The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, the largest in the country, will celebrate 15 years Jan. 7-17, 2016. (Tickets go on sale Dec. 1.) Although the festival is still months away, you’ll need the time to plan which groups to see.
“Last year, we had 160 sketch comedy troupes,” Brian Posen, festival founder and executive producer, says. “That’s about 1,000 funny people from all over the world performing 188 shows in eight days.”
Posen, a Glencoe native, can hardly believe the festival has reached the 15-year mark, calling it “stupid crazy and awesome.”
“It keeps getting bigger and more exciting and better. You’re going to find every type of comedy under the sun, from stupid clowning to really smart, sharp political satire and everything in between. Every kind of point of view.”
Posen says he’s doing a few fun things this time around, including asking groups that have dissolved to reunite and reaching out to the best in the industry to create shows specifically for the festival. He is also partnering with the London Sketch Comedy Festival to do group swaps.
“The cool thing about the festival is it keeps refreshing itself,” Posen says. “So every year we get new talent. It redefines itself every year.”
Of course, no one should be surprised that Chicago is the site of a long-running comedy festival.
“This is where the work is happening. Every single night of the week has something that is … mind blowing. We have a huge sketch and improv community. We have a huge standup community. We have a huge burlesque, a huge theater community that focuses on comedy. I mean, there’s nothing like Chicago. Nothing like Chicago.”
Interested in being part of the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival? Fill out an application here.