Chicago’s “SketchFest,” the Largest of Its Kind, Runs Its 15th Festival

SF5 Danny Pudi of NBC's "Community" with sketch group "Siblings of Doctors" to perform at SketchFest. From Left to Right: Ranjit Souri, Riskia Mathur, Danny Pudi. (Photo courtesy of Michael Courier Photography)

Chicago may be mocked as the second city, but one thing the city excels at is comedy — especially sketch and improv-based comedy.

In fact, the Chicago Comedy Sketch Fest (“SketchFest”) is running its 15th installment during the next two weekends. With 165 groups performing 186 shows in eight days, the festival is renowned for being the largest of its kind in the world. SketchFest showcases both established and up-and-coming performers, giving each night variety and a sense of discovery.

If 186 shows seems like a lot, that’s because it is. Lakeview’s Stage 773 is housing the not-for-profit festival and their 1000+ performers between the 7th and the 17th.

Creative Director Brian Posen and the SketchFest Artistic Team crafted the line-up, with headliners such as Heavy Weight (LA) with TJ Miller and Nick Vatterott; Siblings of Doctors (LA) featuring Danny Pudi from NBC’s “Community”; and Pop Roulette (NY) featuring SNL writer Sudi Green.

The LA-based duo Super Punk, who originally formed in Chicago, has reunited to perform on stage for the time since 2006. A few other reunions with troupes who performed at SketchFest before include Party Central USA (LA), Weaseliscious (LA), and Dolphins of Damnation (LA and Chicago).

Chicago’s own The Comic Thread will perform on January 9, and they won the Audience Choice Award at Chicago Fringe Fest as well at Best Group at the LA Comedy Festival. A few other local favorites include The Defiant Thomas Brothers, The Cupid Players of Stage 773, Rabbit Rabbit, and Kerpatty.

Though all-festival passes have been sold out, one night passes cost between $37-57. Tickets and more information are available online, by phone 773.327.5252, and at the Stage 773 box office at 1225 W Belmont.

Picture of the author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith thinks that Chicago right now is the place to be for music. He works for Illinois Humanities, is a freelance writer, and plays psychedelic-pop songs with his band.