The thirteenth annual SF Sketchfest is upon us, littering San Francisco with night after night of too many good things at once.
To help with these sorts of problems, please consult “A Nerd’s Guide To Sketchfest 2014.” Yes, Dakin’s full-on once-over of this year’s fest is just the right guide to help you make those wrenching nerd decisions about which one-of-a-kind Sketchfest show to choose from on each jam-packed night. Too much good stuff is a good/ANNOYING problem to have. You are fortunate. We are fortunate.
This week! We have Canadiens! Sleepwalkers! Metal! Tim! Punk rock benefit shows! And science! O you lucky person, you — to have all of these awesome things to choose from.
Here’s what’s coming up this week.
Thursday, January 23th
• SF Sketchfest 2014: “Napoleon Dynamite” 10th Anniversary screening + conversation/Q&A with Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), Jon Gries (Uncle Rico), and Efren Ramirez (Pedro) moderated by Starlee Kine at The Castro Theatre, San Francisco (co-presented by the San Francisco Film Society)
In 2004, Napoleon Dynamite felt startlingly original, a paean of awkwardness, persistence, and America. Now, the gang’s back together at Sketchfest to tell stories and answer questions about this bolt of bravery.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: SF Sketchfest Tribute to Tenacious D: An Evening of Conversation, Clips and Songs with Jack Black and Kyle Gass moderated by Paul F. Tompkins at The Castro Theatre, San Francisco
Rock your socks off! Tenacious D are rock. They’ve battle demons, they’ve befriended Sasquatch, they’ve faced Satan himself in a musical battle. They’ve played Maritime Hall, they’ve rocked The Warfield on Halloween, and now they have playtime with the supremely coiffed Paul F. Tomkins at The Castro.
Tenacious D are getting the Sketchfest tribute treatment (which by the transitive properties of tributes will surely be passed to the greatest song in the world), which means they’ll get on stage with Paul F. Tompkins and tell some stories, show some clips, and almost certainly play a set of music. Heck, Kyle may even quit the band! Fans of “The D” should not miss this event. It’s currently “sold out” but there will be tickets at the door.
• Eyehategod, Graves At Sea, Hazzards Cure, Bedrucken at The Brick And Mortar, San Francisco
They’ve been all around the bay this week, Southern sludge legends Eyehategod conjure a harsh wave of blues-scorched metal.
Friday, January 22nd
• Eyehategod, Graves At Sea, Lidtoker, Stoneburner, Swampwitch, Lycus, Augurs at the Metro, Oakland
EHG hold forth on the other side of the bridge.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: Wits with John Moe and guests Paget Brewster, Nellie McKay, Eugene Mirman, Paul F. Tompkins and Loudon Wainwright III at Marines’ Memorial Theatre, San Francisco
Face it, public radio is awesome.
It’s a classic variety show for the NPR set. Which means, of course, it’s a variety show for people not used to seeing the people they are being entertained by, so this could be a little weird. Nonetheless, we’ve got some of the smartest and funniest people in the world on this stage, including music from Nellie McKay and Loudon Wainwright III and comics Paget Brewster, Eugene Mirman, and Paul F. Tompkins for a wonderful evening of conversation, music, and more.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: Dave Foley & Kevin McDonald, hosted by Joselyn Hughes at the Brava Theater
Enter the Pit Of Ultimate Darkness with Simon and Hecubus! Two of The Kids In The Hall (and known Canadians), Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald sit down with Joselyn Hughes. Expect evil. Polite evil.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: Heidecker & Wood at the Rickshaw Stop
Tim (of Tim And Eric) versus AM 70s rock, full-on onstage. Sports!
