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SketchFest Review: Peter Greyy, Charles, and the Cody Rivers Show

Charles image courtesy of SketchFest - All rights reserved

Last night the second week of SketchFest started at Theatre off Jackson in the International District. There are two more nights of the festival. Tonight, Friday 10/5, and Saturday 10/6. There are two shows each night. One at 7PM, and one at 9PM Each show this weekend consists of a short stand-up set, followed by two sketch groups. $15

Peter Greyy image courtesy of SketchFest - All rights reserved

Thursday’s opening comic was Peter Greyy, Director of Talent at the Seattle International Comedy Competition. The audience was ready for a show, but having a seasoned road comic break the ice got everything nicely primed for the two outstanding acts to come. After a few minutes Greyy had the audience in a really good place. He seemed like he’d be happy to continue for a while, but there was a lot of show still to come.

Charles came out with a box labeled “props” and made us laugh well before saying a word. Charlie Stockman and Chuck Armstrong continue to push the boundaries of premise and execution. I was wondering what they would do to top last year’s correspondence Jenga — they didn’t disappoint. Between misunderstandings and powerpoint presentations, goofs on intellectual property, botched wedding toasts, and glorious, glorious helmets, it’s clear why these guys were awarded “best sketch comedy” and “best writing’ at the 2012 Los Angeles Comedy Festival. They’ll soon be performing at UCB in LA. Seek them out, Seattle, before they’re snatched by the larger world.

Former SketchFest Artistic Director Andrew Connor and Cody Rivers Show partner Mike Mathieu made their triumphant return to SketchFest as the headlining act. Thursday’s show sold out well in advance. Seattle knows funny.

Cody Rivers Show image courtesy of SketchFest - All rights reserved

These guys know how to make an entrance. The room went dark, the music came on loud and excited, then Connor and Mathieu made a laser show with flashlights, then the lights came on and it was a synchronized dance routine until it was taken right to the edge, and then they were into another scene.

They like a pun, and they like goofing on expressions and making goofy expressions. They had a wonderfully layered call-in center sketch where each performer played several characters, and watching them transition effortlessly between each persona added a little bit of panache, a bit of showmanship.

Connor and Mathieu have a great physicality. They are both trained dancers, and that really opens up a whole other aspect of performance possibilities. They bring a lot of that talent to bear in their show, at points doing acrobatics, lifting each other, and balancing oddly — also amazing slow motion work.

Nothing about their show is static. They know when the laughs should come, and when to stop for the applause. Smash cuts, smooth transitions — it’s like Jazz; it’s the jokes you don’t hear. (Or something like that.) Their writing is tight, and witty. I loved the sketch about making a mixtape, and how could I not love “Snark, Anger, and Self-Reference Magazine?” The Cody Rivers Show mines premises both extraordinary and mundane, but their results seem to consistently land in the realm of funny.