Moreover, she promises with understandable confidence, "The workshops are going to be tremendously fun."
Then there's TV-style audience participation. "Some of the performers from the 'Comedy Death-Ray' show [David Cross, Maria Bamford, and Paul F. Tompkins] will be doing their version of the old '70s game show Match Game. Jimmy Pardo hosts the show, and it's a really fun, relaxed environment where the audience gets to both participate and to see the comedians think on their feet," Varney says.
"And of course," she adds, "we're really excited to honor Paul Reubens at this year's SF Sketchfest Tribute." The event which in years past has saluted the likes of Amy Sedaris (2004), Dana Carvey (2005), and Cross and Odenkirk (2006) includes an audience Q&A with Reubens after he has a sit-down conversation with journalist Ben Fong-Torres.
Closing night builds to a crescendo of sorts with a program of music and comedy, featuring Kids in the Hall veteran Bruce McCulloch (2005's hilarious opener, back for more with accompanist Craig Northey) and two returning Los Angeles acts, the fine duo Hard 'N Phirm and comedy rapper Dragon Boy Suede.
"Sketch is very strong right now," Stratton notes. "I think sites like YouTube are ushering in a new wave of sketch groups. High-quality cameras and editing equipment are readily available, so a lot of funny things are being produced and immediately snatched up online." It's had a feedback effect on the comedy circuit. "A lot of groups mix their filmed stuff with live performance and tour festivals with it, a trend we've noticed increasing in the last few years. With festivals popping up in Chicago, Portland, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Vancouver, sketch is in high demand." *