• SF Sketchfest 2014: StarTalk Live with special guest host Bill Nye the Science Guy and co-host Eugene Mirman at Marines’ Memorial Theatre, San Francisco
Comedians and science combine as Eugene Mirman meets Bill Nye The Science Guy in conversation.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: Dead Authors with Paul F. Tompkins and guest Thomas Lennon at the Brava Theater, San Francisco
Ever wanted to know what it would be like if H.G. Wells had a podcast where he traveled through time to have conversations with some of the most influential writers of all time? Well, it exists, and is very engrossing.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: 313 Improv with Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele), Maribeth Monroe (Workaholics), Marc Evan Jackson (Suit Up), Marc Warzecha, “and more” with 140 Characters, a Twitter-themed solo show by Cole Stratton at the Eureka Theatre, San Francisco
313 = long-form improv group representing Detroit’s 313 by way of Los Angeles. 313 feature Key of Key & Peele, and at least two Marcs spelled with the c. Also, Cole Stratton performs his appropriately short tweet-based solo show. Stratton is a huuuge fan of the Detroit Red Wings, so if “The Captain” means #19 to you, you’ll get along just fine with him.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: Smug Shift with Moshe Kasher and Brent Weinbach with guests Graham Elwood, Natasha Leggero, Sara Schaefer and Nick Thune at the Verdi Club, San Francisco
If you like it droll and dry like a failed description of a martini or a video game’s desert level, you’ll love Smug Shift. It’s a night of comedy hosted by Kashner and Weinbach. Yep.
Saturday, January 25th
• Shark Toys, Gangrene Gang, Sharky Coast at Eli’s Mile High Club, Oakland
Sharks. Sharks? Sharks.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: David Koechner at The Independent, San Francisco
David Koechner is riding high lately with Anchorman 2 in the theaters and another movie, Cheap Thrills, seeing release in March. Pretty good for a guy who knows that son-of-a-bitch Bill Brasky.
• Blue Bear Band, Travis Hayes, Uni And Her Ukelele, The Melvinator (Eric Melvin of NOFX) at Thee Parkside, San Francisco
• Chuck Ragan, Matt Skiba, Uke-Hunt, Travis Hayes, The Melvinator The Melvinator (Eric Melvin of NOFX) at Thee Parkside, San Francisco
It’s the second annual Rock Out With Your Chalk Out, a whole day of mellow punky music to benefit Miraloma Elementary School’s musical programs. This year we have a DJ set from NOFX’s Eric Melvin along with Uni And Her Ukelele in the afternoon, and in the evening there are solo sets from Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music) and Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio) plus more uke and more Travis Hayes and more Melvin.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: Kevin McDonald improv and sketch workshop at Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco
You can conceivably attend an improv workshop led by Kevin McDonald, the squeakiest member of The Kids In The Hall. Neat.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: “On Cinema” with Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington watching “Wired” at The Roxie Theatre presented by Club Chuckles
On Cinema is an anti-cinema and anti-podcast kind of movie podcast with host Tim Heidecker (Tim And Eric) and perma-guest Gregg Turkington (Neil Hamburger; Amarillo Records). In this episode, Tim and Gregg go up against the ill-rendered John Belushi biopic “Wired” from 1989 starring Michael Chiklis. Expect cinematic catastrophe.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: Farewell, Futurama! with John DiMaggio, Billy West, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr and Lee Supercinski at Marines’ Memorial Theatre, San Francisco
When was the last time a TV show was pulled back, not from the brink of cancellation, but actually revived after being off the air for five years? And for those rare shows that find new life and a new home, how many can boast that some of their best work was produced AFTER its return (looking at you, Family Guy)? Join beloved voice actors Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, and Phil LaMarr for what will begin as a spirited Q&A session but will quickly devolve into people just asking the panel to say funny things in funny voices.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: SF Sketchfest Tribute to Key & Peele: Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele in conversation at Cobb’s Comedy Club, San Francisco
Key & Peele’s incisive comedy has been in bloom lately, reaching so far that an NFL player actually performed part of one of their sketches as a post-touchdown celebration. And drew a penalty flag. Which is what happened in the sketch too.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: Superego Podcast with Colin Hanks (Tom Hanks), John Hodgman (The Daily Show), Paul F. Tompkins and James Urbaniak (The Venture Bros.) and more at the Brava Theater, San Francisco
Psuedoscience as podcast, Superego have been recording loose character-based improv while wearing white coats since 2006.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: The Groundlings: The Black Version with Jordan Black, Daniele Gaither, Keegan-Michael Key, Phil LaMarr, Karen Maruyama, Jordan Peele, Gary Anthony Williams and Cedric Yarbrough at the Brava Theater, San Francisco
Groundlings! Improv! Movies! “An all African-American cast of seasoned improv specialists from the world-famous troupe The Groundlings asks the audience to suggest a popular film title and then performs the ‘black version’ of that movie.” Brilliant.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: Tim Heidecker & Neil Hamburger hosted by Nick Flanagan at the Verdi Club, San Francisco
America’s Funnyman (and Tim) conspire to bring you the misshapen comedy that the United States Of America requires. Neil Hamburger is not the comedian that San Francisco needs — he’s the comedian that San Francisco deserves.
