SF Sketchfest Day 16: Theme Park make for unusual Rockettes

Michael Hitchcock, John Michael Higgins, Rachel Dratch and Ian Brennan form a kickline in Theme Park Improv at the Brava Theater, 2/7/14.  Photo by Tommy Lau.

Theme Park — consisting of Ian Brennan (co-creator of “Glee”), Rachel Dratch (“Saturday Night Live”), John Michael Higgins (“A Mighty Wind”), Michael Hitchcock (“Best in Show”), Jessica Makinson (“Halfway Home”), and SF Sketchfest co-founders Cole Stratton and Janet Varney — took to the Brava Theatre stage for two sets of lively improvisation. Aided by stories from guest monologist Kevin Pollak (“The Usual Suspects”), their free-flowing bits included a Carnegie-Hall ghost, Aquaman and his unusual talents, a militaristic first grade class, low-stakes prank shows, and (as seen here) a band of misfits somehow initiated into the Rockettes.

SF Sketchfest Day 15: SF Sketchfest Honors Alan Arkin on February 6th


Alan Arkin chats with Kevin Pollak before the screening of the “The In-Laws” at it’s 35th anniversary at the 13th annual SF Sketchfest at the Castro Theatre on Thursday February 6, 2014. Photo by Jakub Mosur

Alan Arkin & Kevin Pollak spoke for over an hour, treating fans to delicious tidbits and impersonations, diving into Arkin’s career, and their past work toghether. Arkin shared about the old days, when he was asked to come to Chicago: “I didn’t think of myself as particularly funny when I got the job. I thought, ‘Ok, I’ll go to Chicago and I’ll work for a hundred dollars for the rest if my life… but then, instead of it being the end of everything, it was the beginning.” They discussed how to choose work, and how to keep a balance between life and ‘making the donuts,’ and the inability to turn down a great script. (On Little Miss Sunshine: “I read the first ten pages and it was all pain. Then I started laughing and I kept laughing for the next hundred pages.”) They introduced “The In-Laws” by talking about how the project started. Arkin saw actor Peter Falk on a talks how and had an instinct they’d work well together. That was it – he recalled that he’d read Blazing Saddles and thought it was the funniest thing he’d ever read, called Andrew Bergman and said, “write a relationship where Peter drives me nuts!’ “Two months later, he came back with an almost perfect script” The delighted Castro crowd rose for a standing ovation when Arkin appeared, and when he exited the stage.

SF Sketchfest Day 14: Polish Dancing, Myth Busting and Puzzles at NPR’s Ask Me Another


The audience watches NPR’s Ask Me Another recording with Ophira Eisenberg, Jonathan Coulton, Art Chung and special guests Danny Pudi, Adam Savage, and Farhad Manjoo at the 13th annual SF Sketchfest at the Castro Theatre on Wednesday February 5, 2014. Photo credit: Jakub Mosur

Much fun was had at NPR’s Ask Me Another with special guests MythBusters’s Adam Savage & Danny Pudi Thursday, February 6 at the Castro Theatre. Adam Savage hosted a round of mythbusting trvia, and Danny Pudi tried to avoid being typecast any further (he reveled he’s played five different characters named Sanjay), by showing off his Polish dancing and singing talent. Danny contributed to some Mythbusting of his own, sharing his teenage explorations in starting fires. (A bush can burn: confirmed; stop, drop and roll works efficiently: busted.) Hosts Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton created San Francisco centric puzzles, and one could hear audience members in the Castro whispering the answers, straining not to shout them out. After local puzzlers went head to head, Danny presented the winner, crossword aficionado Tyler Hinman, with a Polish and Indian flags.

SF Sketchfest Staff Picks: Sponsorship/Events Consultant Liz Duran

It’s Wednesday afternoon, and there are still 78 shows left to see during SF Sketchfest 2014! To guide you through the remaining schedule, we’ve asked staff to share their picks for this year’s fest. 

Meet Liz Duran, from SF’s Mission District. Liz is a veteran SF Sketchfest staff member, volunteer and fan. She is a skilled clandestine party negotiator and complimentary cocktail provider. You can thank her for the Lyfts, and all those thirst-quenching bottles of Aquahydrate, plus the Pop Chips that make your mouth water, too. This is her seventh SF Sketchfest behind the scenes!

Name: Liz Duran

SFSF Position: Sponsorship SUPERWOMAN!

# of SF Sketchfests you’ve worked: 7

Show/Shows you’re most excited for this year: Bridget Everett and the Chris Gethard Show.

Why: An amazing voice, dirty jokes, dismembered dolls and lots of nip-slips. That’s referring to Bridget Everett, not Chris Gethard, but Chris is pretty wonderful, too.

Favorite SF Sketchfest memory: Every Jimmy Pardo’s Match Games. Bring it back!

Favorite venue in SF: Verdi Club


In honor SF Sketchfest turning 13, Liz shared this adorable photo of her trendsetting self at 13. 

SF Sketchfest Day 12: Killing My Lobster and Dale Radio play to a packed house at the Eureka


Killing My Lobster, James Bewley aka Dale Seever, his guests and host Nicole Calasich backstage at the Eureka. 

On Monday, February 3, the double bill of Dale Radio and Killing My Lobster filled the Eureka for a night of nonstop laughter. Host Nicole Calasich warmed up the crowd with a quick set about slutty grandmothers, and accruing Save the Dates and their acronym. Dale Seever, caped in gold, greeted the audience, running up and down the aisles before introducing his guests Mary Van NoteDuckwrthAngus MacLaneMarc Vogl and Paul Charney. Killing My Lobster performed to the cheers of their loyal hometown fans, concluding in a six minute rock opera.