As a student at Knox College, Naperville native Dave Urlakis double majored in theater and economics. When it came time to choose which way to go, he couldn't.
"Two roads diverged in the woods," Urlakis jokes, "and I took them both."
11th Annual Chicago Sketch Comedy FestivalWhat: 162 performances by various groups
When: Performance times vary; fest runs from Thursday, Jan. 5, through Sunday, Jan. 15. Urlakis & Cusick perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, and 11 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14
Where: Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago
Tickets: $14-$15 per show or $160 for the full festival. Call (773) 327-5252 or go to chicagosketchfest.com
Nine years after graduation, Urlakis maintains this double life. By day, he is the director of marketing and analytics at Jellyvision, a Chicago-based high-tech media company. By night, Urlakis is one half of a comedy duo.
The first job is a bit harder to explain. "I'm in charge of reporting on, and marketing, the interactive, rich media experiences that we create for Fortune 500 companies," Urlakis says.
His second job calls for teaming with Chicagoan Sean Cusick as Urlakis & Cusick. Their two-person comedy show just completed a well-received run at Stage 773 and is part of the 2012 Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, which runs through Jan. 15.
Urlakis and Cusick met a couple of years ago, when they were both ensemble members in a comedy poking fun at religious hypocrisy, "Best Church of God." "It was like 'The Colbert Report' for church," Urlakis says.
One night, the two comedians were backstage, joking around, waiting for their cue to go back on.
"We were pretending to be these two Eastern European vaudeville performers who were very depressed," Urlakis recalls.
They had so much fun, they decided to form their own act.
"Of course we have never used those two characters ever again," Urlakis says with a laugh.
The first time they performed together was at last year's Sketchfest.
"We are a little smart and we are a little geeky," Urlakis explains. "We tend to start off with some kind of intellectual observation and then go off the rails, take a left turn and follow it."