Hawaii’s First Sketch Comedy Fest Needs You

Kimee Balmilero

My first introduction to Kimee Balmilero was on “Hi-5,” a kids’ show on Discovery Kids that my family would watch. (We had our TiVo set to always have the last ten episodes on tap.) My wife, who has a good sense of these things, said, “Kimee sounds local.” Sure enough, a quick Google revealed that she was a Castle High School graduate who had made it to Broadway and then TV.

She visited home often, leading improv workshops while in town, and returned full-time to Honolulu in 2012. She dove headlong into the local music and arts scene, teaching improv, musical theater, stage presence, public speaking, storytelling and other skills. She’s worked with BizGym, LeiHut, and Mid-Pacific Institute.

Having fostered the love of improv in the islands, Kimee is now organizing a special event next year to celebrate sketch comedy and local theater. She’s launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to make The Hawaii Sketch Comedy Festival a reality.

“We will have two fun filled days of some major LOLs featuring live shows, screenings, panels, workshops and more.” she explains. “We wanna help revive the golden comedic days of ‘Raps Hawaii’ and ‘Booga Booga’ and to showcase the creative entrepreneurs of the world: writers, actors, comedians, directors, videographers and more.”

“In addition to wanting to make people laugh, [the festival] is dedicated to empowering artists — the creative entrepreneurs of our world,” Kimee adds.

The goal is to raise $10,000 by January 22. The money will go toward space rentals and travel and lodging for “master instructors.” The funds will also help promote the event via badges, shirts, stickers, and other marketing material. And Kimee notes that the event’s main organizing entity is StoryU Arts, a division of the non-profit BizGym Foundation.

As with most crowdfunding campaigns, there are perks for backers. For $10 you’ll get a sticker, for $30 a T-shirt, and you get tickets to the main events (and a shirt) for $75. Indiegogo is also the way to sign on as a silver, gold, or platinum sponsor, and for $5,000, you can be the event’s title sponsor.

The Hawaii Sketch Comedy Festival already has a date (March 28-29, 2015) and a main venue (the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theater). But to make the magic happen, it needs your support.

For more information, visit HiSketchFest.com, the Indiegogo page, or follow the event on Facebook, on Twitter, or on Instagram.

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