Laugh-In


From The SF Weekly

January 11, 2006
By Michael Leaverton

Is bad sketch comedy a necessary evil for good sketch comedy to emerge? Saturday Night Live would have you think so: The show has been routinely ripped throughout its three-decade run, but every so often it finds a great performer, cobbles together some good skits, and manufactures a star. The program is seen as a training ground, and many sins are forgiven as long a someone like Will Ferrell strips to a Speedo once in a while. S.F. Sketchfest, however, isn’t about producing middling comedy for Middle America. This 18-day event brings together the nation’s best troupes — and they’ve had much more than a week to polish their work. Like SNL, Sketchfest benefits from a strong hit of star power. Among the marquee names are Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall), who hosts Dead Diva; Rob Corddry (The Daily Show), who performs with the Naked Babies; Will Arnett (Arrested Development), who sits in with the Upright Citizens Brigade; and David Cross (Mr. Show, Arrested Development) and Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show), who essentially await adulation in a Sketchfest tribute. Also on hand are SNL’s Fred Armisen (think Nuni, the European home-design freak), Michael Showalter and David Wain from The State and Stella, local boy Will Franken, and S.F.-based troupe Kasper Hauser.

The best thing? All those names constitute only a small portion of the acts. S.F. Sketchfest runs Jan. 12-29 at various Bay Area locations. Admission is $10-35 per show; visit www.sfsketchfest.com.

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