A look back at San Francisco’s largest comedy festival

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SF Sketchfest, San Francisco’s premiere comedy extravaganza, ended it’s 14th run on Feb. 8. But if you missed all the crazy, slapstick and just plain “out there” performances, you can read The Daily Californian’s highlights! Here are some of our favorite events from this year’s festival.

“Groundhog Day” on Groundhog Day

On the evening of Feb. 2, film fanatics and Groundhog Day lovers alike scrambled into San Francisco’s Roxie Theater for a screening of the beloved Bill Murray comedy “Groundhog Day,” which tells the story of Phil Connors (Murray), an arrogant and pathetic weatherman who repeats the same day again and again. But the screening wasn’t the main event of the evening; audience members also enjoyed a special live performance of “The Tobolowsky Files,” an award-winning storytelling show and podcast by legendary character actor Stephen Tobolowsky. Tobolowsky — who co-starred in “Groundhog Day” — began the evening by providing the audience with hilarious anecdotes from the set of the film. He spoke about the antics of the cast and crew, the highs and lows of working with Bill Murray and paid a beautiful tribute to the late director Harold Ramis.

Viewers cheered and laughed during each of Tobolowsky’s scenes as they joined Bill Murray’s character in his perpetual reliving of Feb. 2. In all, the event was a wonderful evening of comedy, laughter and great storytelling.

-Jeremy Siegel

Jordan, Jesse, Go! / My Brother, My Brother and Me

Podcast producer Maximum Fun had a strong showing at Sketchfest with live shows of his hit podcasts “Jordan, Jesse, Go!” and “My Brother, My Brother and Me,” selling out at Cobb’s Comedy Club this past Saturday.

Jordan Morris and Jesse Thorn, hosts of “Jordan, Jesse, Go!,” were comfortable on the stage, doing their weekly segments such as “Momentous Occasions” and getting stories from the live audience at Cobb’s. Although Maeve Higgins, comedian and host of Maeve Higgins’ Fancy Vittles, and Roman Mars, host and producer of the podcast “99% Invisible,” joined Morris and Thorn for half of the show, their presence was limited due to the short set time. Afterwards, brothers Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy took the stage to give advice on their show “My Brother, My Brother and Me.” Taking questions from both listeners of the show and from Yahoo! Answers, the three hosts provided hilarious advice to some ridiculous questions, such as “What is the heaviest baby ever to be birthed?,” taken from Yahoo! Answers.

— Art Siriwatt

Benson Movie Interruption: Twilight – Breaking Dawn

Comedian and stoner Doug Benson described “Twilight – Breaking Dawn” as “the most insane and most boring movie I have ever seen.” In a live RiffTrax-like commentary during a screening at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, Benson was joined by comedians such as Chris Hardwick, Scott Aukerman and Rory Scovel to discuss the ludicrousness of “Twilight” during a double feature for both parts of “Breaking Dawn” on Saturday and Sunday. Starting the screening at around 4:30 p.m. (Benson was busy getting high with the crowd lined up outside at 4:20 p.m.), two hours of “Twilight” passed by fairly quickly as every scene was dissected by the commentary crew. For those who have no clue about any aspects of the “Twilight” franchise, here’s a quick list of themes introduced in the film for a newcomer: weird vampire sex, werewolves falling in love with babies and Robert Pattinson performing a cesarean section with his vampire fangs.

— Art Siriwatt

The Groundlings: Personals

Anyone who has ventured into the world of online dating knows that there are some pretty interesting (read: hilariously bizarre) people out there looking for their perfect match. Host and comedian Brian Palermo and six Groundlings performers — Jordan Black, John Ross Bowie, Drew Droege, Karen Maruyama, Mindy Sterling and Stephanie Weir— took the stage Jan. 30 at the Eureka Theatre in San Francisco to make the strange world of internet dating even stranger. In “Personals,” the improv troupe took real profiles from actual dating sites — from Gothic Match to Farmers Only — and used them to create side-splittingly funny, fully improvised characters. Droege stole the show as a farmer with an affinity for nicknames and the ability to make milk out of just about anything, while Maruyama had this reporter in stitches with her inspired performance of a death-obsessed marionette owner. The Groundlings, whose alumni include comedy icons such as Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, put on a delightfully silly show that celebrated comedy in the truest spirit of the festival.

— Grace Lovio

Improv Showcase

The Brava Studio Theatre in the Mission District hosted an intimate showcase of improv comedy on the evening of Jan. 24. Hosted by stand-up comedian Vance Sanders, the show featured three acts, each with their own unique style of humor. Hip.Bang!, a comedy duo from Vancouver, kicked off the night’s performances with a commercial for a catastrophe survival kit, a scene from a chair sliding competition and several other bits of in-your-face, absurdist humor. Not Related — a two-woman team from Los Angeles whose name derives from the fact that, with petite frames and blonde hair, they look like they could be sisters — took the tiny stage next. Watching the pair improvise felt like watching little girls play make-believe — much of their segment involved one playing a mother and the other a daughter with imaginary friends, resulting in an underwhelming performance. San Francisco-based troupe Leela’s Armando Company wrapped up the show with improv scenes based off the real life stories of a guest monologist. Although the improv showcase seemed to lose steam after its first act, all three groups kept the crowd laughing with their off-the-cuff situational humor until the very end.

— Grace Lovio

Contact Jeremy Siegel at [email protected].; Contact Grace Lovio at [email protected].; Art Siriwatt covers video games. Contact him at [email protected].