From Spinning Platters
January 16, 2012
By Dakin Hardwick
For 11 years, San Francisco has had the opportunity to witness the best in comedy. And, for the third straight year, we’ve helped you dig through the 500,000,000 amazing shows to find the best shows for only the nerdiest of San Franciscans. And, since I am a man of exquisite taste, you will trust my guidance.
You can purchase tickets for these and all of the other shows at SFSketchfest.com. Many of these sell out, especially the ones that I want you to go to, so decide quickly!
Thursday, January 19th
RiffTrax Presents A Night Of Shorts III: The Search For Schlock at The Castro Theater, 8 PM
Aside from the blatant Star Trek reference, this is still a perfectly nerdy way to kick off Sketchfest this year. What is RiffTrax? It’s a project featuring Michael J Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Will Corbett from Mystery Science Theater 3000 doing their own absurd commentary of films. This gig will be all short films, with help from David Cross, Paul F Tompkins, John Hodgman, Bruce McCulloch, and Sketchfest organizers Cole Stratton & Janet Varney all doing their own commentary on a series of all sorts of short films.
Friday, January 20th
John Hodgman: An Evening Of My Expertise at Cobb’s Comedy Club, 8 PM
John Hodgman claims to be a genius. And that’s what’s great about him. He’s put out three amazing books about, well, everything! And this evening, he will be presenting this evening. The show is sold out, so you may need an act of genius to get in. I have faith in you.
Bruce McCulloch: The Pink Dot Stories at The Eureka Theater, 8 PM
Don’t want to barter your way into the Hodgman gig? Why don’t you see the most underrated member of Kids In The Hall debut his new show, The Pink Dot Stories. What is this? Only he knows, but if it’s this guy, you know it’s gonna be good.
Saturday, January 21st
Wet Hot American Summer: The Live Radio Play at Marine’s Memorial Theater, 5 PM
This one is for the film nerds, because this is one of those movies that only the geekiest of geeks can enjoy. And we have 90% of the original cast on board to re-do this brilliant film on stage. I hope they remember to go into town to score hoards of drugs before the show. Anyways, here’s the dude from Law & Order:SVU being weird.
Mame That Chune: A Video Game Music Game Show and Dance Party at Hemlock Tavern, 5:30 PM
Seems pretty obvious to me that we should select this. I mean, it’s a quiz show that’s entirely about video game music! We will also get to enjoy Video Game Music Karaoke, and an actual DANCE BATTLE!!!!! Any nerd will cry for months if they realize that they missed this.
Sunday, January 22nd
Stella: The Classic Nightclub Show at Mezzanine, 8 PM
The State was a great program. But for several years, those cast members kept running into bad luck. Now, in the 17 years since the show went off the year, all of the cast members have had varying degrees of success. But nothing to have come out of The State crew is quite as weird as Stella.
The Paul F Tompkins Show with Ted Leo, Judy Greeg, and John Hodgman at Yoshi’s SF 7 PM & 9 PM
Paul F Tompkins is a funny, funny man. He’s smart and weird. And you should go to this show to see him. Or you should go to see Ted Leo. Not because he’s funny, but because he’s one of the greatest songwriters to ever come out of New Jersey.
Tuesday, January 24th & Wednesday, January 25th
An Evening With Ann Magnuson at Yoshi’s â€“ Jack London Square, 8 PM
I had to look up this woman when I saw the Sketchfest lineup. I didn’t know who she was, but I was intrigued. Who is she? One of those people that have done everything. She came up in the NYC punk rock movement, and later moved into the worlds of acting, performance art, and in the 90â€²s formed the cult band Bongwater. At this show, we are getting a bit of “Victorian Drawing Room Entertainment,” and it is all in tribute to the impending apocalypse. Sounds good to me!
Wednesday, January 25th
A Conversation with Eddie Izzard at Palace Of Fine Arts, 8 PM
Not very many comedians can play arenas in America. Only one of those is English. And that English one also likes dress as a woman. So, yeah, you know he’s good. And San Francisco is the only place that you will be able to see this very special, exclusive interview on stage with local funnyman Greg Proops taking the interview reins.
