anthony Oberbeck, Maria Randazzo, & Joey Romaine. Created by Carmen Christopher and cast, direction by Matt Barats.
- Boat (also playing Saturday) - The Pro @ 9pm
This comedy trio comes straight out of Brooklyn, NY. They are currently partnered with SNL's Lorne Michaels' Above Average Network, creating original content. Expand out of your Chicago comedy comfort zone and see what the east coast is cookin' up.
- Nightpunch/The Pop Tarts/Shock-T's - The Thrust @ 11pm
I'm listing this show primarily because the Shock-T's are always highly recommended. They are a comedy band from Chicago and have been playing all over the place for the last five or so years. Not only a unique act, but top quality as well.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 11th
- Arch and Andel - The Cab @ 7pm
Ryan Archibald and Andel Sudik are seasoned Chicago comedians and this is their live network showcase. That's really all you need to know. Just go.
- Boat (another chance if you couldn't make Friday night's show) - The Pro @ 9pm
- The Nerdologues - The Thrust @ 11pm
The Nerdologues have quite a following, as they should. A bunch of nerds turned comedians (because aren't we all?) who all share their stories and sketches. Geek out late night with fellow nerds.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 12th
- 4 Days Late - The Pro @ 8pm
I have seen a number of 4 Days Late productions and have never been disappointed. This group has been writing together and producing shows for years and they are always smart, well-executed and include some element of surprise. They are not afraid to push buttons or boundaries and never play it safe. This show is titled "America: Horror Story" and I can't wait to see how they present the horrors of America laced in satire.
Read more reviews on 4 Days Late.
Alright folks, that does it. Now, these are not the ONLY shows I think you should go see, but since we can't see all of the shows, these are the ones I would recommend. Feel free to leave other recommendations below!