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Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013

Comedy Fest in Year Eight

Lots of laughter at Next Act

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The Milwaukee Comedy Festival returned for its eighth year Aug. 1-4 with Next Act’s theater space on South Water as a stylish venue for the proceedings. Once again, co-producers Matt Kemple and Patrick Schmitz put together an enjoyable multi-day event. Following a standard format, each show opened with a stand-up act followed by improv comedy and finished with the work of a sketch comedy group.

As with previous years, Milwaukee Comedy Fest 2013 was dominated by Milwaukee and Chicago groups. A notable departure from this was the Aug. 3 matinée hosted by Cincinnati-based stand-up Spark Tabor and featuring not one Milwaukee act. The musical improv of Chicago’s Mansical made up for the conspicuous lack of Milwaukee-based T.I.M. (The Improvised Musical) from this year’s festival.

One of the fest’s most overlooked signature events just might be the Teen Comedy Show, the opening act on the closing day. This year’s Teen Comedy Show exclusively consisted of improv, much of it shepherded by Schmitz himself through courses taught at First Stage Theater Academy. Improv comes quite naturally to high schoolers making a connection with the stage for the first time.

Kemple and company continue to stage comedy throughout the year with improv, sketch comedy and more at the Underground Collaborative on 161 W. Wisconsin Ave. For more information, visit ucmke.org.