The last night of SF Sketchfest is so bittersweet. This year I attended 9 shows in three weeks and they were all great, but a girl with a day job can get quite tired. But I powered through, hurrying from one event to another to end my Sketchfest experience with an excellent stand up show thanks to Iron Comic. This is my third time watching this show, and this year was the most enticing with some of my favorite comedians competing: Eddie Pepitone, Todd Barry, Emily Heller, Rory Scovel and Chris Garcia. It was going to be quite a competition.
Iron Comic is a competition based show where topics suggested by the audience are pulled out of a hat and the Iron Comics are given eight minutes to write two minutes of material on that subject. There is a total of three rounds of this, afterwards the judges pick the top two Iron Comics and they have a head to head sudden death round. Luckily for the audience and comics, Nato Green is experienced with this and knows what topics to throw away. Not only did the show start with Green and Kasher giving examples of terrible ideas they didn’t allow in the hat, but also many are thrown away on the spot as they are pulled out of the hat. Now, while the Iron Comics write, this show could get really boring if we were left just sitting there for the eight minutes, so instead we were treated to stand up sets from our hosts during this time. It all added up to a varied and entertaining show.
The first topic selected from the hat was pigeons. I was pretty curious how that one was going to turn out and I was full of high hopes. My personal favorite in this round was Rory Scovel who talked about the hilarious and disturbing idea that pigeons are really flying vehicles for rats to travel more quickly. The second topic was New Orleans, which seemed like it should be a throw-away topic to me, and Eddie Pepitone was my favorite that round, screaming and ranting about how terrible New Orleans is, then suddenly and quietly pleading for donations for people who ask for help on Twitter (which was a recurring theme in all rounds for Pepitone). The last round’s topic was secrets, probably the best topic of the three, where Emily Heller took it by giving away all her fellow competitors hilarious secrets.
As if that wasn’t enough we were also treated to stand up sets from the aforementioned hosts, Nato Green and Moshe Kasher, and also some surprise guests. Drennon Davis added music to the precedings, sometimes as background enhancement and sometimes as comedic routines themselves. He did some fun mash-ups, like The Doors and Morrisey (Jim Morrisey) and Bell Biv Devo, along with his great comedic song “I Drink Beer Like a Baby Deer”. We also got a great 8 minute set from LA based comedian Eliza Skinner, whose prepared material was great, but her freestyle rap of the rejected Iron Comic topics left littering the stage was even better.
It is so interesting watching a show in this format because it really displays each comic’s voice in the patterns you see emerge as they take on each topic. Todd Barry always started with giving the club a funny name for the based on the topic, then slowly expanded into his ideas. Emily Heller always gave quick-fire short jokes on the subject. Rory Scovel tended to go for the ridiculous and imaginative while Chris Garcia went for stories from his real life (or at least he presented them that way). Eddie Pepitone always started with high energy frustration/anger, then went soft in his plea for money for his twitter followers, then brought the energy back up for a moment to bring it home.
In the end the judges picked two finalists, Todd Barry and Emily Heller, who did one liners on topics pulled quickly by Nato Green from the hat. Both did a great job and the night ended in a tie. Which I guess was okay since, according to Green, all winning really does is allow bloggers like me something to complain about. I don’t want to disappoint, so I will say I thought the finalists should have been Eddie Pepitone and Emily Heller, but with the actual finalists I’m good with the tied outcome. So there! Just cause I’m a blogger doesn’t mean I have to be a jerk. At least not this time. How could I be after such a wonderful Sketchfest?