Last Night: Sketchfest’s Greg Proops Chat Show w/Robin Williams, Linda Cardellini, Michael Penn


From SF Weekly

January 21, 2010
By Irene McGeee

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The Greg Proops Chat Show: With special guests Robin Williams, Linda Cardellini, and musical guest Michael Penn
Wednesday Jan. 20, 2010
Yoshi’s

Better than: Writing an investigative story about the $16 “convenience” fee Yoshi’s charges for purchasing tickets online.

I was pretty sure I was on Team Conan, but I may have flipped to Team Proops. Admittedly, Greg Proops is not in the running for late night talk show host, but the world is worse for it. Proops took the stage last night at 8 p.m. and didn’t give it back for nearly three hours. He owned every minute of it.

Proops, a Bay Area native, quipped that we San Franciscans are so “self-reflexive, self-loving” we could give ourselves a rectal exam. It’s almost impossible to quote him directly beyond that because he talks fast, flipping jokes inside out until you end up on the other side talking about an iguana sitting on the shoulder of a shirtless man in a leather vest standing on a Mission street corner. Proops has a fun, ranty, self-deprecating, flamboyant, quick comedy style with depth, range, and most importantly, great jokes.

To start the show, he introduced musical guest Michael Penn, describing him as a “sagacious songwriter and singer.” Penn was so captivating in a folksy way, we almost forgot he was Sean Penn’s brother, or that he is married to Aimee Mann, or that we were at a comedy show. The music was a great break between laughs. It was also was a perfect time to eat the sushi my Yoshi’s waitress had just delivered.

The first of Proops guests was Linda Cardellini, of Freaks and Geeks and ER fame. Like Proops, she’s a Bay Area native. Most of the interview that followed was a series of Redwood City shout outs. The star had a lot of hometown friends and family in the audience, so Redwood City was in full effect at the show. She was affable, cute, and very humble about all of her success. Proops kept the interview funny, but Cardellini held her own too.

Afterwards, Robin Williams walked on stage and the audience started cheering. He and Proops smooshed together on a loveseat and looked so lovely dovey one audience member heckled, “Kiss!” Of course, they didn’t, but eventually pantomimed sodomy instead. When asked what he was doing with his life, Williams responded, “Nothing. I’m not working,” but quickly followed up that he’s going to be on Conan’s Tonight Show tomorrow night.

Eavesdropping on Proops and Williams in conversation was like playing a new video game for the first time: you jump, duck, see something coming, and then, just when you think you know what you are in for, you have to crawl, bounce, and fly. The combination of Proops dropping one genius premise after another with Williams delivering punch after punch, building various characters to accent the effect – it was simply amazing. The audience was laughing the whole time.

With the perfect venue, great guests, and a fantastic host, The Greg Proops chat show was definitely my Sketchfest highlight so far.

Critic’s Notebook
Personal Bias: Holy S()*#)*: I was watching Robin Williams and eating sushi.
Random Detail: Proops on Twitter: “What I enjoy about Twitter is reading what all the celebrities say. It’s like the world’s worst philosophers.”

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