It's been three years since hyperkinetic funnyman John Leguizamo last played the Bay Area, when he workshopped his newest solo show, then called Klass Klown,at the Berkeley Rep. Following the confessional tone established by his previous solo shows, such as Freak,which in which he recreated moments from his stormy adolescence, and Sexaholix...a Love Story, which tackled both his playa heyday and his rehabilitated foray into fatherhood and married life, his renamed, award-winning Ghetto Klownfocuses on his career trajectory in a format that's part documentary, part tell-all exposé.
Now returning for a brief victory lap at the Orpheum Theatre, Leguizamo is looking forward to reconnecting with his West Coast fans. I managed to catch up with him over the telephone and got him to dish on the evolution of his show, his newfound love of touring, and the key to his boundless energy.
San Francisco Bay Guardian Why did you decided to tackle this particular narrative?
The first SF Sketchfest, in 2002, was a good excuse to find a stage and some quality time for its organizers’ own sketch comedy troupe, Totally False People, but it has since become an annual comedy conclave of the first order. SF Sketchfest founders David Owen, Cole Stratton, and Janet Varney talk about the growth and philosophy of their annual comedy extravaganza and the humble beginnings that gave it rise.
San Francisco Bay Guardian Is SF Sketchfest a full time job by now?
David Owen Yeah, I think it is. It definitely gets more intense a few months out, but we’re always working on it, we’re always percolating ideas, as well as trying to do events throughout the year. We had a presence at Outside Lands this past year. We’re always trying to do stuff. But this time of year especially, from fall on, is beyond full-time for us.
THEATER Dan Harmon, performing at this year's SF Sketchfest, is on the phone, talking about therapy. He's explaining his belief that a person can find a mental illness for anything they can name, with some fetishistic examples. "There are people out there who like to be walked on," the creator and former show runner of NBC's Community says. "There's people who like to eat human fecal matter. There's people who want to have sex with kites."Read more »
Note: don't miss Ryan Prendiville's article on SF Sketchfest's Harmontown event in tomorrow's paper.
"I like to talk," Dan Harmon said at the end of our Harmontownphone interview, while I was apologizing for going over the scheduled time. "And then everyone goes 'I'm sorry, I love this but you know this is a 50-word piece next to the weather.' I get, I get it." Given that, post-Community, Harmon co-created a series for Cartoon Network, successfully crowd sourced an animated Charlie Kaufman film, pitched a Harmontown spin-off Dungeons & Dragons web series, and written pilots for Fox and CBS, there were a lot of topics to cover. Here's an extended Q&A for the Harmonites.
San Francisco Bay Guardian With the options you have now with the internet and cable channels like Cartoon Network, why go back to network TV?
Dan Harmon That's easy. Because nobody gets offered those opportunities, and although the networks are losing out to an increasingly fragmented media, you can still reach more people with a CBS sitcom in a half hour than with other things in a few weeks.
A word of advice to the person who shouted, “who’s your favorite clothing designer?,” at W. Kamau Bell during his December 9th show at the Fillmore: a guy who wears a "Legalize Arizona" t-shirt during a night he considers one of the biggest moments of his career probably doesn’t give a shit about fashion. (Initially befuddled by the question, Bell eventually responded "Dickies.") In addition, to the person who asked Bell whether or not he thought was a whore for being on TV, if he is a one ... well you paid for your ticket to the show, right?
Glad we could get that out of the way first. Read more »
Attention burrito vendors of the Mission, there is a sale to be made at the arrivals gate of SFO this weekend when newly-minted TV star W. Kamau Bell makes his triumphant return to the city in which he spent 15 years honing his comedic chops. He is aching for a Mission burrito like this city is aching for a more efficient MUNI system.
Culinary yearnings aside, this Sunday Bell headlines a standup show at the Fillmore as part of his “Kamau Mau Uprising” tour. The tour's moniker should come as no surprise to those who are familiar with Bell's politically progressive, acerbic wit. Read more »
GOLDIES A PianoFight show can be almost as striking for its audience as for what the company puts onstage, even if few audiences will upstage a machine that blows ducks out of people's butts, per Duck Lake. PianoFight crowds are conspicuously not your typical theatergoers — they're closer to the boisterous women in office attire I noticed at the now-defunct Off-Market Theater, PianoFight's old haunt, who had smuggled in a bottle of Chardonnay and were picnicking in a back row like it was Baker Beach. Read more »
W. Kamau Bell's recent success notwithstanding, when it comes to Bay comics, we love Frankie Quinones as our stand-up ambassador. His shows -- including a packed-to-the-brim gig a few we attended months ago in the cozy basement space of Bossa Nova -- are where you want to go to watch the grown-and-sexy of the Bay Area crack. Up.Read more »