john hodgman

All Photos by Tommy Lau

I’m going to make a very bold statement: If Dick Cavett never existed, late night television would be unrecognizable. As a writer and a talent coordinator of the original Tonight Show with Jack Paar, he helped shape the structure of the show, and stayed on for a bit as Johnny Carson took over. He continued to work on The Jerry Lewis Show before getting the opportunity to host his own talk show, The Dick Cavett Show, which lasted in some iteration from 1968 ‘til 1996, then back again from 2006-2007, bouncing between networks and time slots, but still keeping the same basic premise of edgy humor and probing interviews.

Tonight was a little bit different for Cavett. Tonight, Cavett became the subject of the interview, not the conductor. Tonight was special. And the person taking on the role of Cavett for the task in interviewing Cavett? Mr. John Hodgman. [read the whole post]


It’s that time of year when the best possible three weeks of comedy programing take over Bay Area theaters, art spaces, and nightclubs: SF Sketchfest! There is so much good stuff happening that it’s impossible to make heads or tails of where to go when. Well, I’ve been studying the schedule in great detail for the last several weeks, and since I am of impeccable taste, I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt what the best things are to do each day of the event. [read the whole post]


Sketchfest is really rough. There is literally too much to do over the course of the three weeks the festival runs. We have 18 days of anywhere between 3-10 shows, all special events with performers that rarely come to San Francisco to perform. I’m here to help you decide what to do. Below  are some of the events that I find the most interesting over the course of the entire event. You can use my handy guide, or you can just go rogue and take a look at the full schedule here! [read the whole post]



The podcast, “We Got This With Mark and Hal,” has a very simple concept. Mark Gagliardi (Drunk History, Thrilling Adventure Hour) and Hal Lublin (Welcome to Night Vale, Thrilling Adventure Hour) get on the microphone and settle the most important disputes of our times, and some other ones. Episodes include “Sweet or Sour pickles,” “Worst Christmas Song” and most importantly, “Socks: Fold or Roll?” While I hardly ever agree with their conclusions, listening is always a pleasure, and I wouldn’t miss the chance to see them settle a VERY important debate, live at SF Sketchfest: “Star Wars or Star Trek?” [read the whole post]



The Dead Pilots Society is a podcast hosted by Ben Blacker and Andrew Reich. The premise is simple: there are hundreds of scripts for pilots out there that never get filmed. Many of them are fine pieces of writing, but the tv networks simply didn’t have use for them. So, they bring in actors and do them “Reader’s Theater” style. Toady at the Eureka, we were treated to two sitcom pilots that were both optioned by networks, but never made it to production. Today was their first time doing it with an audience. [read the whole post]


The Thrilling Adventure Hour reincarnated = Workjuice Theater

The Thrilling Adventure Hour reincarnated = Workjuice Theater. (Photo cred: thanks to Tommy Lau photography!)

This year would have been my fifth consecutive year watching The Thrilling Adventure Hour at SF Sketchfest. Sadly, it seems I must finally admit that I’m a terrible podcast fan. I adore this show, but I’m a little behind. Ok, a lot behind: what I mean is, I never listen to podcasts. Like, ever. So that’s how far behind I am. It’s always been enough for me to keep up with this show whenever I could catch it live (which, as it happened, was once annually here in the city at Sketchfest). So okay, I didn’t know that there were ashes from which something new could be reborn, but mercifully, I needn’t waste too many tears: Workjuice Theatre definitely scratches the itch withdrawals from TAH might have given me. (Am I making any sense? Translation: I didn’t know that one of my favorite shows had ended, but a similar show with even same bits and characters has taken its place, so yay! Anyway, the show may have a new name, but I was just as happy as always to find myself back in my usual seat at Brava Theater Center last Saturday night to watch Craig, Hal, Marc, Mark, Paget, Paul and the gang! [read the whole post]


A Nerd’s Guide To Sketchfest 2016

January 5, 2016

WHAT?!? Sketchfest is already here?!?! It’s quite a bit earlier than usual this year; I’m sure that this is due to some strange event — wherein grown men run around and throw objects at each other in order to help promote the new Coldplay album — interfering with everything in the Bay. If you are actually […]

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Sketchfest Review: The Thrilling Adventure Hour, 2/8/15

February 13, 2015

One of the best things about SF Sketchfest every year is getting to watch all the fantastic talent of The Thrilling Adventure Hour. For any unfamiliar with this show, it’s a live, staged version of an old time radio show, and it’s never failed to entertain me for all the years I’ve been there to […]

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts, 1/23/14-1/29/14

January 23, 2014

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 […]

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Sketchfest Review: Pretty Good Friends at Cobb’s Comedy Club, 1/20/12

January 22, 2012

Eugene Mirman’s show Pretty Good Friends turned out to be a great start to my SF Sketchfest experience, in spite of the grim start to the evening.  At 10:20 it was pouring rain and the line to get in to Cobb’s Comedy Club was around the block.  I was umbrella-less, water dripping off my nose and […]

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