Best Bets in SF Sketchfest’s Lineup


From The San Francisco Examiner

January 11, 2010
By Peter Hartlaub

The SF Sketchfest gets plenty of attention for its highest-profile draws. Conan O’Brien, Dick Cavett, Monty Python’s Terry Jones and the cast of “Reno 911″ are among the marquee players who will attend the San Francisco festival, which begins Friday and ends Feb. 2.

But the festival is also a bounty for hard-core comedy fans. And this year even more than previous years, some of the below-the-radar shows have enormous potential. Below are several picks for Sketchfest events that should be missed at your own risk. (For the entire schedule and ticket information, go to www.sfsketchfest.com.)

Game Show Explosion! (8 and 10:30 p.m. Sat., Cobb’s Comedy Club, $30)

Sketchfest fixture Jimmy Pardo hosts a live game show, in which audience members join celebrities including Andy Richter, Dave Foley, Aimee Mann and others in a “Match Game”-style event.

The Greg Proops Chat Show (8 p.m. Jan. 20, Yoshi’s San Francisco, $25)

The pride of San Carlos, “Whose Line Is It Anyway” regular and recent voice of Bob the Builder brings his popular Hollywood chat show to San Francisco, where “Freaks and Geeks” star Linda Cardellini and musician Michael Penn will be among the guests.

Upright Citizens Brigade ASSSSCAT Improv (8 and 10:30 p.m. Jan. 22, Eureka Theatre, $30)

Tim Meadows and David Koechner will join founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade for a night of improvisational comedy. Moon Zappa is the guest monologuist. By ASSSSCAT rules, the comedians will improvise comedy based on Zappa’s stories – with monologue subjects chosen by the audience.

Sitting and Talking with “Weird Al” Yankovic; in conversation with Chris Hardwick (2 p.m. Jan. 23, Cobb’s Comedy Club, $20)

We grew up with Yankovic but are actually bigger fans of Hardwick, who hosts “Web Soup” and co-hosted a really awesome Los Angeles radio show in the late 1990s that was canceled almost immediately.

The S- Show (7 p.m. Jan. 24, Eureka Theatre, $20)

This is the Sketchfest event we would attend if we could attend only one. Rob Huebel hosts, with Chris Hardwick, Thomas Lennon, Nick Kroll and James Adomian presenting some of the worst film and TV projects they’ve been associated with.

Theme Park Improv (8 p.m. Jan. 29-30, Eureka Theatre, $25)

Two comic lineups take a theme thrown out by the audience and improvise. Rachel Dratch and Edie McClurg are among the celebs in Saturday’s show. Oscar Nunez and Scott Adsit entertain on Sunday. Janet Varney and Danny Pudi attend both days.

An Afternoon With Fred Willard (2 p.m. Jan. 31, Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, $15)

Willard, who also appears in “Celebrity Autobiography” the same weekend, hosts a screening of the Christopher Guest film “Waiting for Guffman.”

Cinematic Titanic “Danger on Tiki Island” (7 p.m. Feb. 2, Castro Theatre, $25)

Sketchfest closes with a visit from Joel Hodgson and the “Mystery Science Theater 3000″ team, which will riff on what looks to be a wonderfully horrible 1968 B movie about killer plants and animals deformed by atomic testing.

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