A Wee Bit
On a dark, drizzly day in July of 1996, a group of comic actors secretly met in a large loft apartment on the 3rd floor of a converted warehouse in Portland, Oregon. They discussed the lack of intelligent stage comedy in Portland. For over a decade, the only forms of live comedy available in Portland was improv comedy and the last vestiges of the 80’s stand-up boom. So, not unlike your average team of superheroes, these comics threw their talents on the table, determined to make a difference. Among them were set builders, make-up artists, costumers, light & sound designers, directors, technicians, choreographers, and, most importantly, they were all writers. They combined these skills to create a new brand of theatrically driven sketch comedy.
And thus, The 3rd Floor: Maximum Capacity Sketch Comedy was born. Critics and audiences immediately gravitated towards the group’s unique brand of dark, intelligent humor. Shows were sold out, extended, and repeated. Sketch comedy in Portland no longer consisted of under-rehearsed material on bare stages with minimal costumes. It was now produced with the quality of a full-length play.
Over the past fifteen years, 47 cast members have come and gone and come back once more. The 3rd Floor has become a sanctuary for some of the top comedic actors and writers in the Northwest. It has also become a pool of talent that local filmmakers and advertisers draw from on a regular basis. Since it’s birth The 3rd Floor has written, directed, produced, and starred in 36 long-running hit stage shows (29 of them All-New Original works), starred in 2 short films (one alongside sketch comedy pioneers, Firesign Theater), filmed countless video sketches, recorded a full-length comedy CD (Don't Laugh, That's My Mom), received standing ovations from crowds of 500+ at various Northwest colleges and has performed to enthusiastic crowds at festivals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle & Chicago. We’ve had cast members on E.R., The West Wing, Mtv’s Undressed, Leverage, Grimm, tons of commercials (both local and national), in short films, feature films, even writing and starring in cartoons (www.cartoonsrule.com). And for six years, we even hosted our own national sketch festival: The Best Of The Best Sketch Fest, featuring the best groups in the country.
THE 3RD FLOOR PRESS STUFF
ALISON HALLETT – THE PORTLAND MERCURY
“Local sketch comedy legends the 3rd Floor are clearly amped to be playing a new show in Portland, and judging by the number of people lined up in the freezing cold trying to get into last Saturday's sold-out show, Portland is happy to have them back. It's hard to write about sketch comedy, especially good sketch comedy. I want to convince you to attend this show, without ruining any of the jokes. Let's just say that of the thousands of minutes I've spent in Portland theaters, the 90 that I spent with the 3rd Floor last weekend were some of the sweetest, and I didn't look at my watch once.”
GRANT BUTLER – THE OREGONIAN
“The festival's finale belonged to Portland's The 3rd Floor, celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a collection of its greatest hits, featuring 17 current and former members. Goodness, how lucky we've got it here. Troop! leader Kevin Chesley introduced our hometown company, noting how it had rapidly become one of the top sketch comedy groups to watch on the national scene. And The 3rd Floor's performance lived up to the introduction.”
“Five Shows Worth Catching (At Chicago Sketchfest) - #4 The 3rd Floor: With its past premises involving giants, unicorns and naked cowboys, this boundary-busting Portland, Oregon ensemble has become a festival fave. Watch out for spattering blood.”
ALEXANDER ZALBEN (PRODUCER OF SKETCHFEST:NYC) – GELF MAGAZINE
"Third Floor" I love. They did one of the best sketch shows I've ever seen, which was their set in Portland Sketchfest last year. They have really big-budget, high-concept sketch comedy, while also being really incredible actors."
TRAV S.D. - TIME OUT NEW YORK
"Standouts among the visiting companies (to Sketchfest:NYC) include Portland's The 3rd Floor, whose arsenal includes a knack for absurd situations like a foaming-at-the-mouth presentation by a rabid salesman."
JUSTIN SANDERS – THE PORTLAND MERCURY
“The 3rd Floor cast is one of the better acting ensembles to be found in Portland, and their technical crew recreates styles and eras with exceptional success…across the board features great performances and stellar production values. T3F knows what they’re doing…a talented, confident and very funny sketch comedy troupe.”
KEVIN CHESLEY – PRETTYWITTY.COM
“And certain groups are becoming well-respected in the sketch community. Portland’s Festival, unapologetically entitled The Best Of The Best, culls its line-up from the groups it considers to be innovating the face of sketch comedy. And where do those groups try earning that distinction? At the Festivals. With groups like The 3rd Floor and Hoskins and Breen, Portland itself is a city whose sketch community is fiercely inventive. The press and the area audience are learning this year by year.”
ERIC LARSON – WILLAMETTE WEEK
“Take some Saturday Night Live, add a splash of audio and video interludes, a sprinkle of naughty language, a lot more rehearsal time, and you’ve got a pretty good grip on The 3rd Floor’s sketch comedy triumph…inspires true-blue, belly-aching laughs…The sketches are chaotic but surprisingly polished, and the communication between these performers is a rare treat.”
SAM CROW – OUR TOWN
“…well constructed, with elaborate changes of set and costume throughout…The 3rd Floor is irreverent, vulgar and very, very funny…deftly blends slapstick comedy, absurdist …a terrific evening of comedy”
STEFFEN SILVIS – WILLAMETTE WEEK
“…a number of pieces…which are close to genius…The 3rd Floor company is strong”
ANDREW SIMPSON – ANODYNE MAGAZINE
“…intelligent, classy and (dare I say) consistently hilarious…”
BONNIE FAZIO – PORTLANDCITYSEARCH.COM
“…audiences want sketch comedy to make them laugh, and (The 3rd Floor) provides many opportunities to do so.”
JENNIFER MCILHENNY – THE OREGONIAN
“…intensely funny, affordable, mind-blowing…intelligent, often demented extreme sketch comedy”
BRIAN POSEN – PRODUCER OF THE CHICAGO SKETCHFEST
“They are inspirational. Their work continues to affect many artists, especially here in Chicago. They continue to raise the bar with their consistent excellence they bring to Chicago.”
THE NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY NEWSPAPER
“The 3rd Floor boasted a diverse variety of characters and an incisive eye for social and cultural commentary that kept the sketches ahead of the audience, but never quite out of reach…The 3rd Floor killed.”
TOUSSAINT PERRAULT – THE PORTLAND MERCURY
“The 3rd Floor's newest sketch collection plays like a rock show, with a series of holiday gags interrupted only by adoring applause and the busting of guts. The sketch ensemble seems to have come of age with Holiday, finally achieving the nearly impossible combination of crass immaturity and sophisticated speed. It's probably a better idea to celebrate the holidays with the 3rd Floor than with your own family, because the comedians are faster, funnier, and look better in drag. Most importantly, there's not a scene-stealing drama turd in the whole bunch.”
HOLLY JOHNSON – THE OREGONIAN
“Strong characterizations, sharp timing and intelligent material at every turn…a must-see for comedy lovers…the ideas percolating are smart and funny…These are good brains at work. How much fun they must have putting this stuff together!”
MASON WEST – WILLAMETTE WEEK
“…laugh-out-loud hilarious…the cast plays each role with enthusiasm and a variety that gives each member a shining moment…on the whole, it’s a gas, and a pleasant alternative to an evening sitting on your ass in front of the tube.”