Unlike most national sketch comedy festivals, the Best of the Sketch Fest is invite only, meaning that all seven groups performing have a stamp of approval from the festival hosts, Portland's very funny 3rd Floor comedy troupe. The 3rd Floor's Ted Douglass took a moment to answer a few of our questions about this year's festival.

MERCURY: How is this year's fest different from past years?

TED DOUGLASS: The festival still consists of the best sketch comedy troupes we've seen on the sketch circuit this year. But what we're really excited about is that this is the first festival where there are more all-female acts than male. MEAT, the Apple Sisters, Dirty Jeans & Thunder Chief, and Becky & Noelle all feature female comedians performing original material that doesn't consist of mother-in-law and period jokes. I think this is indicative of a change sweeping over comedy on a national scale. With the recent Emmy nominations honoring female writers and performers from 30 Rock to SNL, in a much greater capacity than ever before, we're hoping we might finally be escaping the old show-biz misperception that "women aren't funny."

Where does Sketch Fest fit into Portland's comedy scene?

A major goal of Sketch Fest has been to try to put Portland on the national comedy map, by bringing national touring acts to town and proving to the rest of the country that we have the kind of audiences that would support and appreciate out-of-town performers. Portland has proven us correct every year with Sketch Fest.

With those seeds sewn, Portland was finally ready this year for some more comedy festivals. The Bridgetown Comedy Fest was a smash hit in the spring, bringing heavy-hitters like Patton Oswalt to town. And just last weekend, ComedySportz held their world championship at Portland Center Stage and enjoyed packed houses. It's a good time to be a comedian in Portland. And we hope we had even the slightest hand in that.