SketchFest made it abundantly clear last night that Seattle is full of great sketch comedy. Locals night was the first show of the festival, on Capitol Hill at Annex Theatre. Tonight the Film Challenge will be at Central Cinema, with screenings and summary judgement of short films with titles including, but not limited to: Pinky Swear, Hipster Foxworthy, and Fuckload of Pasta. $15. Next weekend the rest of SketchFest will start on Thursday the 4th (sold out!) and continue through the following Saturday night, with two shows on Friday and Saturday at the Theatre off Jackson in the International District. It’s a big expansion on what was a one weekend affair last year, and if last night is any indication, it’s going to be a fantastic fortnight of weekend shows.
As I walked to find my seat at Annex I caught a glimpse of the green room. It was like a monkey house. A million costumes and performers, and enough electricity to wake up Nikola Tesla. The show involved two of my favorite local sketch groups: the Entertainment Show, and Charles. (More on these two acts in reviews to come.)Â Here are some of the other highlights from last night.
The Pork Filled Players had a brilliant Mortal Kombat sketch. It was two characters being controlled by an offscreen couple, a boyfriend and girlfriend. There were lots of big laughs, a few surprises, and lots and lots of in-jokes for gamers. Andy and Barbara had Barbara Holm at her most manic and unhinged as I’ve yet seen her on stage, humping everything in sight with gleeful insanity while Andy Palmer played the straight man, rattling off lots of jargon while Barbara-bot went nuts behind him over and over. Spectacular.
Le Frenchword offered the most surreal performance of the show, doing a segment from their acclaimed Fancy Mud show. To say that it was a creation story about a three legged cow is true, but that hardy encapsulates the living and breathing Magritte painting that these three performers create when they do their thing.
Animator Pasty Boy (Mark Allender) and comedian Emmett Montgomery’s Sweet Pea was the second most surreal performance of the evening. It was part sideshow, part puppet show, part animal tricks, and part cartoon. I’ve seen Sweet Pea a few times, and every time it surprises me a little with some new horrifying twist.
There was a good amount of sketches where the driving force was tension. Dog Watson’s Hoot Suppository had a sketch involving crafting at gunpoint, which was as tense as it was funny. There were tears, there was silly string, and feathers, and glue guns. There’s a certain meanness to their stuff, but they are bitingly funny. Worst Case Scenario had a sketch where they were pretending to be doing improv, and the turn was that they were asked to act out something involving a racial slur by a confederate in the audience. Very much in the spirit of the British Office, you’re wincing and laughing at the same time.
Spike and Jason of Ubiquitous They were outstanding. There was a great bit involving a Spiderman costume that inadvertently raised the following question: what does the real Spiderman do to hide his nibblets? The two performers had great timing together, and even going on as late in the evening as they did, it was an audience ready to laugh, and still very much enjoying themselves.
Last night was but the beginning of what will be two solid weekends of SketchFest. Get your tickets now for the rest of the festival. Shows are selling out, which is great not only for SketchFest, but it also bodes well for Seattle’s appetite for laughs. Things are looking pretty funny around here.