SF Sketchfest 2013 Feb. 7-10
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
The twelfth annual SF Sketchfest brings together another stellar line-up of talent to a variety of SF comedy and theater venues for 18 days of hilarious improvisation, stand-up and ensemble comedy. Plenty of local and national acts that have performed at the festival in the past will make return engagements this year including bi-coastal improv heroes The Upright Citizens Brigade and members of Stella, Naked Babies and Human Giant, onstage performances featuring players from the leftfield comedy shows Childrens Hospital, Delocated and legendary Nickelodeon program The Adventures of Pete and Pete as well as animated series Pinky and the Brain and Futurama. There also will be tributes to such classic movies as Army of Darkness, American Splendor, Welcome to the Dollhouse and The Naked Gun as well as appearances by noted locally grown talents like Doug Benson, Killing My Lobster, Mythbuster co-host Adam Savage, Greg Behrendt and Brent Weinbach.
This year, the festival has greatly expanded the number of venues being used across the city. Besides staging shows at the venerable Marines’ Memorial Theatre in Union Square, the Castro Theatre, longtime venues The Dark Room in the Mission and downtown’s Eureka Theatre and standby comedy clubs Cobb’s and the Punchline, this year Sketchfest will be holding events at the Verdi Club, the Rite Spot, the Independent, Stage Werx, the Actors Theater, Cafe Royale and more.
On Thursday, comedian and actor Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) hosts his final event of the festival with his Combo Platter bringing noted comic minds Rob Corddry (Childrens Hospital) and Michael Ian Black (The State) to Kanbar Hall at the JCCSF for an unpredictable and hilarious night of improvisational stories and monologues (Thurs/7, 8 p.m. $30). Meanwhile, comedians Dave Anthony and Greg Behrendt bring their “podcuddle” Walking the Room to the Eureka Theatre for an evening of self exploration as they discuss the meaning of comedy itself with guest Rory Scovel (Thurs/7, 8 p.m. $20).
Friday brings an eclectic line-up of events as the festival rolls into its jam-packed final weekend. In addition to two sold-out performances by actress and SNL veteran Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids, Friends With Kids) teaming her with college friend and accomplished singer Gretchen Lieberum in Princess: An Evening of the Music of Prince at Yoshi’s backed by a steller group of LA session players (The Roots perform with them when they play the East Coast), local literary heroes Beth Lisick and Arline Klatte host their celebrated long-running storytelling series Porchlight with guests Alan Black, Scott Capurro, Dave Hill, Michael Ian Black and April Richardson (Verdi Club, Fri/8, 8 p.m. $20 sold out) and the Castro presents two cinematic tributes.
Legendary drag queen and cinophile Peaches Christ presents a screening of Welcome to the Dollhouse with an interview with the film’s star Heather Matarazzo (7 p.m. $20), while actor Lance Crouther will introduce the cult Chris Rock and Louis C.K. film Pootie Tang in character before returning for a post screening Q&A session (10 p.m. $20). Friday will also feature a rare staging of the 1998 play Sex aka Weiners and Boobs performed by the writers who happen to be three of the co-founders of the wildly popular sketch group The State, Joe Lo Truglio, Michael Showalter and David Wain (Marines’ Memorial Theatre, Fri/8, 8 p.m. $30) and Team Coco Live, featuring Conan O’Brien’s late night show co-host Andy Richter leading a hilarious evening of stand-up and other typical Conan-flavored weirdness with show writers Andres du Bouchet, Laurie Kilmartin, Jesse Popp and Josh Comers, as well as Ian Edwards, Hari Kondabolu and Rory Scovel (Cobb’s Comedy Club, Fri/8, 10:30 p.m. $25).
The comedy continues at the Castro on Saturday with three anticpated presentations. First off is a screening and tribute to one of the landmark cinematic spoofs of all time, The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! The hugely popular 1988 film was an offshoot of the short-lived (but much beloved) television series starring Leslie Nielsen as hopelessly inept LAPD Detective Frank Drebin. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the festival screens the first and best of theNaked Gun movies followed by an in-depth discussion with director and co-screenwriter David Zucker (Airplane!; Kentucky Fried Movie), co-screenwriter Pat Proft (Police Academy; Hot Shots!) and entertainment icon Priscilla Presley (who played Nielsen’s love interest Jane Spencer in all three films) moderated by Andy Richter (Castro Theatre, Sat/9, 1 p.m. $20).
