From AOL City’s Best
January 10, 2011
By Harmon Leon
Over the past ten years, SF Sketchfest has grown from a small event featuring a handful of local sketch groups, to one of the best organized, top-notch comedy festivals in the country. The festival no longer focuses strictly on comedy sketch groups; instead it’s evolved into a three-week extravaganza that showcases and pays tribute to all things comedy.
Founders Cole Stratton, Janet Varney and David Owen continue their tradition of bringing A-list comedy to the Bay Area with a line up that includes “SNL” cast members Dan Aykroyd, Laraine Newman and Don Novello, “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” tribute, with Shandling and writer Alan Zweibel (moderated by “Scrubs” star Zach Braff) and a 25th anniversary tribute to to the film “True Stories,” featuring David Byrne of the Talking Heads. Here are a few other Sketchfest shows for your inner comedy nerd.
A Tribute To ‘Airplane’: “Airplane” is one of those films that created a whole entire genre of film comedy that ushered in movies like the Naked Gun franchise and Scary Movie. Making this a must-see event, the film’s writing/directing team (Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker), will be joined on stage by cast member Robert Hays. A Tribute to ‘Airplane’ should be a fun evening to remember. “Every time it comes on TV, I stop to watch,” says Sketchfest organizer David Owen. “And I laugh just as hard as the first time I saw it.”
Mon., Jan. 31, 7pm; $25
Castro Theater, 429 Castro St.; 415-621-6120
The Upright Citizens Brigade Presents Asssscat Improv: Remember the UBC show on Comedy Central? It was funny, but really didn’t give this sketch group justice. You have to see these guys live to get the full UCB experience. Now with their own theater in N.Y.C. and L.A., the group is a brand in comedy that spells out quality. On opening night, join Upright Citizens Brigade founders Matt Besser, Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts with a host of other supreme players for an evening of improv that will burn into your retinas.
Thur., Jan., 13, 8pm; $35
Marines’ Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter St.; 415-771-6900
Joke-E-Oke: Okay, so this is my show that’s appearing at Sketchfest. (A little self-promotion, thank you.) Joke-e-oke is just like karaoke but with standup comedy material — set in a three-round game show with professional comedian judges rating the contestants’ performances and a live house band to keep the beat. The show has been performed around the world at the Montreal Comedy Festival, the Edinburgh Festival and alongside The Flaming Lips and John Mayer on various music cruises. Come on down and test your funnybone by unleashing your inner comedian.
Fri., Jan. 21, 8pm; $15
Purple Onion, 140 Columbus Ave.; 415-956-1653