I am so proud of my friends from college. They took what they love and decided to share it with the world. Upon graduating from San Francisco State University in 2001, Cole Stratton, David Owen and Janet Varney decided to collaborate creating SF Sketchfest as a way to showcase the work of six Bay Area sketch comedy groups: The Fresh Robots, Kasper Hauser, The Meehan Brothers, Please Leave the Bronx, Totally False People (their own sketch group, along with our friend, Gabriel Diani) and White Noise Radio Theatre.
In January of 2002, the first festival kicked off at the tiny 300 seat Shelton Theatre in downtown San Francisco with two weeks of sketch comedy sets. Rapidly the festival has grown into a nationally recognized comedy festival mixing national headliners, local favorites and the best up-and-coming groups from throughout North America for a month of sketch, improv, stand-up and alternative comedy. The festival has grown substantially to become a favorite among critics and fans for it’s artistic showcase that consistently delivers top quality comedic performances, tributes and panel discussions.
Recently featured in Paste Magazine, this year’s festival starts tonight and goes for three weeks. I’m bummed I am going to miss this year’s event since it features a Tribute to Conan O’Brien, Monty Python’s Terry Jones, Cinematic Titanic with the peeps from MST3K, Reno 911!, Comedy Death-Ray and more (click here for the full line up)!
In the past they have had acts such as performances from Saturday Night Live, The Kids in the Hall, Mr. Show, Arrested Development, The Upright Citizens Brigade, The State, Strangers With Candy, The Simpsons, The Daily Show and more. I have been back for the festival twice: once in 2003 and once in 2008 and already have plans to be there next year for their 10th anniversary. It is an awesome experience similar to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. With multiple venues and several shows per night to chose from it is easy to hop from show-to-show to fulfill all of your comedy needs and desires. You NEED to go.
I love my friends and love to see that they are doing so well. On a side note, Cole Stratton also writes one of my favorite entertainment blogs, Riverbottom Nightmare Blog, named for the gang our favorite Christmas special, Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas.