11 Things: SF Sketchfest

From The San Francisco Chronicle

January 13, 2010
By Marc Hawthorne


Launched in 2002, SF Sketchfest now stands as one of the finest comedy festivals in the country, offering a mix of marquee and up-and-coming names from near and far. And there’s a lot more to the event than just sketch comedy: music, film, stand-up, improv, Q&As, podcasts and game shows are also spread across this year’s three-week schedule, which can be a little daunting if you don’t know where to start. That’s why we’ve come up with a quick guide to making the most of your SF Sketchfest 2010 experience.

1. A hilarious history lesson
If you only attend one sketch-comedy show this year, make sure it’s the consistently comical and logically local Kasper Hauser, the only troupe to perform at every SF Sketchfest.

2. Finding the founders
Sketchfest’s three creators are always around to accept your praise, and Janet Varney and Cole Stratton are among the performers.

3. It’s called Sketchfest for a reason
It’s possible to spend a lot of time at Sketchfest without actually seeing any sketch comedy, but that’s sort of missing the point. 4. Really funny people are still funny sitting down
Some of Sketchfest’s highlights have come in the form of interviews, and we have a good feeling about this year’s “SF Sketchfest Tribute to Conan O’Brien.”

5. Go ahead and fill up your dance card
Don’t feel weird about catching multiple shows in one day: Cobb’s will be bumping on Jan. 30 with John Hodgman at 2 p.m., Celebrity Autobiography at 8 p.m. and Greg Behrendt’s Bring the Rock at 10:30 p.m.

6. Dinner of champions
Sure, Cobb’s and the Punch Line serve real plates of food, but the official meal of Sketchfest is a couple of cookies and a drink at the Eureka.

7. The waiting game will turn into the crying game
Don’t put off buying tickets to Upright Citizens Brigade’s stellar ASSSSCAT Improv show, “An Evening With the Reno 911! Sheriff’s Department” or Conan O’Brien. You’ve been warned.

8. And now for something completely different
There’s more music than ever at this year’s festival and, funnily enough, some of it wasn’t designed to make anyone laugh. Just ask Mates of State.

9. Projecting your issues
There’s also plenty of film, which always seems funnier at midnight. Don’t miss “Kids In the Hall: Brain Candy” on Saturday at the Clay.

10. Game Show Explosion!
A bellyful of laughter, a pocket full of cash: Jimmy Pardo was born to host Match Game, and contestants from the audience have a chance to win some spending money.

11. Funny you should ask
SF Sketchfest runs through Feb. 2. For more information, go to www.sfsketchfest.com.

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