Later in the afternoon, the Castro hosts the last (and biggest) edition of the Benson Movie Interruption yet as local weed-obssessed stand-up favorite Doug Benson (Super High Me, The Marijuana-Logues, The Benson Interruption) and a stellar line-up of guests including Greg Behrendt (Walking the Room), Michael Ian Black (The State), Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) and Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille, Young Adult) crack wise with microphones during the cinimatic disaster that is the vampire vs. werewolves high-school drama Twilight (Castro Theatre, Sat/9, 4:20 p.m. $20 sold out).
That evening, a packed house turns out for Hail to the King, Baby, a tribute to cult movie icon Bruce Campbell. Starting with his low-budget debut helmed by Detroit collaborator future hitmaking director Sam Rami The Evil Dead, Campbell has charted a unique career ranging from the edgy fare of the Maniac Cop series to Disney movies and straight television roles. This event features a screening of the time-traveling climax of the Evil Dead trilogy, Army of Darkness, and a conversation with Campbell about his career moderated by Oswalt (Castro Theatre, Sat/9, 8:30 p.m. $20-$50 sold out).
Another perennial favorite returs this weekend with the annual sold-out performances ofCelebrity Autobiography. Founded by co- creators Eugene Pack and Dayle Reyfel in Los Angeles a decade ago, the international comedy phenomenon is built around the simple concept of acting out celebrity tell-alls live on stage. The regularly held shows grew as celebrities started attending and participating, eventually leading to a critically acclaimed Bravo TV special and a three-year run of sold-out performances in New York that won the Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience.
These two shows will includes classic readings, brand new material and brand new celebrity mash ups. From the words of celebs from Snooki to Streisand to Hasselhoff, Madonna, Ricky Martin, Beyonce, Bieber and beyond. For the show’s fifth visit to SF Sketchfest, Pack and Reyfel are joined by Maria Bamford (Comedians of Comedy) (Sunday only), Roger Bart (Desperate Housewives), Jennifer Coolidge (Best in Show; Saturday only), Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live), Janeane Garafalo (The Ben Stiller Show), Andy Kindler (Sunday only), Laraine Newman (Saturday Night Live), the aforementioned Maya Rudolph (Saturday only) and Fred Willard (Waiting For Guffman) and more (Marine’s Memorial Theater, Sat/9 and Sun/10, 8 p.m. Sat and 5 p.m. Sun; $50 sold out).
Other festival highlights this weekend include local actor, comedian and accomplished impersonator Kevin Pollak bringing his podcast Talkin Walkin where he interviews fellow performers (for this edition, its The Big Bang Theory‘s Simon Helberg and The State’s Joe Lo Truglio) while in character as Christopher Walken (Punchline, Sat/8 4 p.m. $20), a tribute to Adult Swim’s Emmy Award-winning Childrens Hospital featuring creator, executive producer and star Rob Corddry (The Daily Show, Hot Tub Time Machine) along with collaborators including Lake Bell, Erinn Hayes, Rob Huebel, Ken Marino and executive producers David Wain and Jonathan Stern (Cobb’s Comedy Club, Sat/8 8 p.m. $30 sold out), a return visit by Corddry’s longtime improv group Naked Babies — also featuring John Ross Bowie and Seth Morris — in collaboration with Human Giant’s Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer as Naked Human Giant Babies (Marine’s Memorial Theater, Sat/9 10:30 p.m. $30), a performance by YouTube stars and musical comedic masterminds Garfunkel & Oates (Rickshaw Stop, Sun/10 8 p.m. $20 sold out) and a rare nightclub performance by Stella featuring Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain with guest comedians and songs by local favorite John Vanderslice (Mezzanine, Sun/10 8 p.m. $30). For a more detailed listing of events and information on how to get tickets, please visit the San Francisco Sketchfest website.