I mean, as a rabid comedy fan I was pretty confident in my knowledge of what’s going on in the comedy world, especially with the ladies. That was until I found myself on an impromptu roadtrip to San Francisco. All I had to do was hop in the car and I was whisked away to sunny California for a week where, lucky for me, SF Sketchfest was rolling into it’s second week. I was beyond pumped to see some of my personal favorites on the line-up this year but what I was most excited for was the array of new comics and shows. And after a hilariously spent week, while cruising down the 5 on the way home, I compiled a list of some of my highlights. Not while driving obviously, for safety.
So strap in, here are the 10 things that I learned about at SF Sketchfest that should definitely be on your radar.
Napoleon Dynamite is 10 Years old.
WUT? That’s right. Right off the bat, I’m going to make you feel old. On opening night, SF Sketchfest along with the San Francisco Film Society held a Napoleon Dynamite 10th Anniversary screening / Q&A with star Jon Heder at the Castro Theater, hosed by This American Life’s Starlee Kine. And although original cast members Jon Gries (Uncle Rico) and Efren Ramirez (Pedro) were scheduled to appear, Heder ended up going it alone, successfully keeping the packed room laughing as he slipped between himself and Napoleon-isms. I’d definitely say this is the best way to watch a movie, maybe second only to Imax.
Find them @StarleeKine & @HederJon
Lydia Popovich is one of the funniest in SF, period.
Blending the best of sarcasm and quick wit, her storytelling is uproarious, which is why I’d trust her with my funnybone, anyday. Lucky for me, and you, Popovich produces and hosts an all-female stand-up showcase in the Bay Area called Ladies Love; A carefully curated female line up on the second Tuesday of each month at the LAYOVER in downtown Oakland. FOR FREE. If you’re in the area, check them out on February 11th.
Find them @HaterTuesday
Coree Spencer grew up in San Francisco, but got her start in Portland’a ever-growing comedy metropolis before moving to New York City.
Taylor Gray grew up in Texas, lived in Portland, and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. That’s all fine and dandy, but what’s really exciting is that these women are the masterminds behind Bayside Myself, live stage readings of Saved By The Bell episodes. I’ll wait for your OMG THAT’S GENIUS moment before I highly recommend this show if ever you have the chance. Find them at The Creek and Cave in NYC on the second Mondays of every month at 9:30pm.
Find them @CoreeSpencer
Natasha Muse has mastered the art of wry, sarcastic humor, and has a knack for applying that wit to her personal stories.
She is also a member of one of the best things about the Bay Area, Femikaze, a pro-female, pro-funny sketch comedy collective in California’s East Bay that strives to create opportunities in comedy for ladies of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and orientations. If you want to find a wealth of new funny in your life, it’d be in your best interest to check them out!
Find them @NatashaMuse and @FemikazeComedy
Mary Van Note has been lauded as one of the best things since sliced bread.
And I’d say those accolades are very much earned. As the creator and star of the award winning Independent Film Channel web series “The Mary Van Note Show: Gavin Really Wants Me,” she is charming, hilarious and just a little bit crude. Who am I kidding, a lot crude. Her live shows showcase a sweet, shy and seemingly self-effacing comedian, with enough confidence, raunch and darkly comedic stories to captivate a room. See also, the girl of everyone’s dreams. After the fest you can find her at The Punchline Comedy Club in Sacramento on February 19th.
Find them @MaryVanNotes
I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t list Megan Mullally as one of their heroes.
I mean, we all looked up to Karen Walker as our life coach, right? Maybe that was just me, but Mullally has reinvented her funny even further, starting a band, Nancy and Beth, with fellow actress Stephanie Hunt (Friday Night Lights, Californication and How To Live With Your Parents For the Rest of Your Life). Along with their equally hilarious opener, The Lampshades (KATE FLANNERY aka Meredith from THE OFFICE and SCOT ROBINSON from ANCHORMAN), Nancy and Beth proved to be the one thing at the fest that I wish I’d have known about sooner! Check out their music video for “Pussy and Weed,” a song written by Nick Offerman with cameos by Allison Brie of Community as well as hist Parks and Recreation co-stars Adam Scott and Amy Poehler. Seriously? Seriously.
Find them at @NancyAndBeth
Lady to Lady really is about 4 ladies
Comedians Barbara Gray, Brandie Posey and Tess Barker welcome a fourth funny lady to the table each week to bring you Lady to Lady, a gut-busting romp through current events and pop culture, along with a healthy dose of embarrassingly hilarious personal revelations. On the SF edition? Karen Kilgariff, which if you know anything about anything, is one of the best at comedic songwriting. She was also the head writer for both The Ellen DeGeneres Show AND The Rosie Show. Check out the show, now posted on Maximumfun.org.
Find them @Lady2LadyComedy and @KarenKilgariff
I could be the only one still upset by HBO’s decision to ax Enlightened after only two seasons, but I’m willing to bet I’m not.
And while it’s not a third season, SFSF did bring the cast back together at Marines’ Memorial Theatre on the second Sunday of the fest. I mean, what Superbowl? Moderated by Andy Richter, co-creators and stars Laura Dern (“Amy”) and Mike White (“Tyler”), actors Timm Sharp (“Dougie”), Molly Shannon (“Eileen”), Sarah Burns (“Krista”) and producer David Bernad teased with what a third season might have looked like and allowed fans a glimpse in the deeply tender thought process behind the creation of the characters. If only I was able to get this much insight into all of my shows.
Find them @EnlightenedHBO
The term “Ladystache” is one of the best terms ever.
While I wasn’t able to see Allison Hogg and Steph Tolev of Ladystache perform, their name was enough to inspire me to embark on an evening of late-night video watching and what I found was a wealth of hilariously witty shorts that even SNL could take some tips from. Seems these ladies are comedic gem coming to us from Toronto, with the sketch comedy chops, accolades and experience to make you wonder where the capitol of comedy really is.
Find them @Lady_Stache @AllisonHogg @StephTolev
And what was most exciting about my trip?
Well I’ll tell you. Not only did I happen upon a week of pure, unadulterated comedy at a time when all I wanted to do was lay on a pile of my used tissues in a Parenthood induced sob-coma (BREAKUPS ARE HARD, OK), but I also found myself at a fest that recognized that The Next Wave of Stand-Up Comedy Stars was more than half women. MORE THAN HALF. Sure, maybe the old ‘are they or aren’t they’ debate is a tired, but it still tickles me when I see so many funny women getting the attention they very much deserve and I will never get tired of seeing women doing what they do best.
SF Sketchfest just completed its 13th year this weekend. For updates on next year’s festival keep connected to www.sfsketchfest.com.