SketchFest goes all the way back to the summer of '99 in Seattle, Washington, where a group of friends saw an emerging community of sketch comedians and decided to pull them altogether for a festival. Over a decade later, SketchFests (sketch comedy festivals) have popped up all over the place, from New York City to Toronto, spreading sketch comedy around like a fashionable rash. And thanks to their hard work sketch comedians have had a place to return each year, breeding new material, great friends and even more shows.
Providing a home for new and emerging talent they have grown to become an important part of the comedy circuit, offering a platform for talent from some of the best comedy shows like Second City TV and Saturday Night Live. London SketchFest aims to build on the tradition, whilst adding a British flair to provide homegrown talent and local audiences the same experience.
Seattle hosts the first Sketchfest in 1999 with groups performing 8-minute samples. Now with over 30 acts performing hour-long shows.
Since 2001 Chicago Sketchfest has provided a home to sketch comedians. Starting with over 30 shows it now boasts nearly 130 with over 800 artists taking part. Running over 2 weekends and with a whole host of events it attracts comedians from around the world and its artists are known to go on to perform on SNL.
Founded in 2002, San Francisco sketchfest has grown year on year and now boasts nearly a dozen venues hosting a variety of shows across 3 weeks performed by both newcomers and celebrities.
Since 2004 NYC sketchfest has brought comedians from all over America to perform in New York City at the UCB theatre. With over 30 shows in 2011 its rapid growth is testament to sketch comedy's popularity.
Now in it's 8th year, Toronto sketchfest brings groups from around the world and incorporates several sketch comedy events into its programme across numerous venues. Many of its acts now perform at The Second City, Canada's biggest comedy venue.
New York City's second sketchfest, a new addition in 2012, the PIT-NYC sketchfest is a response to the city's growing demand for sketch comedy and more of it.
2013 sees London launch its first Sketchfest, joining the Sketchfest family around the world.
Vancouver reboots with a brand new SketchFest, after being one of the first to establish in Canada.
Hawaii Sketchfest launches at the Honolulu Museum of Art with a programme of workshops and shows across 5 days.