Thomas Lennon

From Left: Paget Brewster, Eugene Mirman, Paula Pell, Thomas Lennon. Photos by Dan Dion

When I plotted out my Sketchfest schedule this year, I based my show decisions on a number of factors:

  1. Scarcity: How often does this person actually come to town?
  2. Age: How likely is it that I won’t be seeing this performer ever again?
  3. Fandom: The old “does this performer make my heart feel warm” when I think of them?
  4. Past experiences: Have I gone to this show or seen this performer before and enjoyed them?
  5. Podcast I’ve never heard before: Can I experience a live recording of a podcast before ever listening to it or really even understanding the format?

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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]


Doug Benson.  My favorite shit-talker.

Doug Benson. My favorite shit-talker, hands down.

Okay, truth: almost exactly a year ago, I saw Doug Benson and a bunch of other funny dudes trash talk their way through the first Twilight movie, and haven’t stopped snickering about it since. While Sketchfest is one of our favorite times of year at Spinning Platters, regardless of which specific shows pop up on the yearly schedules, I secretly hoped all year long that the success of last year’s Benson Movie Interruption might become a yearly thing that would carry me through all five terrible films in the the Twilight “saga.” So imagine the joy I felt when this year’s Sketchfest schedule was released, and there it was: The Benson Movie Interruption: Twilight: New Moon! I sent my request in immediately, along with a note to my managing editor that basically said it was the one event I had to cover, even if it meant skipping new events I really wanted to check out. Thankfully, not only did I get access to see Doug and other funnies again this year, but I didn’t have to sacrifice lots of other chances to giggle! And for those that don’t know: whether you love Twilight or hate it, as long as you have a sense of humor, this is something you should plan on attending in the years that follow (there are still three films left in Doug’s series). There is no better way to spend an afternoon, especially a rainy Saturday as was the case this year, than in a room full of people watching a truly awful movie, with many a funny man talking shit over it all. Trust me, it’s wonderful. And I already can’t wait to do it again next year…

After scoring a parking spot on the street directly across from the Castro Theatre, waiting in an insanely long (but mercifully quick-moving) line for the ladies’ room, and finally settling into a comfy seat in the back, next to a sweet lady named Val and her hubby, I was ready for the fun to begin. [read the whole post]



There is something about Yelp that inspires some of the finest creative writing out there today. I really enjoy reading pieces where the writer is in so much pain and frustration over the poor treatment they got at a commercial establishment, that they feel compelled to write a letter to the entire world about the demons that can be found in such a place. One Star with Thomas Lennon and Matt Mira is a show that pays loving tribute to those passionate writers. Until last night, those voices could only be heard if you stumbled across them on the web. Now, those voices can be heard by all.

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Wake up and go to shows this week! So many shows...

Wake up and go to shows this week! So many shows…

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 nerd decisions about which one-of-a-kind Sketchfest show to choose from on each jam-packed night. Too much good stuff is a good/ANNOYING problem to have. You are fortunate. We are fortunate.

This week! We have Canadiens! Sleepwalkers! Metal! Tim! Punk rock benefit shows! And science! O you lucky person, you — to have all of these awesome things to choose from.

Here’s what’s coming up this week.

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This one was taken in the actual world famous comic book store.

On Wednesdays, in Los Angeles, you can go to Meltdown Comics and see comedy in the back of a comic book store. On Saturday night in San Francisco, hosts Kumail Nanjiani and Jonah Ray brought the comics but left the store behind. What this meant is that  we were treated to a  long and varied night of stand-up from a number of Meltdown regulars without a single back issue in sight.  A small group of Spinning Platters writers were there, and Marie Carney and I are going to take on the task of telling you as much as possible about each comedian while saying as little as possible, and of course not burning material. That’s right: capsule reviews! [read the whole post]


Sketchfest Review: Comedy NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences, 1/26/11

January 29, 2012

  When I saw the roster of performers playing at California Academy of Sciences I knew I had to check it out.  Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Greg Proops, Rick Overton and Will Franken were all scheduled to be there plus many more.  I had no idea how they were going to pack in all […]

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Sketchfest Review: An Evening With Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, and Kerri Kenney-Silver at Cobb’s, 1/27/12

January 28, 2012

There are three televisions series that I have every episode of committed to memory. Those are My So-Called Life, Police Squad, and The State. Of course, I made sure to follow the careers closely of all those involved. Yes, that meant weeding through a ton of Spy Hard’s, Stardust‘s, and VH-1’s I Love The Best […]

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A Nerd’s Guide To SF Sketchfest 2012

January 16, 2012

For 11 years, San Francisco has had the opportunity to witness the best in comedy. And, for the third straight year, we’ve helped you dig through the 500,000,000 amazing shows to find the best shows for only the nerdiest of San Franciscans. And, since I am a man of exquisite taste, you will trust my […]

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Sketchfest Review: Viva Variety! at Eureka Theater, 1/29/11

February 1, 2011”

At The Eureka Theater last Saturday night, there was a definite air of nostalgia. I often consider Viva Variety! to be the forgotten middle child. It wasn’t nearly as popular as it’s predecessor, The State, nor did it have the longevity of Reno 911. It was a fun program, the fictitious variety show from Europe […]

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