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Ten reasons to take in the Sketch Comedy Festival

Sketch Comedy Festival founder Brian Posen offers 10 reasons hit 12th annual fest.

Sketch Comedy Festival founder Brian Posen offers 10 reasons to hit the 12th annual fest.

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The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival

Friday through Sunday and Jan. 10-13

Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont

Tickets: $14-$15 per show; $35-$45 for one night pass

Updated: February 5, 2013 6:21AM

The holidays are over, cold weather is here for the foreseeable future and January is typically when the winter blues begin to set in. For those who need a laugh or an excuse for a fun night out, the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival is taking place at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, from Thursday through Sunday and Jan. 10-13.

“It’s a weird time to have a festival, but it’s also a great time because nothing’s going on, it’s cheap and people are looking to get out and see something funny,” said organizer Brian Posen.

Posen launched the festival on a whim in 2001 to fill a seven-week rental commitment to the Theatre Building Chicago. Sincethen the schedule has been condensed, but this year’s 12th annual festival features 145 different sketch comedy groups.

“The art form (sketch comedy) is thriving more than ever right now,” Posen said. “This is a grassroots, ghetto art form. It’s so raw. It doesn’t have the pressure of having to entertain 300 tourists an hour. This is gritty, cutting edge comedy.”

The 169 shows in eight nights showcase all comedy forms and some unexpected surprises. Posen shared 10 reasons to attend:

1. See a famous person before they are famous.

2. Super cheap drinks.

3. You might see someone naked on stage.

4. You can see every flavor of comedy from all edges of the universe (not just Chicago!): gay, Asian, musical, silly, angry, political, silent, solo, Hispanic, and even a group of white Wrigleyville dudes.

5. It’s live and in limited release. Each group only gets one slot to perform. 6. People screaming, dancing, crying, throwing things and sometimes even dancing with a chicken.

7. Canadians — and Canadians are always funny!

8. See how many different ways a comedy group can trash a stage.

9. You will see office dudes and jocks that are actually funny!

10. You will see groups that aren’t afraid to push the boundaries of traditional comedy on topics such as politics, social situations, race and farts.

Tony A. Solano is a local free-lance writer.

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