Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hey, Sketch Comedy Nerds!

As a teacher, it's very annoying to have a comedy writing class full of students who have not seen a live sketch comedy show. It's like teaching art to students who have never stepped foot in a museum, but have seen pictures of paintings. It's even more of an ass biter to have students weeks into a class or months into the program who aren't out there seeking out sketch comedy. Plain and simple, it makes you a better writer. You begin to shift away from writing for TV and begin to think more in terms of writing for the stage. You see what other writers and performers attempt and are able to accomplish. Or you see them fail, which is also filled with valuable lessons in the fine art of writing comedy scenes. It is a key to unlocking your imagination.

Top two reasons students don't go see shows... No time. No money.

Both are bullshit. This is Chicago. There's probably a sketch revue going on right now as you read this. There are shows all over town seven days a week and they are dirt cheap.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Easy for you to say, Mr. Comedy Writing Teacher with lots of free time and disposable income with all those royalties rolling in from your book on Amazon."

My response to that is, "Please, Anonymous Student, don't turn my message into a plug for my book. There are shows out there that will only cost you whatever it takes to get your body there. So, if you get off your wide, pale butt and walk or ride your bike, it's absolutely FREE."

One such show is tonight, and every Tuesday night, called SketchTEST. SketchTEST is a sketch comedy showcase where multiple groups and solo performers try out their stuff for you. Last week, I saw by friends CRASSUS along with several other groups. They are there again, tonight. You will see a variety of performers, some very experimental, some very traditional, and it will blow your mind that you are seeing such a great show for free.

SketchTEST is produced by The Pub Theater, probably best known for their show "Bye, Bye, Liver." The show is on the second floor of Fizz, a great Lincoln Park bar on Lincoln just half a block north of Belmont. They have great food and cheap drink specials.

And SketchTEST will even let you - yes, YOU - put up material to see what hits and what misses. But before you go scrambling to do that, I recommend checking out the show. See what it's about. Then throw your hat in the chuckle ring. To book a slot, all you need to do is shoot an e-mail to sketchtest@sketchcomedy.com.