My friend and fellow RvD member Joe Janes spent an entire year writing sketches - one a day. As though that isn't a herculean enough of a task, he's in the middle of a ten night festival - 365 Sketches - showing all of those works in their entirety.
Tonight, RvD does their part by performing "A Thing I Wrote," consisting of weeks 31 & 32. If you are able to make it out tonight, you should come. If you are busy tonight, you should still try to make a show or two before the festival ends on Sunday.
Yes, I am biased because not only is Joe my friend but I'm also in the show. That said, I think 365 is incredibly important for a couple of reasons:
- It's an acknowledgement of the sheer amount of work Joe put in for an entire year. As someone who writes sketch comedy, I can attest to the fact that it's not always easy. The fact that Joe was able to write a new sketch a day for a year is a testament to his dedication and his ability.
- The sketches are all good. I've seen a few of the shows now and I have yet to see a sketch that I thought was terrible. Combined with the breadth of the project, that's an amazing accomplishment.
- These sketches are a vessel holding decades worth of sketch comedy writing experience. Are you learning to write sketch comedy? Do you want to know what a fish out of water scene or a relationship sketch is supposed to look like? Do you want to know what works and what doesn't work? Do you want to know how to get away with a shock-joke without alienating your audience? 365 is the place to benefit from Joe's vast experience as a teacher and as a Second City alumnus.
- Since each show is directed and performed by a wide variety of people from different parts of the sketch comedy landscape, the show is essentially a meeting of comedy minds from across the city. The show is the perfect combination of Joe's writing prowess and this city's interpretive creativity.
* * * *
When Joe finished the writing process back in January, a bunch of people got together at Goose Island brewery on Clark and celebrated. As part of the celebration, RvD wrote him a scene entitled "Sketch Zero." The scene is basically an excuse to give Joe a good natured ribbing and drop a 'pants on the ground' reference back when that was still topical. Chris (another RvD member) posted it on the blog today, and I still got a chuckle reading it through five months later. If you're curious, you can read it at the link.
Show starts at 8:00 tonight at the Straw Dog Theatre, 3829 N Broadway in Chicago. Let's do it.