SF Sketchfest was founded in 2001 by David Owen, Cole Stratton and Janet Varney as a way to showcase the talents of six Bay Area sketch comedy groups: The Fresh Robots, Kasper Hauser, The Meehan Brothers, Please Leave the Bronx, Totally False People and White Noise Radio Theatre. The festival debuted in January of 2002 at the Shelton Theatre in downtown San Francisco and has grown rapidly into a nationally recognized comedy festival that mixes national headliners, local favorites and the best up-and-coming groups from throughout North America for a month of sketch, improv, stand-up and alternative comedy. A favorite with audiences, critics, and performers alike, the festival has grown substantially to become a highly anticipated artistic showcase that consistently delivers top quality comedic performances, tributes and panel discussions. To learn about past participants, visit the Archive and Photos pages.
Audiences have overwhelmingly responded to SF Sketchfest’s diverse programming which has featured performers from every major North American television comedy smash of the last 25 years including Saturday Night Live, The Kids in the Hall, Mr. Show, Arrested Development, The Upright Citizens Brigade, The State, Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Strangers With Candy, The Simpsons, The Daily Show and more. SF Sketchfest offers its audiences the rare opportunity to see their favorite performers in intimate live performances and discussions.
David Owen co-founded SF Sketchfest in 2001 with Cole Stratton and Janet Varney. Along with Stratton, Varney and Gabriel Diani, he was a founding member of the comedy group Totally False People, which was featured at SF Sketchfest, the HBO Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen and SketchFest Seattle. He wrote, co-directed and co-starred in the feature film Stuck, which is distributed by Film Threat, and has worked as a Festival Producer with the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Mill Valley Film Festival and the Stanford Jazz Festival. At The Purple Onion he presented Zach Galifianakis, Todd Barry, Judah Friedlander, Matt Besser and the legendary Mort Sahl. He is on the Board of Directors for Comedy Day in Golden Gate Park and he lives in San Francisco.
Cole Stratton is co-host of the hit podcast Pop My Culture (popmyculturepodcast.com, iTunes, and Nerdist.com) along with Vanessa Ragland, in which they discuss movies, television and music with celebrity guests. The show as named the #2 Best Comedy Podcast of the Moment by Rolling Stone and one of the Ten Best Comedy Podcasts by IFC and Mashable.com. He has appeared on TV’s Nash Bridges, America’s Most Wanted, The Retrievers, Yo Momma, and was a cast member on NBC’s Comedy Colosseum. Film work includes Callback (opposite Kevin Farley), Around the Fire, Dead Man on Campus, and The Selling. He’s hawked wares in national commercials for Verizon, Popeye’s Chicken, a Wilco-scored VW spot, and a five-spot campaign for Group Health. Along with Janet Varney, he has written and performed downloadable comedic commentary to the films Dirty Dancing, Ghost, Footloose, Poltergeist, The Lost Boys, Jaws 3D and Flatliners for RiffTrax.com, an online venture helmed by Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s Michael J. Nelson. Find him at colestratton.com and on Twitter: @colestratton.
Janet is a writer, producer, actor and improviser who currently works as a Host/Producer at the Huffington Post’s new network, HuffPost Live. She also hosts the innovative podcast The JV Club (featuring guests including Connie Chung, Christina Hendricks, Gillian Jacobs and more) and is the voice of the title character on Nickelodeon’s wildly popular animated show, The Legend of Korra. She spent seven years hosting TBS’ Dinner and a Movie and has appeared on numerous television series and films including Entourage, How I Met Your Mother, and Psych.
2013 Festival Staff:
Founders and Directors – David Owen, Cole Stratton, Janet Varney
PR Director – Sheila Kenny, Right On! PR
Publicity Consultant – Cindy Lang, CidLang Media
Sponsorship and Events Director – Elizabeth Duran
Volunteer Manager – Michelle Mitchell
Theater Managers – Sarah Bernat, Michelle Mitchell, Katie Ambellan
Artist Services Coordinators – Tia Mignonne, Andrea Runge, Beau Blanchard, Jenni Rowland
Technical Production Manager – Heather Gallagher
Technical Assistants – Jon Bastian, Ashley Taylor Frampton, Tyler Null, Will Scovill, Kevin Sweetser, Robert West
Box Office Manager – Cara Tramontano
Marketing Coordinator – Nikki DeMartini
Festival Coordinators – Star Bronson, Casey Ley, Clare O’Kane, Jay Wertzler, Heather Wilson
2013 Poster Artwork – Dave Perillo
Graphic Design – Sheridon Keith Design
Website Rebrand – Christopher Ryan / MORE & CO.
Web/Email Design – Sara Holt, Cole Stratton
Trailer – Brice Beckham & David Fickas, Drama 3/4 Productions
Lead Photography – Jakub Mosur
Photographers – Steve Agee, Jennifer Berge, Rhiannon Charisse, Troy Conrad, Dan Dion, Liezl Estipona, Tommy Lau, Erin Lubin, Rachael Porter
Videography – Jim Granato, Daniel Plotnick
Fred Armisen – Saturday Night Live
Matt Besser – Co-Founder, Upright Citizens Brigade
Bart Coleman – Producer, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
Dave Eggers – McSweeney’s
Bruce McCulloch – Kids in the Hall
Eugene Mirman – Comedian; Co-Founder, The Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival
Laraine Newman – Original SNL Cast Member; Co-Founder, The Groundlings
Bob Odenkirk – Mr. Show
Molly Schminke – The Punch Line
Michael Showalter – The State/Stella
David Wain – The State/Stella
Geof Wills – Vice President, Live Nation