Andy Buzan

Final sketch: laughing all the way

If this is truly the end, Portland's 3rd Floor is going out with a comedy bang with "The Final Chapter"

The image of a woman bouncing a pajama-clad child in her arms brings with it suggestions of care, concern and comfort, perhaps even a sense of warm nostalgia for when we were young, too. But if the fleece-clad moppet actually is well over five feet tall and pushing 40, you know the world you’re observing has another agenda: to make you laugh.

Then again, comedy and sentimentality both are at work in The 3rd Floor XXXIII: the Final Chapter, playing at Miracle Theater Fridays and Saturdays through December 19. After nearly two decades as Portland’s sketch-comedy powerhouse, the 3rd Floor is billing this as its final creation — so you might say they really are rocking their baby to sleep.

The 3rd Floor: comedy at the upper levels.

The 3rd Floor: comedy at the upper levels.

Co-founder Ted Douglass told The Oregonian that the group is considering a 20th anniversary greatest-hits finale next summer, and no doubt such a show would have plenty to draw on. The 3rd Floor not only served as de facto center for a community of local sketch and improv purveyors, with more than 50 actors cycling through its ranks, but it established a national reputation among its comedy peers, both through touring and by hosting an annual sketch festival for several years. In 2010, the group even toyed with a more cohesive, story-driven approach (y’know … a play) with its film noir-inspired dark comedy Killing Time, which Douglass described as “Double Indemnity with time machines.”

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