Comedy

Chuckle connection: The Bay's most diverse comedic line-up goes on tour

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There's no question that a childhood spent growing up Ethiopian in Haight-Ashbury made fertile ground in which to grow a stand-up career. That's where Yanye Abeba is coming from. Abeba is performing in Kung Pao Kosher Comedy's second Color of Funny comedy tour on Thu/21 and Fri/22. Her schtick will be part of a unique line-up -- and afterall, how many other people can pull on the interactions between their first generation African father and the homeless kids on Haight Street for their funny? Read more »

The Performant: Strangelove

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“City of Lost Souls” at ATA, and “Awkward Dinner Party” at the EXIT Theatre, subverted the Valentine spirit.

Talk about a hot mess. The florid, fluid, City of Lost Souls (1983), Rosa von Praunheim’s seldom-screened, "transgendered ex-pat food-fight sex-circus musical extravaganza" begins with a motley cast of unapologetic misfits sweeping up a trashed-out Berlin burger joint, the “Hamburger Königin” (Burger Queen). Shimmying on the counter, falling out of her lingerie, punk rock’s first transwoman cult darling, Jayne County, belts out “The Burger Queen Blues” while her fellow wage slaves, Loretta (Lorraine Muthke), Gary (Gary Miller), and Joaquin (Joaquin La Habana) gyrate suggestively across the linoleum until the boss-lady, Angie Stardust (as herself), a regal, “old school” transsexual wrapped in an enormous fur coat, curtails their goofy antics with a whistle and megaphone.

In stern German she orders them back to work—preparing for the next round of abusive food fights, which characterize the “service” at her uniquely unappetizing restaurant. A Theatre of the Ridiculous-style foray into the secret lives of gender outlaw ex-pats in flirty, dirty Berlin, “Lost Souls” isn’t your typical romance—but it’s a love story all the same.

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Calling all Kevin Smith fans (you know you're out there)!

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At the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Kevin Smith created one of festival's biggest sensations for audiences and film buyers alike by announcing he was going to auction off his film Red State after its world premiere screening.

Added to that, the hate-spreading publicity junkies known as the Westboro Baptist Church announced they would be staging a protest in front of the event with their usual "GOD HATES FAGS" signs, which in turn inspired Smith to stage his own protest of the Kansas-based church as a self-proclaimed "FAG ENABLER," which in turn inspired hundreds of people from Park City to make their own signs. Tickets to the movie were rumored to have been scalped for close to a thousand dollars, and the buzz surrounding the situation was truly something I have rarely felt at Sundance.

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Unintelligible genius: looking back at all four shows of the Reggidency

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When Reggie Watts first came to my attention, through a series of appearances on Conan O’Brien’s show a few years back, I didn’t know where to place him. My first instinct was to lump him in with the trend in music – particularly indie rock –  around the looping pedal where solo artists including Owen Pallett and tUnE-YaRds could layer mic samples atop one another during a live performance to get a larger, simulated band sound. Read more »

Reggie Watts melts minds at SF Sketchfest's Reggidency kickoff

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“Welcome to [SF] Sketchfest,” Reggie Watts said, in what appeared to be his natural voice, “it’s going to be a big night for all of you guys.” The first night of his four-part “Reggidency” at the comedy festival was billed as being Just the Music but from before Watts took the stage at Yoshi’s SF – giving himself an introduction from behind the the curtain and then launching into a series of characters that wavered from pseudo-unintelligible to borderline familiar (Japanese? Jesse Jackson? Vallejo-ean?) – it was clear that label was Just a Guess. Read more »

Higher and higher

SF Sketchfest wrings wet, hot laughs out of winter

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TRASH Rejected by audiences. Panned by critics. Beloved by a loyal cadre of alternative comedy fans.

Wet Hot American Summer may not have found success when it premiered in 2001, but the offbeat comedy has since become — like so many underrated flops — a cult classic.Read more »

A Bay Area kind of stand-up: Frankie Quinones of For the People Comedy

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Common knowledge states that if you're serious about becoming a stand-up comedian on the West Coast, you move to Los Angeles. But Frankie Quinones created the diversity of For the People Comedy here in San Francisco and despite his rising star on the stand-up scene, he's sticking around for the moment.

Maybe that's because Carmelita lives here. “She's taken on a whole thing of her own, her own career,” says the Ventura County native of his sassed-up, club-going Latina sexpot. “Carmelita's got her own list of things to do in 2012.” You can check out Quinones -- and possibly Carmelita or his popular "Cholo Whisperer" skit -- at the next For the People event at Cobb's on Thu/19. 

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George Chen's list of things that didn't suck in 2011

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For so many more year-end music lists, click here and pick up this week's paper.

Musician and writer George Chen says, "2011: man, most of it was shitty, but here were the good things:" Read more »

The Performant: Hamburger helpers

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There’s certainly no shortage of live comedy in the Bay Area, but you have to hand it to Club Chuckles for keeping it weird. Avoiding line-ups packed with middle-aged men whining about their therapy bills, or cosmonaut princesses with pubic hair obsessions, Club Chuckles can often be found lurking in the rock-saturated shadows of the Hemlock Tavern’s back room performance space, infused with the kind of punk rock vibes you’ll never pick up at the buttoned-down, two-drink minimum comedy clubs. The sold out, eight-year anniversary show at the considerably swankier digs of the Verdi Club might have been better lit, but the rowdy element still prevailed, as an entire line-up devoted to the comedy of the awkward braved the hecklers to bring the laffs.

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Muslim and proud (and hilarious)

Zahra Noorbakhsh takes on the NY International Fringe Festival, parental disapproval, and religious tradition

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THEATER Onstage, a woman and her father battle over modern sensibilities versus religious tradition. The father leads with a left jab and the mantra "in the Koran, in the Koran, in the Koran," which the daughter counters with a roundhouse punch and "third-wave feminism." Both characters are being played by Zahra Noorbakhsh, a feisty, spirited, thoroughly modern woman — and a Muslim, an important part of her identity she's not about to let anyone forget. Read more »