U.S. Sketch Comedy Championships
Competing Group FAQ

Q. How long can our set be?
A. It must not exceed 18 minutes. If you exceed this you risk having your lights and/or sound shut down. This will look very bad to judges, so please make sure you have carefully timed out your set.

Q. We need to use music and/or sounds. How do we do it?
A. You may use sound in your set. You must have your files available on both a flash drive and CD. A theater tech will operate the sound booth, so you must have someone available to cue the tech for when you want the sounds.

Q. Is there any kind of dress rehearsal?
A/ No, however we generally have a tech meeting the day of the event either earlier in the day or right before the show. You will be notified of such and you must have someone available to attend on your behalf.

Q. How is the order of performances chosen?
A. Competing groups order in the show is done by random chance, generally by a drawing at the tech meeting.

Q. How are groups judged?
A. Groups are judged by an industry panel with the criteria being:
1) Writing
2) Execution
3) Overall star potential

Q. Is there any restrictions on content?
A. There is not. However, please bear in mind that in the audience there are generally many executives who are looking for talent that could be ready for network or cable television, so if your material is excessively crude and/or in blatantly bad taste or viciously hurtful to any group it will likely hurt your chances. Furthermore, while stunts like full frontal nudity or other extreme onstage behavior may elicit a big response from the live audience, it won’t impress industry people who are looking for up and coming talent that relies on originality and intelligent creativity rather than cheap shock value antics. So, edgy is cool, but use some common sense.

Q. Are we required to bring an audience?
A. You are not required to bring any audience beyond the ten tickets that must pre-purchased from each group. Tickets are inexpensive at $10 each. The revenue from these sales don’t remotely cover the cost of producing the event. The main reason for this requirement is that it is important for the industry executives and judges to be among a real general audience. Otherwise the event loses it’s “live audience” excitement which can have a big effect on how these executives and judges respond to the show.

Tickets are priced reasonably at $10 in advance for anyone or $12 at the door, so that it is not cost prohibitive for additional friends, family and supporters above the pre-purchased tickets to attend.

Q. May we get free passes for VIP industry guests?
A. Each group is allowed to obtain up to 5 VIP passes for industry guests that they invite. However, these guests must meet the criteria which is:

1) Agents/Managers – Must be employed with recognized agency that has multiple clients with distributed credits for feature films, broadcast or major cable network or major paid digital platform like Netflix, Amazon, etc.
2) Producers/directors must have credits for feature films, broadcast or major cable network or major paid digital platform like Netflix, Amazon, etc.
3) Casting agents – Must have credits for feature films, broadcast or major cable network or major paid digital platform like Netflix, Amazon, etc.

In other words, a buddy who’s got a short on Youtube or a cousin who is a PA does not qualify. If you do have qualifying VIP guests please email in advance names so there is time to confirm they have been vetted and placed on VIP Guest list.

Q. What does the winning group win?
A. We make our best effort every year to line up various career enhancing opportunities such as meetings with influential agents, managers, producers, etc. Most years we have been able to line up some pretty cool opportunities. Besides that the title itself is quite notable as your group will be competing against other top level groups.

Q. When is show time?
A. Showtime is 8:30PM, so we ask that attendees try to arrive at least 15 minutes early to allow for seating and an on time start.

Q. How long is the show?
A. It is approximately 1.5 hours long. The show consists of three competing groups and one exhibition group and then a judge’s tally and champion winner announcement.