Week Three: SF Sketchfest Highlights


From The Onion

January 29, 2009
By Marc Hawthorne

As quickly as it came into our lives and filled our hearts with laughter, the eighth annual SF Sketchfest is bidding adieu this weekend, but not before squeezing out a few more giggles. Actually, make that a lot of giggles and chuckles and chortles –oh my — with a final-week lineup that includes the Christian-folk parody duo God’s Pottery, the Onion-related Pangea 3000, Sketchfest lifers Kasper Hauser (see interview to the right), ASSSSCAT with monologist Andy Richter, and Comedy Death-Ray with Zach Galifianakis.

Thursday, Jan. 29
AV = Recommended
God’s Pottery
Punch Line Comedy Club, 8pm, $15, 18+
Few topics are as ripe for parody as evangelical Christian youth groups, and Jeremiah Smallchild and Gideon Lamb, the two ‘inspired and inspiring’ men who make up acoustic Christian folk duo God’s Pottery, mine the Bible-thumping kids movement for all it’s worth. The duo (real names: Wilson Hall and Krister Johnson) plays cheery, catchy, faux-inspirational songs like ‘The Pants Come Off When the Ring Goes On’ and ‘Jesus I Need A Drink’ without breaking character — quite a feat when you consider that lyrics include ‘It takes just a sip of Eucharist blood to get super-drunk on Christ.’ Opening: Drennon Davis, Chris Garcia. (Through Jan. 31)

Friday, Jan. 30
AV=Recommended
Game Show Explosion!
Cobb’S Comedy Club, 8pm, $25, 18+

The live version of the old game show Match Game has been a Sketchfest favorite the past two years, which is why its absence from this year’s lineup left a lot of fans wondering where it had gone. A glance at the description of Game Show Explosion! — A celebrity matching game with Jimmy Pardo — confirms that it’ll be alive and well at Cobb’s on Friday and Saturday, sporting a new name presumably to avoid any copyright issues. With Pardo at the helm, it’s guaranteed to be a great time — the L.A. comedian was born to play this role — and the celebrity panel is the icing on the cake, with everyone from Bob Odenkirk to Paul F. Tompkins helping out with the double-entendre fill-in-the-blank fun. (Also Jan. 31)

Pangea 3000
Dark Room, 10:30pm, $12, All Ages

On television, we seem to be in the midst of a kind of sketch-comedy revival — a movement that has a multitude of good (Human Giant), bad (Frank TV), and ‘really?!’ (Tracy Ullman’s State of The Union) points. But truth be told, most sketch comedy on television is hit-and-miss, and most live sketch comedy is the same way. Not so with Pangea 3000, a New York group known for its funny, inventive sketches that squarely hit their mark. The setups are fresh, the performers are in sync, and the humor is slightly absurd. If the Beatles Block video on pangea3000.com is any indication, this show promises to be just as funny as any of the higher-profile events happening around town. Also performing: Oh, You and Your Bone Spurs, Groomed For Success. (Also Jan. 31)

AV=Recommended
ASSSSCAT
Eureka Theatre, 8 & 10:30pm, $30, All Ages

Any self-respecting San Franciscan knows that this is the place to be, but there’s one thing that L.A. and New York have that can make us pretty jealous: ASSSSCAT. That’s short for Automatic Sprinkler System Shutdown Siamese Connection Alternative Theatre, which is long for ‘the funniest improv show in the world.’ Staged weekly at the UCB Theatres on both coasts, ASSSSCAT features guest monologists telling stories that are turned into improvised sketches by some of the best in the business. This year’s edition at Sketchfest finds Andy Richter setting the table and Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, Tim Meadows, Andrew Daly, and Danielle Schneider filling audiences’ bellies with laughter.

Saturday, Jan. 31
AV=Recommended
Closing Night Show:
Bobby Bingo
Cobb’s Comedy Club, 10:30pm, $25, 18+
Proving that bingo isn’t just played by old blue-haired biddies and used to sell Loud ‘n Clear sound amplifiers to aspiring eavesdroppers, Bobby Tisdale (of Invite Them Up fame) is closing out Sketchfest ’09 with an interactive night of B-17s, O-21s, and G-74s. Audience members have a chance to win celebrity-donated prizes, all while being entertained by a lineup that includes Zach Galifianakis, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Bob Odenkirk, Paul F. Tompkins, Matt Walsh, and Frank Conniff. You might even think about using Bobby Bingo as an opportunity for some bonding time with Aunt Dolly, but be prepared to have to explain to her what a Craigslist penis photographer is.

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