No plans this weekend? Don't worry. We've got you. It's going to be cold. It's going to be dreary—but even if it wasn't, we'd still want to head to the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, the nation's largest festival of its kind. This fun and fabulous event wraps up on Sunday, January 17, so you can still add a little extra LOL to your weekend.
To celebrate this short-lived occasion, we're highlighting South Side Chicago native Jill Valentine, executive director of the festival and the director of operations at Stage 773, a non-profit theater venue. Oh, and she's also the executive producer and founder of the Chicago Women's Funny Festival, which takes place every June.
What inspires you in work and life and why? My family and friends are what inspire me. I call them the “hide the body” people. If you kill someone, these would be the people that would help you hide the body. These are the cheerleaders, tear-wipers, and funniest people I know who will sit on the bar stool next to you and talk to you straight. I want them to be proud of me and what I am doing on stage and off. I also know some of the strongest women on earth. Some I am related to and some are family not by blood. All of them inspire me and challenge me in work and in life.
What's the best advice you've ever received and who gave it to you? “Go for the gold” was something my dad would always say. He would tell my sisters and I that we could be anything we wanted. I wanted to be a comedian, which was a very male-dominated art form, but because he instilled those basic principles I didn’t flinch. I didn’t want to be the best female comedian in the room; I wanted to be the best comedian in the room. So, I went for the gold.