Fans of critically acclaimed mid 90’s sitcoms were in for a treat on Saturday, January 24th, as half of the original cast of “NewsRadio” reunited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the show. Dave Foley, Andy Dick, Khandi Alexander and Stephen Root were on hand to share stories from the set and answer questions from the rapt audience. Moderated by writer/producer Joe Furey, the fivesome reminisced about auditioning for the show, battling with the network over creative control, partying with the band Anthrax, and countless other on-set shenanigans. They dished about their favorite episodes and guest stars (psst! it was Adam West), and which co-stars they had crushes on. Many of their fondest recollections from the show involved the late, great Phil Hartman, and they lovingly paid tribute to him on several occasions. All the actors were in hilariously fine form, and it was evident to all that they all treasured their time working together on their brilliantly irreverent show.
Saturday evening audiences were treated to a very special live anniversary show of “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist,” celebrating the 20th anniversary of its first episode this May. With Tom Snyder at the keys, and Dr. Katz ready with a notebook, a “couch” and a box of tissues, he chatted with “son” Jon Benjamin, and helped patients Ron Funches, Pete Holmes, Morgan Murphy and Emo Philips. Morgan Murphy took the hot seat, revealing: “I’m single,” and Dr. Katz gave her sound advice: “Before you love somebody else, you need to love yourself.” He paused. “Can you do that for a moment?”
After being soundly nurtured by Dr. Katz and the Marines Memorial audience, Morgan Murphy hopped over to North Beach to join guests Derrick Brown, Jon Daly, John Darnielle and Emo Philips for a soldout Invite Them Up with Eugene Mirman & Bobby Tisdale.
Thanks to “As Seen at the Fest” contributors Pete Merriman and Morgan Davis.
SF Sketchfest co-founder David Owen selects a few favorite “under the radar” shows happening weekend two!
David: We receive a lot of great submissions from performers all over the country and this year the one that made me laugh the most was “Vanessa Gonzalez presents I Don’t Know Words,” from Austin, Texas. I had never heard of Vanessa but I was immediately in awe of her total commitment to character and how damn funny she was. She just seems like someone we’re going to be seeing on “Saturday Night Live” soon. She’s part of two Dark Room showcases. One on Friday, January 30 at 10:30pm and one on Saturday, January 31 at 8:00pm.
To get a chance to see some of the next wave of big stand-up comedy stars do extended sets, don’t miss the SF Sketchfest Dozen on Friday and Saturday, January 30-31 at the Punch Line Comedy Club. Andy Haynes, who has been on “Conan” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” will be co-headlining with Christina Pazsitzky, who was a Round Table Regular and writer on “Chelsea Lately” and is co-host of the podcast “Your Mom’s House.” And an equally cool pairing is Jared Logan, who in the last year has appeared on “The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail” and “@Midnight,” and Eliza Skinner, seen on “Conan” and “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.”
One of my absolute favorite things last year at the festival was attending Fancy Meeting You Here, which involves comedians giving fake docent tours of major art museums. Created and hosted by Carl Arnheiter and Dave Hill and featuring their funny friends, this is a comedy experience like no other. This year they will be doing tours throughout the day on Saturday, January 31 at the Asian Art Museum. As they write in their description: “No painting is too abstract, no art too modern, no study of the human form overlooked.”
Stay tuned for more selections from the founders!
SF Sketchfest co-founder Cole Stratton selects a few favorite “under the radar” shows happening as we head into the second weekend of the festival.
Cole: This is Harland Williams’ first SF Sketchfest, and we’re beyond thrilled to have him. He’s doing a boatload of different shows this weekend, but I’d recommend checking out his headlining show “Harland Williams: A Night of Stand-Up and Sketches with Sean Tweedley.” Harland has an incredibly hilarious point-of-view and fantastic energy and makes me laugh like an idiot. Catch him at Brava Theater this Friday, January 30th at 7:30pm.
Dave Willis and Dana Snyder, two of the madmen behind Aqua Teen Hunger Force, are bringing their goofy ways to Marines’ Memorial Theatre for a night of all-things Aqua Teen on Saturday, January 30th at 7:30pm. I mean, you don’t often get to hang out with Meatwad, Master Shake and Carl, so why miss this opportunity?
