There are a few things that you can depend on with Sketchfest every year. We always get w0otstock. We always get a Nerdist Podcast. There is always something featuring a former member of The State. All of those things sell out. One show that they invite back every year that somehow never sells out is Bring The Rock. The premise is super simple- a comedian talks about music. Then Greg Behrendt’s surf rock band The Reigning Monarchs covers a song with the comic singing lead. On paper, this sounds amusing. In reality, it’s the perfect love letter to both humor and rock n roll.
After a blistering surf rock instrumental, Behrendt kicked this off in high gear, talking about the time he was at a Guitar Center, seeing various different hair metal musicians sell back their gear for money. He compared this to Jack White, a man that is working hard to make sure that he’s taken care of financially by creating an empire above and beyond his rock career. He also told a story about seeing Lars Ulrich from Metallica in shorts, noticing his giant penis. All of this brought us to a searing take on The White Stripes’ “I Think I Smell A Rat.”
Our next performer was Joe Sib. Sib is the owner of Side One Dummy records, home of Gogol Bordello and Flogging Molly. He was also the singer for Wax and 22 Jacks. He also is a stand up comic. So, yes, he’s got everything down. Instead of telling jokes, however, he opted to discuss his history in the world of rock n roll. He spoke of his humble punk rock roots, as well as his fight to get Wax signed to a major label. Tours were rough. Weezer’s first show was opening for Wax, and it seems they were terrible at first. He revealed that the dialogue at the beginning of “Undone (The Sweater Song)” is making fun of Sib’s way of talking. He spoke of his jealousy of Weezer because they broke and Wax didn’t, mostly because Weezer broke with a song mocking Wax. The story may have been a hair long winded, but felt so very honest. However, when the band got to play the song, he started out doing the dialogue from Weezer’s hit, only to stop it and go straight into Wax’s only radio hit: “California.” A song that I never thought I’d hear live, and I haven’t heard in at least 20 years.
Next up was the great Garfunkel & Oates. A great band in their own regard, this folk comedy duo opted to discuss their very first headlining show, instead of a rock n roll story. This was Riki Lindhome’s (Garfunkel) 30th Birthday Party. It was also their third show ever. They didn’t have an hour’s worth of material, so they stretched a lot. Kate Micucci (Oates) performed “Like A Virgin” while wearing a scuba mask. They read passages from Ashanti’s poetry book. They closed their set here by reenacting a performance from the party that was created when Lindhome was nine. Lindhome choreographed a dance to “Every Little Step” by Bobby Brown. They did it at the show. They did it again tonight. It was so wonderfully goofy and amazing.
Metalocalypse mastermind Brendan Small riffed on Steinbeck for a while, then told a tale of trying to use the bathroom at a Tenacious D show, only to get stopped by Eddie Van Halen. He then played some impressive Van Halen guitar. Natasha Leggero told a story of getting reversed heckled by Martin Lawrence when he couldn’t pronounce Natasha’s name. Her song? I ridiculous take on “I’m In Love With The CoCo” by OT Genasis, complete with an amazing long t-shirt and spraying the audience down with carpet cleaner.
Closing the show was the great Chris Hardwick. He’s had a pretty amazing year, but his rock n roll history runs pretty deep. He had a show on MTV during the golden era of MTV. He worked for KROCK during the 90’s alternative rock revolution. He starred in “Rock Of Ages” on Broadway. And, yes, he had stories about all of this. He spoke of being brought on stage by Tommy Shaw to sing “Sister Christian.” He spoke of Ted Nugent having sex with a literal pile of women. He spoke of attempting to interview Radiohead in the early 90’s, only to have Thom Yorke abruptly leave. His song? A beautiful medley of “Creep” by Radiohead and “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger, walking through the room and having a ball.
Next year, seriously, GO TO THIS SHOW! We don’t want them to stop booking it.