SF Sketchfest's annual comedy invasion
by Ronn Vigh
January is here and on more than one occasion I've winced at the sight of my credit card bill. I've also voluntarily hit the treadmill more times in the last two weeks than I have since last Summer. Spend less and work out, have been two New Years resolutions of mine that I can't wait to be tired of upholding.
Fortunately, The 13th Annual SF Sketchfest takes over our city by the bay starting January 23, with an eclectic variety of performances celebrating smash TV shows, cult classic movies, comedic bands and brilliant stand-ups. Yours truly will also be participating in a few SketchFest shows this year as well. Along with Tenacious D getting a tribute night, the Futurama cast will do a live reading, many more talents perform, so many that it's a bit exhausting. Here is a list of some of my favorite picks in this year's lineup.
Napoleon Dynamite 10th Anniversary
SketchFest kicks off right in the heart of the Castro, where you can go practice your sweet dance moves set to Jamiroquai after taking in a screening of the cult classic, Napoleon Dynamite followed by a conversation/Q & A with cast members Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), Efren Ramirez (Pedro) and Jon Gries (Uncle Rico). Please leave your pet llama at home. Thursday, January 23, 7pm. After that screening, comic musical duo Tenacious D (Jack Black and Kyle Gass) get a well-deserved tribute, with onstage chats, clips, a little rockin' music 9:30pm. Each $25. Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St.
The Realest Real Housewives
The Real Housewives franchise has become a train wreck of a phenomenon. While many won't admit they have programmed their DVR to record any of these. I do know a group of gay guys who threw a Real Housewives of the Castro party complete with drag characters, tag lines and confessionals. Comedy powerhouses which include Natasha Leggero, June Diane Raphael and NIck Thune star in this staged reading of scenes from The Real Housewives series. Friday, January 24, 8pm. $20. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St.
The Great Debate: Girls vs. Golden Girls
I could not leave out any mention of my beloved The Golden Girls from the listings- I can deliver most of the punchlines and summarize each episode in my sleep if needed to. If you don't want to travel all the way to FiDi for the Housewives show, how about taking In Matt Price and Ilyse Mimoun's popular debate series, aptly titled The Great Debate! This time they will discuss: Girls versus Golden Girls. Who empower us and who are a bunch of stunted, oppressed degenerates? Friday, January 24, 8pm. $15. StageWerx, 446 Valencia St.
Maybe you don't know her name, but you recognize her music from TV shows such as Mad Men, Weeds, Grey's Anatomy, and Nurse Jackie. Maybe you see a picture of Nellie and realize that you did catch her appearance on multiple chat shows. She's a singer, songwriter, actress, pianist, ukulele player, satirist, comedian and a good pick to check out at SketchFest. Saturday, January 25, 8pm. $30. Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa St.
Good news, everyone! The wacky animated scifi series may be finished, but the cast isn't, and many of them will be performing a few favorite scripts from the show. Saturday, January 25. $25. 1pm. All ages. Marines' Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St.
Stand Up Spotlight: James Adomian
I've had the pleasure of working with James Adomian, who is a stellar comic who just happens to be gay. His impressions and memorable characters are not to miss, and it's widely agreed that it's just a mere matter of time before Adomian is a household name. The Advocate named him a part of their Top 40 Under 40, and he can be heard on many a podcast. Also appearing: Baron Vaughn. Sunday, January 26, 8pm. $20. Cobb's Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave.
There's an episode of The Golden Girls where Blanche and Sophia read Rose's diary and are mortified by the things she wrote, presumably about them. Well, it turns out it was her 4H pig-raising diary she kept as a child... and I bet we all have those journal entries or some other not-so-fond memory from our childhood that we documented and would be mortified if a live audience of strangers heard it. Some willing adults will read their actual entries from childhood in this hit show. Tuesday, January 28, 8pm. $20
Punchline Comedy Club, 444 Battery St.
Scott Capurro's Position
While he spends most of his time in England, Capurro originally from The Bay Area is usually found performing here in San Francisco at least twice a year. On this trip, he brings his show Scott Capurro's Position to The Punchline Comedy Club where he and sidekick David Mills will partake in a fun, informal and gossipy banter about anything and everything. Thursday, January 30, 8pm. $20. Punchline Comedy Club, 444 Battery St.
Megan Mullally in Concert
You may remember her best as the wacky and often tossed Karen Walker from Will & Grace. Now, Megan Mullally has teamed up with actress Stephanie Hunt to form their new band, Nancy & Beth. Friday, January 31, 8pm. $30. Kanbar Hall at JCCSF, 3200 California St.
Talk Show: The Game Show
Bay Area comedy alum Guy Branum spotlights two of television's least respected formats, the talk show and the game show, by combining them into one entertaining evening of guests name-dropping and anecdote-ing their way to victory. Friday, January 31, 8pm. $20. StageWerx, 446 Valencia St.
I must give some local love to a weekly San Francisco based comedy show whose business members are some of the most unique and brightest in the Bay Area. The Business will appear several times during SketchFest including this evening at their regular venue.The Dark Room will their homegrown comedy sells out almost every week. Wednesday, February 5, 8pm. $10. The Dark Room, 2263 Mission St.
Inside Inside Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer has recently shot into the spotlight through her stand up, sketch series Inside Amy Schumer on Comedy Central and from her appearances on some of Comedy Central's roasts. Inside Inside Amy Schumer will feature Schumer and some of the writers of her hit TV series to discuss its provactive and wicked style. Thursday, February 6, 8pm. $25 Marines' Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St.
Cabin Boy: 20th Anniversary
Midnight Mass and underground drag superstar Peaches Christ will steer the free wheeling conversation with Cabin Boy star Chris Elliott and the movie's co-writer and director Adam Resnick. Friday, February 7, 7:30pm. $20. Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St.
Celebrity Autobiography: The Music Edition
Outrageous and true music memoirs will be acted out live onstage by actors and comedians, including Rachel Dratch, Florence Henderson and Fred Willard. $50. Saturday, February 8, 4pm & 7pm, Marines' Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St.
Saturday Night Live vet and Bridesmaids co-star Maya Rudolph teams up with Gretchen Lieberum to turn their mutual adoration of Prince into a musical project. Put on your raspberry berets and make your way to Mezzanine to party with them like it's 1999! Oh wait, if it's 1999- then we may not even know who Maya Rudolph is yet? Sunday, February 9. $40. 8pm, Mezzanine, 444 Jessie St.
SF Sketchfest runs from January 23 to February 9, and dozens of Bay Area venues. For tickets and daily schedules, go to www.sfsketchfest.com