If Aqua Teen isn’t your style, then I recommend you check out Charlotte’s Shorts. I caught my final recommendation down at the Groundlings Theater in Los Angeles, and I can tell you that it is a truly delightful night of theater — six actors read various short essays and character monologues written by Charlotte Dean. The cast is outstanding — Jordan Black, Daniele Gaither, Michael Hitchcock, Laraine Newman, Mindy Sterling and Gary Anthony Williams. It’s Saturday, January 30th at 8pm at the Eureka Theater.
SF Sketchfest co-founder Janet Varney selects a few favorite “under the radar” shows as we head into the second weekend of the festival.
Janet: My first pick is coming up quickly- it’s this Thursday at Cobb’s. Justin Willman was first introduced to me by Neil Patrick Harris, who as many people know is a huge magic fan. Then Chris Hardwick met Justin, and now Nerdist is producing Justin’s pilot for Comedy Central. Sorry to drop all of those names right out of the gate, but if you haven’t heard of Justin yet, I guess my point is… you will. So why not get ahead of the game and see him Thursday? Plus, his opener is the extremely talented Marcus Monroe, who won the prestigious Andy Kaufman award and does things onstage that you won’t believe are possible. I’m not kidding. Check them both out on Thursday January 29th at Cobb’s at 8pm!.
Then the following night, we have the inimitable Greg Proops. Here’s the thing: on speculation, I think Greg might actually BE the Smartest Man I know. He’s wickedly funny, incredibly versatile, and has one of the fastest-working brains in comedy. See all of this in action at his “Proopcast” this Friday night, January 30th at Cobb’s at 8pm.
And then from Proops, you can just walk down to Doc’s Lab, the great new venue that took over when the historic Purple Onion closed, and see two of my favorite stand-ups, Aparna Nancherla and Guy Branum in one of our best show titles this festival: Aparna Nancherla & Guy Branum: Diversity Quota: A Night of Comedy with an Indian Lady and a Gay Jew. Need I say more? That’s Friday at 10:30pm at Doc’s Lab. (They also have an 8pm show, but you’ll be at Cobb’s watching The Smartest Man in the World.).
The second night of SF Sketchfest 2015 boasted many (23!) gut busting lineups, not the least of which was two sold out shows featuring Jenny Slate & Friends at the Brava Theater. Her Big Terrific co-star Max Silvestri spoke of his harrowing flight out from New York and the importance of having both of your two front teeth, while Ron Funches (“Undateable”) could barely keep himself from cracking up. Fans looking for extended riffs from Slate on the brilliance of Space Jam and Michael Jordan surely all went home happy.
For the first SF Sketchfest show at Doc’s Lab, Ric Barbera (“I Hate My 30’s!”) joined Brice Beckham (“Mr. Belvedere”) and David Fickas (“Burn Notice”) during I Made You A Mixtape for a few Weezer parodies before launching into an epic acoustic version of The Blue Album classic, “Surf Wax America.” Other highlights included videos from Liam Sullivan (Kelly’s “Shoes”) as Bob Dulap and a few songs from Eli Braden (“Jimmy Kimmel Live”).
StarTalk Live with Bill Nye the Science Guy and Eugene Mirman took place at the beautifully renovated Nourse. The bow-tied science guy was joined by guests Dr. Scott Hubbard, NASA’s first Mars Program Director, and Director of the Solar System Research Virtual Institute at Ames (SSERVI) Dr. Yvonne Pendleton for an exploration of the solar system as our human destination. Mirman’s fellow “Bob’s Burgers” cast member Jon Benjamin (“Archer,” “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist”) joined the conversation as the surprise star.
Jon Benjamin then headed to North Beach for his Cobb’s show: Night of Not Interested In Hosting This Show. He took this literally, apologizing to the audience for the amount they paid for what he deemed would be a lackluster performance. With help from Leo Allen (“Conan O’Brien”), the two proceeded to spend the next ten minutes handing out $3 to everyone in the audience. This was promptly followed up by Benjamin explaining that bit was worth at least a dollar which led to him and Allen heading back out into the audience to get a dollar back from each crowd member. Eugene Mirman (“Bob’s Burgers”) and Janine Brito (“Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell”) and music from John Roderick (The Long Winters) with Jason Finn (The Presidents of the United States of America) rounded out the Cobb’s set.
Check out more photos from the first Saturday of SF Sketchfest on Facebook photo album, or on Instagram: @sf_sketchfest.
Thanks to “As Seen at the Fest” contributors Pete Merriman, Morgan Davis and Jeff Lang.