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.
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 »
Showcasing the boldly imaginative and innovative talents of the artisans at the Jim Henson Company, the 1982 fantasy film The Dark Crystal broke new ground when it came to visual special effects and believable creature creations.Read more »
“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 »