A Music Nerds Guide to Sketchfest 2010


From Spinning Platters.com

January 12, 2010
By Dakin Hardwick

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As San Franciscans, we love festivals. We also love music and laughs, and it seems that line is blurring between the two worlds more & more everyday. And, although our music festivals have been littered with comedians quite a bit lately, especially with Tenacious D functioning as headliner at least year’s Outside Lands Festival, the music leaking in to the comedy festivals has been a bit subtler. That’s why we’re here to guide you through the music of San Francisco’s Sketchfest. There is lot going on, and a lot of very special things that will pique the interest of any music nerd.

Thursday, January 14

Opening Night:
Tim and Eric
Pusswhip Banggang Music Show / Neil Hamburger
8pm @ Mezzanine 21+ $27
buy tickets

Tim & Eric’s Awesome Show Good Job is a masterpiece of surrealistic humor. What makes the program great is the fact that they seem to know nothing about creating a TV show. As a musical project, which debuted at last year’s Fuck Yeah Fest in Austin, TX, they were able to prove that they are, in fact, credible musicians. They have embraced the fact that classic rock makes for excellent jokes, and do it quite well.
Friday, January 15

Comedy Death-Ray
with Clark & Michael (Clark Duke and Michael Cera), Michael Ian Black, Dana Gould, Doug Benson, Natasha Leggero, Scott Aukerman and musical guest Aimee Mann
8pm & 10:30pm @ Cobb’s Comedy Club $30
8pm: buy tickets
10:30pm: buy tickets

Now, I feel that I am proficient in my knowledge of humorous culture, but I don’t personally understand what “Alternative Comedy” truly is. But, that is exactly what “Comedy Death Ray” is described as. What is “Comedy Death Ray,” or “CD-R”? An evening of really funny people doing funny things. Now, despite Michael Cera’s involvement, there is very little chance of a performance by The Jerk-Off’s, but if anybody has ever seen Aimee Mann perform, she is not only one of the greatest songwriters in the history of music, she is very witty, and she understands comic timing as well as she understands 4/4 time.

The Paul F. Tompkins Show
with Dave Foley, Illeana Douglas and musical guest Grant-Lee Phillips
8pm with Picnicface: buy tickets
10:30pm with Barats & Bereta: buy tickets
@ The Eureka Theater $25

The Paul F Tompkins Show, which Los Angelinos have been getting to experience for many years, is a throwback to the old school variety show, a la The Johnny Cash Show. It’s comedy, it’s music, it’s pure entertainment. And, his musical guest tonight (whom Paul F Thompkins often sits in with) is Grant-Lee Phillips, 120 Minutes fans will know him as the frontman for Grant Lee Buffalo, but the masses know him as the town troubadour from the every music nerds favorite TV show, Gilmore Girls, a role where he was able to showcase his musical diversity, as well as his amazing skill to play the straight man to a giant wall of absurdity.
Saturday, January 16

Game Show Explosion!
with Andy Richter, Aimee Mann, Paul F. Tompkins, Doug Benson, Scott Aukerman and host Jimmy Pardo
10:30pm @ Cobb’s Comedy Club $30: buy tickets

For those that couldn’t make it out on Friday Night, we have another evening with the amazing Aimee Mann, this time doing pure comedy as part of Jimmy Pardo’s legendary Game Show Explosion, another person that understands how to fuse together comedy and music.
Sunday, January 17

The SF Sketchfest Tribute to Conan O’Brien
Hosted by Jimmy Pardo
with special guest Andy Richter
2pm @ Herbst Theatre $50/$40/$30: buy tickets

This is not specifically a music event, but Conan O’Brien may be the last great late night musical tastemaker, and the man that gave the world their first taste of Yeasayer would be a fascinating person to listen to.

Wednesday, January 20
The Greg Proops Chat Show:
With special guests including musical guest Michael Penn
8pm @ Yoshi’s San Francisco $25
buy tickets

Greg Proops has managed to retain his credibility despite some horrible mistakes, such as “Whose Line Is It Anyways?” and “True Jackson, VP.” But, what “Whose Line…” did prove was that Greg Proops can’t sing, but is really funny when he tries. And musical guest Michael Penn? Stone serious singer/songwriter Michael Penn: Husband of modern day Bob Dylan, Aimee Mann, and more than willing to play along with her epically silly holiday shows.

Saturday, January 23
Sitting and Talking with
“Weird Al” Yankovic
in conversation with Chris Hardwick
2pm @ Cobb’s Comedy Club $20
buy tickets

“Weird Al” Yankovic introduced me to pop music. If there was no “Weird Al,” this blog that you are reading would not exist. His exquisitely performed parodies helped teach three generations of young people learn to love the pop song.

Tuesday, January 26
The Dave Hill Explosion
with special guest Dick Cavett and Gordon Gano of the Violet Femmes
8pm @ Cobb’s Comedy Club $25
buy tickets

Dick Cavett was the first major counter-culture icon on television. The man is still as witty as ever, and helped America really understand John Lennon & Yoko Ono better than any biographer ever could. Gordon Gano, as front man for the Violent Femmes, helped encourage a whole new genre of music, creating the anti-folk movement practically by himself.

Wednesday, January 27
Jill Sobule & Julia Sweeney:
The Jill and Julia Show
8pm @ Yoshi’s San Francisco $20
buy tickets

Jill Sobule legendarily kissed a girl. Julia Sweeney legendarily made certain that we never knew whether she was a boy or a girl. Put them together, and there is no way to understand which gender you might be making out with…
But I kid, Jill Sobule is an amazing singer/songwriter, and Julia Sweeney is one of the most passionate and personal comedians out there, and, although I have no idea what they have up their sleeves, it will be difficult to imagine it being a bad thing.

Saturday, January 30
Greg Behrendt’s
Bring the Rock
with David Burtka, Laura Kightlinger, Eugene Mirman, Matt Nathanson and Oscar Nunez
and the Bring the Rock Band featuring Dave Gibbs and Nina Gordon
10:30pm @ Cobb’s Comedy Club $25
buy tickets

Greg Behrendt understands Rock N Roll. Matt Nathanson is an amazingly bright and talented singer/songwriter. He also toured with The Fray, so if didn’t have a sense of humor, he does now. But seriously, I have never laughed harder than I have at a Matt Nathanson show. He’s the complete entertainment package. Also: Dave Gibbs of Gigolo Aunts and Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt help inspire you to dig up your old videos of Alternative Nation, and also remind you that, despite what you thought when you were 12, Kennedy wasn’t hot.

Sunday, January 31
Red Wine Boys:
Todd Barry & Jon Benjamin
with John Hodgman, Larry Murphy and musical guests Mates of State
9pm @ Mezzanine 21+ $25
buy tickets

Mates Of State aren’t funny. But they are really good. Anyone that likes music will embrace any chance to see this band, and although they are also playing Café du Nord the next evening, this is the only show that they are doing with John Hodgman. Not a musician, but he is a bloody genius.

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