• Burt Bacharach at Cache Creek Casino Resort, Brooks
It’s come to this, Burt.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: Nellie McKay and Tom Brosseau at the Verdi Club
Regular Spinning Platters readers probably have picked up on my personal love of the works of Nellie McKay. She is a singer/songwriter that lives merges together the sounds of classic jazz and pop with a very modern level of insight. She has written songs about such dark topics as animal testing, warfare, and the death penalty, and injects them with a gently touch of humor really helps hit the message home without coming off overly preachy. LA folk singer Tom Brosseau will be warming up the crowd.
Sunday, January 26th
• SF Sketchfest 2014: w00tstock Founders’ Night 3: Day of the Founders with Adam Savage, Paul and Storm, and Pat Rothfuss (Wil Wheaton can’t make it) at Marines’ Memorial Theatre, San Francisco
w00tstock is simple. It’s a night packed with wall-to-wall geekery, featuring some real, live, bona fide nerds. Paul and Storm, whose albums include “Opening Band” and “Do You Like Star Wars?” often bring it with some of their hilarious nerd culture themed music. Last year, Adam Savage, part of the MythBusters crew, lent an air of legitimacy to the whole night, giving a talk on quantifying the hilariousness of a dick-shaped poop on the road. If poop jokes and songs about George R.R. Martin sound like something you could see yourself enjoying, then w00tstock is for you.
• SF Sketchfest 2014: Porchlight Storytelling hosted by Beth Lisick and Arline Klatte with guests Anthony Bedard, Caitlin Gill, Kevin McDonald, April Richardson, Anna Seregina and Nick Thune at the Verdi Club, San Francisco
Porchlight Storytelling has been carrying the torch of live storytelling in the Bay Area since 2002. Join Beth Lisick and Arline Klatte for astonishingly true tales.
• The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit, Jayke Orvis & The Broken Band, James Hunnicutt at the Catalyst Atrium, Santa Cruz
Friendly twangy Americana music from the Central Valley meant for just about everybody but’re particularly resonant for enthusiasts of overalls.
Monday, January 27th
• SF Sketchfest 2014: Wheels Off: The Rhett Miller Show with guests John Doe, Paul F. Tompkins and more at Yoshi’s, San Francisco
It’s an old school variety show, there’s comedy, there’s music, there’s discussion, and even a sketch or two.
Tuesday, January 28th
• Mike Birbiglia at Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco
Birbigs has been telling stories in his bemused-at-the-world voice through standup, one-man shows, and on public radio — where he really found his audience/place. Tales of confusion, general gentle addlement, and sleepwalking.
• Flesh Gordo, World Of Shit, Speed Wobbles, No Brainer at Sprenger’s Tap Room, Santa Rosa (Benefit for Mike Filth)
Mike Filth of Filth is battling prostate cancer. There have been old school punker shows throughout the Bay Area filled with reunions and get-back-togethers working to raise money for the guy. Punk rock for a good cause.
Wednesday, January 29th
• The Eagles at the Shark Tank, San Jose
Really, nothing about The Eagles could be sadder or more damning than the fact that The Eagles are still touring.