Perhaps the largest comedy event in all of the Bay Area, the SF Sketchfest (now in its sixteenth year) will be dominating the better part of San Francisco beginning this Thursday, January 12. Just one look at the site's schedule, and you'll witness an incredibly bountiful list of events, all accompanied by a vast array of the world's most revered (and rising) comedians.
While we think that every event really is worth your attention, we understand that you're not going to get to see it all. With that being said, here are our top ten picks for week one of the festival:
StarTalk Live! with Bill Nye The Science Guy and Eugene Mirman, with guests Claudio O'Doherty, Ariel Waldman, and more
BILL! BILL! BILL! BILL! (we had to). You read this correctly! The world famous StarTalk Live podcast will be taking place at The Curran Theater to kick off the inaugural Sketchfest. The show will be hosted by none other than Bill Nye The Science Guy and Eugene Mirman (Bob's Burgers). The educational podcast "bridges the intersection between pop culture and science with clarity, humor and passion, covering captivating subjects like space travel, human intelligence, sex, extraterrestrial life, the Big Bang, the future of our Earth and the environment." Tickets available here. $30-50. Thursday, February 12. 7:30 PM
WorkJuice Improv w/ Craig Cackowski, Mark Gagliardi, Marc Evan Jackson, Hal Lublin, Annie Savage, Paul F. Tompkins, Janet Varney, and guest monologist Jean Grae
Here's the scene: a guest goes onstage and gives monologues throughout the course of a show. A witty cast of improvisers has to go up and create an entire show based around said monologue. For those of you that aren't catching on, improv = no script. No script + comedians = endless laughs and possibilities at the Brava Theater Center! Purchase tickets here. $30. Friday, January 13. 7:30 PM.
How To Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black, with special guest Grace Helbig
Podcasts are an amazing medium, and it's even better when you get to see them live. Comedian Michael Ian Black's show, How To Be Amazing, is no exception to this. Join him at the Marines Memorial Theater on Friday, January 13 as he hosts an in-depth conversation with none other than Grace Helbig! Purchase tickets here. $25. Friday, January 13. 7:30 PM.
Kids in the Hall: 'Brain Candy' Live Staged Reading with Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson and more
Canada's very own 'Kids in the Hall' will be making an incredibly special stop at Castro Theatre on Saturday night to do a reading of their cult classic film, Brain Candy. Members Bruce McCulloch, Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson will all be there. You should too! Purchase tickets here. $45. Saturday, January 14, 2017.
Invite Them Up with Eugene Mirman and Bobby Tisdale w/ Derrick Brown, Josie Long, Seaton Smith, and musical guest Robyn Hitchcock
Comedians Eugene Mirman and Bobby Tisdale (Bob's Burgers) will be taking the stage not once, but TWICE in one night to resurrect the long-running comedy show Invite Them Up this Saturday at Cobb's Comedy Club, right in the heart of San Francisco. They will be joined by Derrick Brown, Josie Long, Seaton Smith, and musical guest Robyn Hitchcock to bring this ridiculously funny show to back to life. Purchase tickets here. $30. Saturday, January 14. 7:30 PM, 10 PM.
Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra
Yes, you read this correctly. THE Jeff Goldblum. We all know him for his acting abilities from his many film and television credits throughout the years. But did you know that he is also an incredibly skilled, classical jazz piano player? Goldblum will bring his music to life with the help of the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra at the Swedish American Music Hall, in a night filled with audience questions, trivia, and jazz music. The first show is already sold out, but there are still tickets available for the second! Purchase tickets here. $50. Saturday, January 14, 2017. 10 PM.
The West Wing Weekly with Joshua Malina and Hrishikesh Hirway, and special guest Bradley Whitford
Given everything that just happened within the political spectrum of the United States, it only makes sense to dream of a country where President Jeb Bartlett is the leader. Thanks to shows like The West Wing, we can do just that (thanks Netflix!) And with podcasts like The West Wing Weekly, hosted by none other than one of the shows acclaimed co-stars Joshua Malina, we're able to explore this television world even further. Malina, joined by co-host Hrishikesh Hirway (also the host of the Song Exploder podcast) will be bringing their sold-out live show to Marine's Memorial Theater on Sunday. Oh, and they'll be joined by none other than Bradley Whitford of West Wing fame. SOLD OUT. Sunday, January 15. 11 AM.
The Benson Movie Interruption: 'Fifty Shades of Grey'
Here's the scoop on how this works: comedian Doug Benson ('Super High Me', 'Doug Loves Movies' podcast) invites several comedians (who aren't announced until you're inside the show) to a movie theater filled with guests. Benson and company sit in the front row of the theater, run a movie, and then say whatever pops into their heads. Given that the movie this time around is 2015's Fifty Shades of Grey, this should be hysterical. Don't miss this one at the Castro Theater! Purchase tickets here. $20. Sunday, January 15. 4:20 PM.
'The Kentucky Fried Movie' 40th Anniversary screening and Q&A w/ John Landis, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker. Moderated by Marc Hershon
SF Sketchfest has hosted some of the best movie panels, paying homage to films and filmmakers that shaped the today's comedic minds and personalities. This Sunday at The Castro Theater, The Kentucky Fried Movie will be celebrating its 40th anniversary with director John Landis, creators Jim Abrahams, and David & Jerry Zucker, by hosting a screening and Q&A discussion moderated by Marc Hershon. Get ready for a great time! Purchase tickets here. $45. Sunday, January 15. 7:30 PM.
SF Sketchfest Tribute to Aisha Tyler, in conversation with John Hodgman
The wonderfully funny Aisha Tyler will be honored at this year's Sketchfest with a conversation (moderated by the hilarious John Hodgman) and Q&A surrounding Tyler's career that spans multiple types of media. From acting, comedy, writing, direction, voice-over work, podcasting, it's incredible to see what she has accomplished. Join these two at the Marines Memorial Theatre! Purchase tickets here. $25. Sunday, January 15. 4 PM.