From SF Weekly Online
January 2, 2010
By Peter Hartlaub
Noise Pop may still be seven and a half weeks away, but fans of a festival setting don’t have to settle for a quiet beginning of the year. SF Sketchfest, one of the finest comedy events in the country, has continued to add musical elements since launching in 2002, and this year the schedule — which runs Jan. 14 to Feb. 2 — is bursting with treble and bass clefs. “This might be the most music we’ve had,” co-founder Janet Varney says.
Joining comedians like Conan O’Brien, Paul F. Tompkins, and the funny folks from Reno 911! is a notable list of musicians that includes Mates of State, Michael Penn and Aimee Mann, Grant-Lee Phillips, and Jill Sobule. There’s also Greg Behrendt’s “Bring the Rock” show, where guests including local singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson will tell funny stories about songs from their past while a house band led by David Gibbs and former Veruca Salt member Nina Gordon helps bring the music to life. Sketchfest is also opening with Tim and Eric’s Pusswhip Banggang band at Mezzanine. “There’s that old adage that all rock stars want to be actors, and all actors want to be rock stars,” co-founder Cole Stratton says. “I think, in a way, good sketch comedy is musical by nature, with the writing following almost a song structure. Comedians inevitably try wearing that hat eventually.”