The Dark Eyed Strangers began when Brandon Campbell and Brad Helm met at the Second City Writing Program in the spring of 2002. Intrigued that both shared the exact same height and weight, the two quickly formed a life long friendship that was sure to endure for many years. Campbell and Helm cast James Chafin and Terry O'Reilly in the program's graduation performance and shortly thereafter the four began collborating. Meridith Crosley and Matt Bolser were invited to round and short out the troupe. Considered the 'classic quintet' by DES afficianados, this group burned a swath through the Chicago sketch community with it's well honed good looks and amazing displays of upper-body strength.

The group agreed immediately that their approach to sketch comedy would be as theatrical as possible, featuring heightened production values and an array of dramatic conventions rarely utilized in sketch presentations. The Dark Eyed Strangers avoid political and topical material, focusing instead on character interaction and finding humor and resonance in darker, more unforgiving subject matter. Heavily influenced by Greco-Roman theatre, early work would culminate in Campbell leg wrestling audience members while Helm lifted a pregnant woman above his head.

The Dark Eyed Strangers Debut came during November 2003 in a double-header with sketch duo Perfect Gentlemen. DES received acclaim and an extended review from the Chicago Reader's Jack Helbing, who offered that DES are "utterly fearles ... they are going straight to the top." After another new show - "The Peach Colored Transaction" - and appearances at Chicago Sketchfest 2004 and 2005, Campbell's general lack of integrity as well as Helm's spiraling weight gain forced many in the troupe to reconsider their participation. Crosley and O'Reilly each moved away from town while Bolser and Chafin began to focus more on less degrading enteprises.

Campbell and Helm attempted to produce a more erotically charged two-man show, but Helm's out of control lifestyle and weight gain made this unfeasible. After a brief hiatus, the freshly slimmed down 350 lb. Helm again teamed up with on again/off again lifelong friend Campbell who - with the help of artisanal tea drinking, the reading of Slate on a laptop, as well as the purchase of numerous Apple products and a Volkswagon - again found himself a caring and progressive individual.

The exceedingly talented Lacy Coil and Campbell's fellow Third Floor alum Tony St.Clair were brought into the group for new shows as well as annual appearances at Chicago Sketchfest. This was all like 2 years ago, but since the person typing this doesn't have new info and this thing is already way longer then anything anyone ever reads on a computer, forget it. Kelly Bolton joined after Lacy wised up and left. Then fricking Tony moved out of state and last I heard Campbell was doing something with puppets (?). So who knows. Maybe if you bought an iron-on they might perform more.