The Opening Night of SF Sketchfest 2015 kicked off with two big shows.

SF Sketchfest 2015
Jakub Mosur

At the Marines Memorial, w00tstock Founders Night, treated audiences to almost four hours of geeky good times. Paul & Storm serenaded the crowd, moving an audience member to toss pink panties onto the stage within moments of the first strums. Rebecca Watson presented a slideshow on how she’s learned to handle internet trolls. Wil Wheaton told a story about how he tried to be a hero but ended up scaring a woman in a Trader Joe’s parking lot. Adam Savage mentioned how last year during Sketchfest was the first time his twin sons watched his act. They perched in the wings and he absentmindedly talked about penises quite a bit, which embarrassed them. He mentioned they were there again for Opening Night, which influenced his decision to choose juggling as a safer subject. Everyone took the stage for the final sing-along (Adam Savage, Wil Wheaton, John Roderick, Paul and Storm, Rebecca Watson and Jason Finn), which devolved into free riffing that was one of the funniest, silliest half-hours San Francisco audiences have been treated to since last year’s w00tstock.

cenac vance muse
Dan Dion

At Cobb’s, Night Train with Wyatt Cenac presented cream of the crop comedians Natasha Muse, Maronzio Vance, Phoebe Robinson and Cameron Esposito. Their sets tackled gender, race, romance, sleep lurkers, periods, and pubic hair.

esposito robinson
Dan Dion

Thanks to “As Seen at the Fest” contributors Jeff Lang and Morgan Davis.


Janet Varney
SF Sketchfest co-founder Janet Varney selects a few favorite “under the radar” shows happening on the first weekend of the festival.

Julie Brown Homecoming QueenJanet: First of all, “I Made You a Mixtape” wins for having one of my favorite titles for a show. As if that weren’t incentive enough to get excited, it’s a show that features some of my favorite LA sketch and music performers: Ric Barbera, Brice Beckham, Eli Braden, Pam Cook, David Fickas, Rachel Lawrence, Liam Sullivan and Kirk Zipfel. Together and separately, they’ve put together some of the most funny and creative shows I’ve seen at the famed Acme Theatre. Plus there’s Oakland faves Fancy Ketchup! Mix it up on Friday the 23rd, 8pm at Doc’s Lab

philHendrie588x226Next, because I am a fan of anything remotely “modern jackass” (heads up, “This American Life” fans), I’m excited about “You’re the Expert” with Chris Duffy. It’s a ridiculously fun show where b.s. academia takes center stage, thanks to guests Wyatt Cenac, Nato Green and Phoebe Robinson. Off-the-cuff absurdity at its best, Saturday the 24th at 8pm at the Eureka!

Van JamThen there’s the crazy talented James Adomian. In addition to doing some of the best impressions you’ll ever see, he’s an incredible actor, writer and standup. “James Adomain and Friends” has a heap of awesome guests to boot: Janine Brito, Faith Choyce, Sean Donnelly, and Phoebe Robinson. That’s Saturday the 24th at 10:30pm at the perennially cool Verdi Club.

Check Facebook for more staff selections and picks from the co-founders through out the fest.


Janet Varney
SF Sketchfest co-founder David Owen selects a few favorite “under the radar” shows happening on the first weekend of the festival.

Julie Brown Homecoming QueenDavid: My first pick is Brian McCann and his alcohol-fueled one-man variety show on Jan 23, 8pm at the Eureka Theatre. Brian is a former writer and sketch performer for ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien,’ and I always laughed SO HARD at his characters on that show, like ‘Preparation H Raymond,’ ‘S&M Abe Lincoln’ and ‘Robot on a Toilet.’ Everything about this man is funny.

philHendrie588x226Second, I’m really excited about Shouting at the Screen with Wyatt Cenac and Donwill, on Jan 23, 11pm at the Roxie Theatre. Wyatt and Donwill have chosen 1973 Blaxploitation action film “That Man Bolt” starring Fred Williamson that they will make fun of as it screens, and lead the audience in interactive games.

