I went to see the first night of Shadowbox Live’s Sketch Comedy Festival and it was a great experience. Now in its third year, the Sketch Comedy Festival is a chance for performers from around the nation to hone their craft in front of a large, live audience and three judges – Johnny DiLoretto of Fox 28, Julie Klein of Shadowbox Live, and Garret Morris, an original cast member of SNL. On Day One, the audience gets to vote on their favorite sketch from each troupe and the judges offer criticism, praise and advice. Day Two brings you the favorite sketches (Act One) and a show by Shadowbox Live with performances by Garret Morris (Act Two). After seeing what the five troupes brought to the table, I can say with confidence, you are going to love Day Two.
First up was Sketch By Number, from Columbus. They had a variety of sketches, my favorite focusing on a Shakespeare rendition by ‘bros.’ Great stuff. They have been performing comedy since 2008.
Next was The Riot, from Toronto, Canada. They felt like comedy professionals. I thought they had a lot of their sketches down. Personally, I wish two of their sketches would make the final cut, but I think the rules say only one sketch will make it to Day Two. They had great punchlines and knew when to end their jokes. The ‘Lonely Gynecologist’ sketch that made it into Day Two is going to be a great song sketch filled with jokes that utilizes much of the cast. You will love it and laugh.
Troupe three was The Laughter League, from Cleveland. This group had several sketches with great laughs, but some of the advice was they needed to work on their endings. Which I agree with. There were several times I felt like the punchline was delivered and it was great but then the sketch kept going. An awkward moment was ending their ‘Extremely General Hospital’ sketch with a laugh and then waiting a few seconds to kick in a voiceover to end it again. It kind of killed the audience’s enthusiasm. Hopefully they will remedy that for Day Two. If they focus a bit more and fine tune their sketches, their material is going to make you really laugh.
Those troupes concluded Act One. During intermission, Bill Who played and you turned in your voting cards and received your new voting card for act two.
The Don’t We Boys kicked off act two. They are from Grand Rapids, Michigan and will have you laughing off your seat. They had a variety of short 30 second sketches, and ‘Summer Reading’ – a much longer but very funny story about betrayal. If you never thought you would laugh about serial killers, you’ll have to hear this! Even though the sketch was long, the journey they took you on was really well thought out and kept you laughing.
The final troupe was The Feral Chihuahuas, from Asheville, North Carolina. They have participated in the festival since its start. They had a lot of great concepts, but some of the sketches lacked the teeth to really get you rolling. I’ve never really thought of shopping for religions like shopping for used cars and I would have loved for that sketch to get big. Their grocery cart pirates videoshort was a funny concept but the punchline got lost. (below)
Day Two of the Sketch Comedy Festival is going to be great. Each of these troupes will take the advice from the judges and tune their winning sketch to perfection which will mean lots of laughs for you! The first act will be each group’s winning sketch. The second act will contain Garret Morris and Shadowbox Live’s cast for some sketch comedy and rock-n-roll. The winner of the Sketch Comedy Festival will also be announced.
$25/night general admission
$150/night VIP Reserved table for 6-8.
UPDATE! From Shadowbox Live’s Facebook Page, The winning sketches to move on to Day Two are:
A GIANT SHOUT-OUT AND THANK YOU TO ALL THE WONDERFUL TROUPES WHO PERFORMED AT DAY ONE OF SKETCH FEST!!! And now .. .the winning sketches:
From ‘Sketch By Number’ – Bromeo and Julian
From ‘The Riot’ – Lonely Gynecologist
From ‘The Laughter League’ – Extremely General Hospital
From ‘Don’t We Boys’ – Summer Reading
From ‘The Feral Chihuahuas’ – Deer Cooler