What's it like?
This year’s SketchFest will probably welcome over 10,000 patrons over its two weeks of performances. 10,000 people flowing in and out of the four theatres of Stage 773. SketchFest is a beautiful, tightly-controlled chaos. Throngs of comedy lovers headed like cattle to be slain by the best sketch comedy around. Prepare to be elbow-to-elbow as tickets are purchased or picked up then the waiting in the lobby until “the house opens” (that’s a theatre term) and you can take your seat. Then when the show is over, you’ll need to vacate the theatre promptly so the next group’s audience can take your place.
*Even if you have a ticket to the following show in your theatre, you must leave to be seated with the rest of the audience for that show.*
Who should we see?
With so many groups to choose from, who do you pick? Well, you can’t see them all, sadly. Plan you visit ahead of time, plot your theatre hopping and buy your tickets in advance to lock in your evening. Read up on the groups and choose the shows most intriguing to you. See locals you’ve been hearing about for years or out-of-towners you’ll rarely have the chance to catch.
*Know who you’re seeing! Common answers to “what group are you here to see?” are “Um…SkeeeeetchFest?”, “Oh lord, I don’t know,” and “My friend’s in it…his name’s Bill.”*
Can we get drinks at Sketchfest?
Stage 773 sports a fully-stocked bar with snacks and everything! Anything you buy there can be taken into the shows and, as we all know, everything is funnier with a drink in each hand.
What time should we get there?
For the best results arrive 20 minutes before showtime. This will give you plenty of time to pick up your tickets, grab some drinks and be at the front of the line when the house opens! Don’t arrive with no time to spare because there’ll be less room to maneuver. Whatever you do, don’t be late! Late arrivals will be admitted at the discretion of the SketchFest staff. (But unless it’s sold out, they’ll let you in.)
Parking in the area can be very difficult. Stage 773 provides reasonably-priced valet services at the door. Traveling by CTA is also highly recommended, with the Belmont Red/Brown line station just blocks away. Get the full Chicago experience with a ride on the El and then some great sketch!
Can we hang out after the show?
Unfortunately, the Stage 773 lobby does not have the space to contain our patrons waiting to be seated AND those exiting a performance who want to hang out and congratulate performers they know, etc. Unless you are getting in line for the next show, you’ll be guided out of the building by the Festival staff*.
*Cattle prods will NOT be used this year.
Where can we grab food & drink nearby?
A convenient post-show hangout is Cooper's, located just across the street, where you and friends can have food & drinks, repeat your favorite lines from the show, and rub elbows with performers.
*Or, if it’s early enough, head down to Chipotle!*
Don't you know how cold it is?
Who has an event in January in Chicago? GENIUSES. Sure, it’s real cold. That’s the beauty of it. Mild or sub-zero temperatures, clear skies or blizzard conditions, Chicagoans are undeterred. Dress warmly though, as the lines before shows often stretch out the door. Don’t worry, they move quickly and the Festival does everything it can to stick to its tight clockwork of performances.