Van JamFinally, I’m always really proud of the SF Sketchfest Dozen series, which spotlights twelve of the top up-and-coming stand-up comedians. This is our fifth year of doing it, and in the past it has featured people like Chelsea Peretti, Kumail Nanjiani, Pete Holmes and Jen Kirkman. Our first two pairings happen Jan 23 and 24 at the Punch Line, with the awesome Mark Normand and Michelle Wolf on one show, and the equally awesome Sean Donnelly and Maronzio Vance on the other.”

Check Facebook for more staff selections and picks from the co-founders through out the fest.


Cole Stratton1
SF Sketchfest co-founder Cole Stratton selects a few favorite “under the radar” shows happening on the first weekend of the festival.

Julie Brown Homecoming QueenCole: “I’ll kick things off with Julie Brown’s “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Musical!” Julie Brown is a supremely talented and hilarious woman who not only starred in her own MTV series and films like “Earth Girls Are Easy” and “Shakes the Clown,” she’s also put out amazing musical comedy albums — she’s known for songs like “‘Cuz I’m a Blonde” and Homecoming Queen, which she fleshed out into a full-length, ridiculously funny and campy musical. The cast is amazing and you’ll have a great time. Two shows at Brava Theater on Jan 24, 7pm and 10pm.

philHendrie588x226Second, Phil Hendrie returns to the fest for two shows on Jan 23 at Stage Werx (7:30pm and 10pm). He’s known for his radio show in which he not only hosts as himself, but calls in as an array of crazy characters and carries on hilarious conversations — between himself. Onstage, it’s a jaw-dropping comedic turn that has to be seen to be believed!

Van Jam Finally, Van Jam! Hosted by The Spanglers (Jamie Flam and my Pop My Culture co-host Vanessa Ragland), it’s a great night of stand-up with a fantastic backing band that plays along while they do their sets, producing a great mash up of music and punchlines. The guests are top notch — Leo Allen, Jon Daly, Morgan Murphy and the great Emo Philips. See the s@%! out of it on Jan 24 at 10:30pm at Stage Werx.” 

Stay tuned for co-founders David Owen and Janet Varney to share their selections for this coming weekend.  

SF Sketchfest Staff Picks: Michelle O’Mirth, Volunteer Manager

Still combing the schedule for this year’s not-to-miss shows? To help you out, we’ve asked staff to share their picks for this year’s fest. 

Meet Michelle, our longest reigning staff member, after the founders. She’s a proud bibliophile, with a breadth of pointless facts, and a wordsmith (check out her greeting card line: Gobsmack’d Greetings) with a background in events: she used to juggle 150 a year! Her talents come together each year at SF Sketchfest, where she is our beloved Volunteer Manager, who occasionally moonlights as House Manager. Also, Michelle is a peaty scotch enthusiast, who would like you to know she wore glasses long before the nerd girl fanciers made it trendy again. If this resonates with you, check out her staff pick!

What you do for SFSF: Manage the SF Sketchfest volunteer army, wrangle lines, house manage venues, sell t-shirts, tell amusing anecdotes in the lobby, whatever is needed. 

# of SF Sketchfests you’ve worked: 13Almost all. I went to the first one as an audience member and then just stuck around doing this and that for each one after.

Show/Shows you’re most excited for this year: The Tribute to Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer

Why: I still fall into hysterics when I watch the Stonehenge scene in This Is Spinal Tap and I think Big Bottom is in the Top 25 on my iPod. And I love hearing talented people who create, comedy, art or whatever, talk shop.   

Favorite venue in SF: California Academy of Sciences

Favorite SF Sketchfest Moment: One of my favorite things over the years is seeing all the kids interested in comedy or improv who volunteer at SF Sketchfest because they love comedy and want to see shows, who then come back a few years later as performers in the festival. Talk about your circle of life, Mufasa.

Michelle O'Mirth
Michelle hard at work, scheduling SF Sketchfest Volunteer Shifts!