SF Sketchfest Review: Spotlight on “Drunk History” at Castro Theater, 1/9/16

by Marie Carney on January 12, 2016


As completely expected Spotlight on “Drunk History” was a big drunken funny mess. Well, maybe it was a little drunker and a little messier than I expected, but that’s how the narrators often are on the show, so it all worked out. The simple explanation of the show is there was a panel with show creator Derek Waters and a moderator (Henri Mazza from Alamo Drafthouse) showing clips from the show then discussing them with the drunken narrator of that story. To make it more complicated, or more non-sensical, all these people had quite a bit to drink before they came on stage.

As always with the big Sketchfest events, the Castro Theater was packed and lines for drinks and restrooms were long and winding up the stairs. So after a 25 minutes wait for both of those things I settled in to my seat just in time for the show to start. The one part I had missed in all this was some encouragement to buy drinks from founder David Owen. Most people did not miss the memo though and I would find out later just how drunk Spotlight on “Drunk History” was about to be.

Once the Henri Mazza and Derek Waters came out they started off right away with a clip from the show. It was an excellent one on the story of Harriet Tubman and worked well warming us up. Then Waters and Mazza talked for a bit, then there was another clip staring Kyle Kinane’s drunken storytelling skills, after which Kinane came out on stage and proved himself to be almost as drunk as he was in the clip. This was the format for the rest of the show, clip, then drunken narrator drunkenly comes out on stage. The other performers gracing the stage were Steve Berg, Eric Edelstein, Cameron Esposito and Ron Funches (who had no clip as he doesn’t drink). After all that there was also the messiest, drunkest, and craziest audience Q&A I’ve ever seen.

Overall the show was fun, but didn’t give me the same excited feeling that other panel type Sketchfest shows I’ve been to have. Usually I feel like I got some sort of insight to the show, or the people involved, but this time was just funny, nothing deeper. Choosing to have everyone on the panel be super drunk was a funny concept, but just didn’t really work in practice. They maybe could have used the wonderful editing that is used on the TV version. The show just devolved quickly into the comedians just teasing each other and telling inside jokes. It was still funny, and the clips were great of course, but I couldn’t help feeling like there could have been more to it. Especially when it ended on such a horrid Q&A. The questions were all slurred drunken statements and no one was cut off, they seemed to be encouraged to be as weird and creepy as possible. Who knows though, maybe my one mistake was being the sober person amongst all this liquor. I really should have known better.

I do not regret going, it was a fun time, but I definitely think I still have my best show of Sketchfest to come. So now, after the first lovely weekend, I am three shows in, six to go, and still ready for more.


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