SF Sketchfest Review: The Greatest Event in Festival History on 2/01/2014

by Mitch Kocen on February 2, 2014


The Greatest Event in Television History

It would be impossible to fill out a standard account of the events of The Greatest Event in Festival History, a panel for the shockingly popular Adult Swim series where Adam Scott (Party Down, Parks and Recreation) painstakingly recreates the opening sequences of 80’s tv shows. The panel featured star/creator/co-director Scott, co-director Lance Bangs (acclaimed music video director for acts such as Green Day, Belle and Sebastian and The Shins) and co-star/professional Ted Knight impersonator Jon Glaser (Parks and Recreation, Late Night with Conan O’Brien) and was moderated by Kumail Nanjiani (Franklin & Bash, The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail).

However, what happened during the 90 minutes that these stars were on stage defies all sense of narrative cause and effect. So, in order to give you an idea of what occurred that day, I present to you a list of real actual things that for real happened during The Greatest Event in Festival History.

  • Adam Scott entered the stage backwards and sat facing away from the audience, then engaged in a lengthy bit where he pretended not to know which way Kumail Nanjiani was pointing
  • Scott recounted the way the show began, where he and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm exchanged youtube links via e-mails one Saturday night and they both sent each other the opening credits to “Simon & Simon”
  • Nanjiani expressed shock that Jon Hamm spends his Saturday night sending youtube videos to his friends
  • Nanjiani expressed no shock whatsover that Adam Scott spends his Saturday night sending youtube videos to his friends
  • A lengthy discussion on how many Rs are in the word “clurb”
  • A lengthy discussion on the sound that e-mails make when they pass each other in cyber-space
  • A lengthy discussion on the sound e-mails make when they land in your inbox
  • A lengthy discussion on the differences in sound between a legitimate e-mail landing in your inbox and a spam e-mail landing in your inbox
  • The admission that the prior e-mail bit was scripted between Scott and Nanjiani, but the rest of the show would be improvised
  • A lengthy discussion between Scott and Jon Glaser where they did a surfer voice and discussed if the “sun has a sound”
  • The revelation that the sun does have a sound, and that sound is “rumblerumblerumble”
  • The revelation that Tom Hanks is “nice”
  • The revelation that Billy Joel is “nice”
  • The revelation that Billy Joel may or may not bring his own food with him when he goes out to eat
  • The revelation that flying in a single propeller helicopter is very dangerous
  • The revelation that if you have the e-mail address of a famous person and send them an ingratiating e-mail, they’ll probably agree to be on your TV show
  • The revelation that Catherine O’Hara is “nice”
  • A review of the question I asked during Q&A, where Scott rated it as “a great question”, Glaser rated it as “A confident question” and Nanjiani declared that I had “the Mitch Voice.” My question received an “A” but was downgraded to “A-” so they had somewhere to go up with subsequent questions
  • The revelation that they had wanted to do an episode based on the 90120 theme, but were unable to do so due to scheduling conflicts
  • A real life “Leslie Knope” who works for the SF parks department and revealed that the show is very accurate
  • A screening of the Bosom Buddies episode
  • The revelation that the “tossing oranges into the bag” scene of the Bosom Buddies episode was real, but the catching the handball behind his back scene was done with CGI
  • The revelation that neither Scott nor Lance Bangs knows much about Full House
  • The revelation that Nanjiani had a crush on Kimmy Gibbler
  • A discussion of Scott’s role on the show “Boy Meets World”
  • A phenomenal “Groundhog’s Day” bit that was so well orchestrated that I suspect that the woman in the audience who repeated her question perfectly three times may have been a plant
  • Adam Scott’s heartfelt surprise and humble pleasure that so many people came out to celebrate their quirky show
  • A group of people dressed like Party Down characters
  • The revelation that the couch from Too Close for Comfort was built by their set department and was not an original couch from the era

Of course, this list can’t fully convey the fantastic chemistry between the panel, the clear love that the cast and crew has for the project and the wonder and beauty of Jon Glaser’s Sun monologue. All told, it was a phenomenal way to celebrate what may be the greatest (and is certainly the weirdest) event in television history.

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