Sketchfest Opens in SF With Laughs

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Mandee Johnson
    Eugene Mirman

    Big namesin the humor game such as Patton Oswalt, Bruce Campbell, Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph and Drew Carey will appear, as will dozens of nationally-known comedians and loads of local, beloved talent.

    One of the best things about the festival is witnessing the camaraderie among the comics, who often pop up and guest at each other’s shows. Such is the case with animated sitcom “Bob’s Burgers” co-stars Kristen Schaal and Eugene Mirman, who will each take part at the other’s gig on Friday during Sketchfest’s opening weekend.

    “The main reason to go is you get to see a lot of friends and hang out,” Brooklyn-based Mirman said about Sketchfest. “There’s no velvet roped place we go after the shows. We just go someplace and catch up; talk about our families.”

    Mirman, who has been part of Sketchfest for nearly the last decade, is bringing his weekly Brooklyn showcase, Pretty Good Friends, to Cobb’s Comedy Club at 8 p.m. Friday. Aside from Schaal, he will be joined by Jon Glaser, Joe Mande and Reggie Watts.

    When asked if the Sketchfest powers that be treat him well (or make him share a motel room with the likes of maestro Watts), he joked, “It would be funny if I said the organizers were so mean to me, and yet I return every year to their cruel clutches.”
    “It’s also not like a big corporation that has to save on hotel rooms and employees double up. Reggie and I did share an apartment in Edinburgh, years ago, so it would be fine to live with him.”

    Mirman said that “Bob’s Burgers,” on which he plays Gene, the flatulence-obsessed middle child in a family that owns a burger joint, is similar to the festival, in that there is a lot of gregariousness among the cast, many of which are also comedians.
    “The cast records the show together and we improvise a bunch,” he said. “We’re doing tons of different versions of lines. The writers are coming up with jokes as we go. We’re coming up with jokes.”

    The show has been picked up for a fourth season, and if Mirman should find himself making “Simpsons” money, he would splurge and buy a house. “Then I would buy a helicopter and throw it out. Then I would buy another helicopter so I would have a story to tell,” he said.

    His new CD/DVD, “An Evening of Comedy in a Fake Underground Laboratory,” will be released on Feb. 5.

    Mirman and his family emigrated from Moscow when he was a tot and he said he’s up for creating a documentary of his return there. But performing stand up in Russia is another beast entirely.

    “The stories from my parents, Russia seems like a scary place,” Mirman said. “The idea of doing comedy in a country that puts people in jail for speaking is a little nerve wracking.”

    Please check back for more interviews with SF Sketchfest performers in the coming days, and visit sfsketchfest.com for a complete line-up of the festival.

    Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.