SF Sketchfest Review: The Greg Proops Chat Show with Special Guest Robin Williams

From Spinning Platters.com

January 21, 2010
By Laura Hamilton


I had heard rumors of the renowned aging sasquatch riding around the damp streets of San Francisco in unforgiving bike shorts, but a confirmed sighting still eluded me… until…

On a dark stormy night, in a tiny Fillmore club, Robin Williams bedazzled a lucky audience with a one-on-one chat with Greg Proops. Well, it wasn’t much of a chat, more like a never-ending barrage of witty banter between the two comics that had no real direction or ending for that matter. Fueled exclusively by H2O, and lots of it, we enjoyed close to two hours of fast-paced ADHD ramblings from Mr. Williams that made the rest of the world seem distant. Good entertainment is rated by how easily you can escape from your own surroundings, and with Robin onstage, I was whisked away to a land of sodomy, various accents, and career revaluations.

I really hate it when people say ‘You had to be there’ but when funny people go on stage in an improvisational form, it really is all about context. If I were to give you a list of highlights from his appearance, they would sound alien and drab, so let’s just say that it was a series of uncoordinated, expertly contained series of comedic explosions. My favorite joke from the night was a Holocaust joke at the expense of the French… I mean, who doesn’t enjoy laughing at the French? Nobody, that’s who. When some of the audience hissed at the mere mention of the extermination of millions, Robin replied, “What? Too soon?” Classic. Later on, Greg also tip-toed on the line of political-correctness, and he replied to the squeamishness with, “Don’t go all Berkeley on me.”

Greg, once a local here in San Francisco, was a great host for the evening. Some of you may know Greg from his occasional appearances on Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, and if you are British, you like him a lot. After going on about why California is so great and heckling the one woman in the audience who wasn’t smiling, he moved onto more serious topics like the recent airplane terrorists and how they all seem like a series of Wile E. Coyote cartoons.

Despite my first impression, there were other guests earlier in the show which were also delightful to see. Musician Michael Penn went on and off stage between guests and offered up acoustic melodies that matched the weather. I was not familiar with Michael’s work before last night, but his tunes were memorable: the song “Walter Reed” is the only one I can name. Michael shares his last name with some well-known characters in Hollywood, such as his brother Sean.

If you are reading this geek driven blog, then you are likely acquainted with Greg’s other chat buddy on the show: Linda Cardellini. This lovely local is most known for her starring role on the cult high school classic Freaks and Geeks. I was a big fan of the show back in the day, so it’s always fun to get reacquainted with old favorites. After Greg got the interview off to a fast pace by making light of Linda’s dead grandmother, they discussed her upcoming films and other goings-ons. Linda actually ended up with the biggest laugh of the evening after she revealed that the one unshakable audience member that Gregg had heckled at the start of the show was, in fact, her own mother. I think Robin would agree with the idea that the best comedy always blooms out of frustration.

For any of you out there supporting the Coco movement, Mr. Williams will be appearing tonight on the soon to be missed Conan O’Brien Tonight Show.

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