SF Sketchfest Review: Fresh Faces of Comedy

From SFist.com

January 23, 2008
By Leanne Maxwell



As noted on Friday, we were super stoked to check out SF Sketchfest’s “Fresh Faces of Comedy” show at the Mezzanine on Sunday night, hosted by Jon Benjamin and Eugene Mirman, with performances by Mike Birbiglia, John Lehr, Bob Odenkirk, Michael Showalter, Tim and Eric, and musical guest Zach Rogue of Rogue Wave.

It was standing room only at the Mezzanine, and the place was already packed to the gills when we arrived fifteen minutes before the show. This made us a little bummed — standing for several hours staring at a bunch of rock bands can be exhausting enough, but luckily, we got to sit on the edge of a couch upstairs and hunch down to watch all the acts below the railing. At one point, two of the geeks (Sam Weir and an uber-hip Bill Haverchuck) from Freaks and Geeks sat in front of us with their female entourage. Update: We were just told that freak Lindsey Weir was also hanging out with the geeks — we’re not sure why we didn’t recognize her.

All the acts were fabulous, but since there was such a huge line-up, each one only seemed to last about ten minutes. Even Jon Benjamin and Eugene Mirman took note of the weird nightclub set-up. “It’s going to be a looong night,” noted Jon Benjamin. “Thanks for standing,” quipped Eugene Mirman at one point. We think the event would have been much better had it spread out over two nights or something.

Mike Birbiglia opened the show. Most memorable joke: “I was never really the class clown. The class clown would always come in and be like, ‘You’re fat, you’re gay. I’m outta here!’ — I was always a little fat and a little gay.”

Jon Benjamin came on and read some poem that kind of bored us. We heard he was very funny at Saturday night’s Dr. Katz though. (We’re a little hazy regarding the order of the line-up, so please forgive us.)

Next up was Bob Odenkirk, whose act was pretty much verbatim to his schtick at the Dr. Katz show on Friday night. (Couldn’t he have mixed it up a bit, especially considering his set was so short?) The audience was eating it up, and we would have too if we hadn’t just heard it two days before. His set seemed especially short, and we noticed people saying, “That was it?” to their friends.

Then came the grocery-themed, short film contest with John Lehr from 10 Items or Less. [Update] We like commenter/giveaway-contest-winner antfaber’s synopsis:

“Hump Dance” – the dance thing (I liked it best, but mot neccessarily as humor),
“Girl’s Night Out” – pathetic single chick cruising in the supermarket,
the wierd thing with the Apple Sisters,
and the Pathway Foods mock commercial gross out.

“Pathway Foods” won the contest, which was pretty funny for the first minute or so — commenter Orange Drinkagrees with the decision, but we found the short film “Girl’s Night Out” the most entertaining and original. “Hump Dance” was entertaining, but I don’t remember much of the “Apple Sisters”… (We couldn’t find any listing of the films, but if we do, we will update with links.)Zach Rogue of Rogue Wave was up next, mixing up the comedy with a couple of songs (Lullaby and Bird on a Wire), literally — his set seemed even shorter than everyone else’s. We know how hard it can be to fill up even a small venue with the sound of just one dude and his guitar, and he definitely left us wanting more.

Eugene Mirman had probably the most entertaining set of the night. He showed us video footage of himself at various Republican conventions and shared with us a few of his ideas for banner ads to increase his website traffic: “Should George Bush be Bill Cosby?” “Are These Giraffes Gay?” (There was another one that we thought was the most funny, but we can’t remember it right now. Argh.)

Micheal Showalter came on and had everyone in stitches with his categorization of hotel room smells as either dirty, seedy penis or nice, clean flaccid penis. He also remarked how a fan came up to him before his set and noted that Michael looked “much wider in person.” They worked it out during the set though.

Finally, Tim and Eric graced us with their presence, and the audience members near the stage were also graced with pizza sauce and garlic butter to the face. The kooky duo were dressed like Papa John’s pizza delivery guys and after throwing out some free slices, they gave us a big spiel about the wonders of having a Papa John’s email address, compared to Pizza Hut, which was Tim’s old address. We were then treated to video footage of a new Tim and Eric skit featuring Absolut vodka and curly mullets. We were surprised at all the people who are in love with Tim and Eric. We thought we were the only ones! Now we’re kind of jealous. Ha, just kidding. Great job, Guys.

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