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From SF Gate

January 19, 2005
By Beth Lisick

It’s that time of year again where you wonder exactly how those sketch-comedy groups arrive at names like Burglars of Hamm, Something With Genitals and Hard ‘n Phirm. I caught last Saturday’s Sketchfest late show of Clifford & Kidd and Sequel 4000 , names I could live with until I saw their comedy. Then I loved them and found them delightful.

Clifford & Kidd are two ladies, Carrie Clifford and Amy Kidd , who make you want to spaz out with your best friend, but only if you both are actually talented and funny. After an uncomfortable opening dance number that I like to think was created for the sole purpose of letting the audience heave a sigh of relief once the sketches started, they launched into a live audition for “The Amazing Race,” which hit all the salient points about why identical twins who are really into being identical twins are annoying. My very favorite was “It’s Just Lunch,” in which two insanely boring women meet for iced tea when their online profiles match up. “On my way over here, I thought I saw Meg Ryan,” one says. “But it wasn’t her. It was just someone who looked a lot like her.” After an awkward pause, the other one just monotones, “Whew. Close one.” More awkward pauses.

Sequel 4000, returning for their second year, almost seemed like a completely different group from last January. The trio, founded by absurdly talented impressionist Colin Mahan and crack writer Stephen T. Brophy , now includes hot-to-trot smartypants Janet Varney , formerly of Totally False People and a producer of Sketchfest. Dressed in white shirts and ties, Sequel 4000 can still barely shield their contempt for the modern world, but they’ve grown way more adept at performing their tightly constructed scripts.

Less about creating fun characters who get into wacky situations than before (OK, it’s not at all about that), their show is a dark, relentless critique of corporate media and celebrity, where even the prerecorded ring from a cell phone sounds like a nauseating squawk of mindless chatter. Sponsored by a fictional corporation that owns just about everything, the group doesn’t mind getting ugly. In fact, they prefer it: “When you watch the sun rise through a veil of tears with a gun in your mouth, think MegaCorp.”

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