We've shed a lot of ink on Portland's standup scene recently, but there hasn't been as much to say about sketch comedy. Because there just hasn't been much sketch comedy. Long running troupe the 3rd Floor hasn't done a show since November's Killing Time, which wasn't even sketch (it was a largely unsuccessful digression into a full-length theatrical production, the likes of which I doubt we'll see from them again anytime soon. They will be putting out another sketch show for the holidays, though). We haven't had a citywide Sketch Fest since 2008. I don't know what the hell happened to Superego; Eastland Academy hasn't performed as such since February, by my count; occasionally other groups pop up but nothing seems to have had much staying power.

I emailed Portland Sketch fest founder/3rd Floor member Ted Douglass for his take on what the heck is up with sketch these days:

There have been many many discussions among a lot of us sketch veterans on the national circuit as to what happened to the sketch scene. The general consensus is that our generation grew up with SNL in its prime, Monty Python, Kids In The Hall, Mr. Show and the like as inspiration, while the current generation was introduced to sketch through MadTV (not a fan), the various failed sketch ventures of the '00s and the mostly horrid wasteland of YouTube. It's not to say that there isn't good, sometimes great, sketch happening out there, but the numbers have massively dwindled. I anxiously await the next sketch renaissance. I think it'll eventually come back around, just as is happening with stand-up right now.

I gotta assume, too, that at least a few of the folks who ten years ago might've been performing sketch are working on web stuff instead. (Relevant: Marc Maron's interview with Aubrey Plaza.) The local improv scene* seems to be buzzing along healthily, however, with two designated venues in the Brody and Curious Comedy... the point is, I don't understand any of this, but I've been a sketch fan since seeing the 3rd Floor in high school (sorry dudes) and so I'm pleased that comedy troupe Sweat is returning with a new show this fall. Erik Henriksen loved their first show last September, calling the actors "five of the funniest people in Portland." Interestingly, the upcoming production is directed by Portland Playhouse's Brian Weaver; the troupe itself consists of 3rd Floor/ROADHOUSE: The Play/ Live Wire veterans Shelley McLendon, Michael Fetters, Jason Rouse, Sean McGrath, and Andrew Harris. For more info, go right over here.

*I am probably over-explaining here, but sketch=scripted. Improv=unscripted.