Thursday, January 26th
SF Sketchfest Comedy Nightlife at The California Academy of Science, 6 PM
So, you really want to do the whole Sketchfest thing, but you don’t have a whole lot of disposable income — Well, this is the show for you! Consider this to be itss own evening-time mini comedy festival. We’ve got Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant, Greg Proops: Smartest Man in the World Proopcast, Rick Overton, Will Franken, Kasper Hauser, Brian Malow, Convoy, Janine Brito, Jesse Elias, Chris Garcia, Josh Gondelman, Anna Seregina, and local sketch troupe Taste Better Wit for the low price of $12. It’s like a mini comedy festival in Golden Gate Park!
Friday, January 27th
An Evening With Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney-Silver, and Robert Ben Garant at Cobb’s, 8 PM
This is one of the more educational portions of Sketchfest, with these three stars of both the big and little screens, in discussion with Nerdist’s Matt Mira, talking about how to make it in TV. This could be boring if it not for the fact that these three people are three of the funniest people alive.
Saturday, January 28th
The Benson Movie Interruption: Road House, 4:20 PM
One of my favorite nerdy things to do is watch bad movies non-ironically. I don’t think that’s happening at this show. And real nerds have no concept of this “4:20″ time.
The Nerdist Podcast with Chris Hardwick, Matt Mira, and Jonah Ray at The Regency Ballroom, 8 PM
What is a nerd’s guide to Sketchfest without Nerdist?
The Meltdown at Cobb’s, 10:30 PM
Meltdown takes place in a comic book shop in LA. Kind of lame that it’s in a comedy club hereâ€¦ So, if you go, please bring comic books with you. Hosts Kumail Nanjiani & Jonah Ray will be very happy if you did. Or annoyed. I’m not sure. But Steve Agee, Leo Allen, Matt Braunger, Jon Dore, Natasha Leggero, Thomas Lennon, Dan Mintz and Eddie Pepitone are there, too!
Sunday, January 29th
Doug Loves Movies Podcast at Cobb’s, 4:20 PM
What’s with Doug Benson and his obsession with late afternoons? Don’t we have to cook dinner or something? At least it’s a podcast that centers around Leonard Maltin’s Guide To Movies. Yeah, a reference book. That screams nerd. [Editor's note: actually, he tends to use the Leonard Maltin iPhone app. An app of a book. Now THAT screams nerd.]
w00tstock: Founder’s Night at Marine’s Memorial Theater, 7:30 PM
Three years ago, we had the opportunity to interview Paul and Storm, c0-founders of the geek variety show w00tstock. The first one featured a set of music, and then a set of nerdy conversation. There are going to be surprises, but, most importantly, we will be getting the two nerd heroes who co-founded this touring juggernaut: Star Trek: The Next Generation’s young Wesley Krusher: Wil Wheaton and Mythbuster’s Adam Savage.
Tuesday, January 31st â€“ Friday, February 3rd
A Reggie Watts Reggidency
Reggie Watts is one of the most talented men alive. He’s an amazing musician, funny as hell, and is one of the finest beard growers in America. Sketchfest has brought us four nights of this talent, with each night showcasing a different side of his personality. On Tuesday night, we have a solo show at Yoshi’s that could go anywhere. On Wednesday night we have an evening of comedy where he shares a stage with folk comedy duo Garfunkel & Oates (Which reminds me, Oates: Will you marry me?) at Mezzanine, a jazz show alongside keyboard experimentalist Robert Glasper back at Yoshi’s, and closing up on Friday night at The Roxie doing improvised film score. Sadly, no beard seminar. Boo.
Friday, February 3rd
WTF with Mark Maron at Cobb’s 10:30 PM
WTF with Mark Maron is the most emotionally draining podcast in the history of the internet. Maron has this great ability to pull pure honesty out of every single person he interviews. He’s made more grown men cry that Barbara Walters.
Saturday, February 4th
Morgan Murphy with Jen Kirkman: A Talk Show at Punchline, 5 PM
Morgan Murphy is one of the most gifted writers in TV. Jen Kirkman is one of the geniuses behind Drunk History. These two together should breed epicness.
Bring The Rock with Greg Behrendt & The Reigning Monarchs at Cobb’s, 10:30 PM
The Sketchfest organizers knew what they were doing by booking this last. Because this is the best thing ever! Comedians talking about music, and then performing that song with a live band. It was amazing two years ago, and it should be amazing this time, too.