Must-see Shows at SF Sketchfest

From San Jose Mercury News

January 6, 2011
By Mark de la Vina

Here are six shows you need to see at this year’s SF Sketchfest, which opens next Thursday and runs through Feb. 5:

• “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” 25th Anniversary Tribute, with Shandling and writer Alan Zweibel, moderated by Zach Braff. Shandling is one of those comedic innovators whose revolutionary ’80s TV show makes him perfectly suited for Sketchfest. He’s joined by his collaborator, original “Saturday Night Live” scribe Zweibel, and writer-actor-director Braff, whose show “Scrubs” owes a creative debt to Shandling’s series.

7 p.m. Jan. 20, Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., San Francisco; $25.

• Brian Henson in conversation with Neil Patrick Harris, with live puppet demonstration. Puppets are back in a big way. On the heels of the recent Muppets resurgence, Henson, son of Muppets creator Jim Henson, is joined by entertainment dynamo and unabashed puppet aficionado Harris.

1 p.m. Jan. 23, Cobb’s Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave., San Francisco; $35.

• “Inside Joke: ‘Saturday Night Live: The Originals’ ” with Dan Aykroyd, Laraine Newman, Don Novello and Tom Davis. Cast members Aykroyd, Newman and Novello are joined by writer Davis as they discuss the earliest, and, arguably, the best, seasons of the most enduring sketch comedy show on American television.

5 p.m. Jan. 30, Marines’ Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St., San Francisco; $35-$45.

• “Murphy Brown” Tribute to Candice Bergen and Diane English. Writer-producer English and actress Bergen reunite for a look back at the 10-year run of the sitcom that in its heyday was so influential, it became a scapegoat for President George H.W. Bush’s administration. (Then-Vice President Dan Quayle famously referenced the show in 1992 at a speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.)

8 p.m. Feb. 2, Castro Theatre; $25.

• “True Stories” 25th Anniversary, with David Byrne. Talking Heads member Byrne was branching out big time when he directed this 1986 film about a fictional Texas burg on the eve of celebrating the state’s sesquicentennial. He’ll present this quirky cavalcade of a film, which features such Talking Heads classics as “Wild Wild Life.”

5 p.m. Feb. 5, Castro Theatre; $25.

• SF Sketchfest and Midnight Mass Present “Idol Worship: An Evening with Cloris Leachman.” Frau Blucher is in the house! Drag diva Peaches Christ pays tribute to Leachman, whose career ranged from regular roles in Mel Brooks movies (“Young Frankenstein”) and sitcoms ranging from the classic (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) to the current (“Raising Hope”). With a screening of Brooks’ “High Anxiety.”

8:30 p.m. Feb. 5, Castro Theatre; $25.

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