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 the HBO Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. Outside of SF Sketchfest he has produced dozens of other festivals and events. He is currently the Cinema Curator for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and a co-curator of comedy at Outside Lands. He has worked as a Festival Producer for the San Francisco
International Film Festival, the Mill Valley Film Festival and the Stanford Jazz Festival. At the famed Purple Onion he presented Zach Galifianakis and Mort Sahl, among others. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.
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 based in Los Angeles, which is in California, which is in the United States (see globe). She hosts the innovative podcast The JV Club (featuring guests including Sarah Silverman, Connie Chung, Christina Hendricks, 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, worked as host and story producer at The Huffington Post’s network HuffPost Live, and has appeared on numerous television series and films including Entourage, How I Met Your Mother, Psych, and in the Emmy Award-nominated Burning Love.
2014 Festival Staff:
Founders and Directors – David Owen, Cole Stratton, Janet Varney
Systems and Operations Manager – Jay Wertzler
PR Director – Sheila Kenny, Right On! PR
Publicity and Social Media Coordinator – Morgan Davis
Publicity Assistant – Rachel Kang
Volunteer Manager – Michelle Mitchell
Artist Services Team – Aaron Hansen
Artist Services Coordinator – Lana Dandan
Transportation Coordinator – Frank Kimball
Hospitality Coordinator – Samia Salfity
Hospitality Assistant – Stephanie Gerbracht
Production Manager and Technical Director – Heather Gallagher
Assistant Technical Director – Ashley Taylor Frampton
Technicians – Nic Atamaniuk, Glenn Davy, Sean McStravick, Tyler Null, Will Scovill, Kevin Sweetser, Dylan West, Robert West
Box Office Manager – Cara Tramontano
Marketing Consultant – Jaime Galli
Marketing Assistant – Kaleigh Gaynor
Sponsorship Consultant – Elizabeth Duran
Events Assistants – Annie Abernethy, Hayden Greif-Neill, Johnny Navarro
Festival Coordinators – Beau Blanchard, Star Bronson, Sarah Crisman, Nikki DeMartini, Morgan Peirce, Andrea Runge, Heather Wilson
Theater/Box Office Staff – Sarah Bernat, Luisa Cardoza, Sarah Cathers, Gyllian Christiansen, Nick Friedman, Erin Klenow, Leah LoSchiavo, Austin Smith, Julie Stallone, Mitch Vaughn, Rick Warren
2014 Poster Artwork – Dave Perillo
Graphic Design – Sheridon Keith Design
Web/Email Design – Sara Holt
Trailer –Brice Beckham & David Fickas, Drama 3/4 Productions
Lead Photography – Jakub Mosur
Photographers – Steve Agee, Ben Dennis, Dan Dion, Liezl Estipona, Tommy Lau
Videography – Jim Granato, Daniel Plotnick