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Janeane Garofalo and pals read other celebrities' unintentionally hilarious memoirs aloud to intentionally hilarious effect in Celebrity Autobiography.

It’s amazing to think the first SF Sketchfest in 2002 was just a showcase for six local sketch comedy groups. Since, it’s grown into a star-studded, three-week festival featuring more than 200 shows at 21 venues all over San Francisco.

This year alone, it’s hard to even know where to begin in a standup, improv and sketch-comedy lineup that includes Penn and Teller, Margaret Cho, Wyatt Cenac, the members of Spinal Tap, Maya Rudolph, Eugene Mirman, Natasha Lyonne, Mythbusters’ Adam Savage, Emo Philips, the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 crew, Bill Nye the Science Guy and the Futurama cast—and that’s all without mentioning local favorites, like Chardonnay and Will Durst, or my top ten picks for the festival.

The cast of NewsRadio, back in the day.
The cast of NewsRadio, back in the day.

Salute to 'NewsRadio'

Marines’ Memorial Theatre
Saturday, January 24, 1 p.m.

Somehow it’s been 20 years since the beloved sitcom NewsRadio first aired, and now Sketchfest reunites most of the surviving cast to swap anecdotes and answer questions about their time on the show. Cast members Dave Foley, Maura Tierney, Stephen Root, Khandi Alexander and Andy Dick are all scheduled to participate.

Novelty songstress and actor Julie Brown returns with The Homecoming Queen's Got a Musical.
Novelty songstress and actor Julie Brown returns with The Homecoming Queen's Got a Musical.

The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Musical

Saturday, January 24, 7 & 10 p.m.
Brava Theater Center

Julie Brown has already given us so much. Her novelty songs “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun” and “’Cause I’m a Blonde” helped make the 1980s bearable, as did the cult movie Earth Girls Are Easy, based on another one of her ditties. Now Miss Julie’s back with a totally ‘80s stage musical involving—you guessed it—a high school homecoming dance and a series of mysterious deaths.

Oscar Nunez and other comedians make up dialogue to old movie clips in Totally Looped.
Oscar Nunez and other comedians make up dialogue to old movie clips in Totally Looped.

Totally Looped

Friday, January 30, 10 p.m.
Brava Theater Center

Totally Looped presents a crack team of comedians improvising new dialogue to old movie clips that they haven’t seen in advance. Among the current team of improvisers are Laraine Newman (Saturday Night Live), Oscar Nunez (The Office) and Gary Anthony Williams (Boston Legal).

The Black Version reinterprets your favorite films on demand.
The Black Version reinterprets your favorite films on demand.

The Black Version

Saturday, January 31, 10:30 p.m.
Eureka Theatre

Brought to you by the Groundlings, The Black Version has an almost self-explanatory concept: a cast of African-American comedians improvise “the black version” of a classic movie suggested by the audience. Performers include Jordan Black (Halfway Home), Daniele Gaither (Mad TV), Phil LaMarr (Mad TV), Karen Maruyama (The Jamie Foxx Show), Gary Anthony Williams and Cedric Yarbrough (Reno 911!).

Parody song titan "Weird" Al Yankovic gets his due at SF Sketchfest.
Parody song titan "Weird" Al Yankovic gets his due at SF Sketchfest.

Tribute to 'Weird' Al Yankovic

Friday, February 6, 7 p.m.
Castro Theatre

Nobody does parody songs like “Weird" Al. From his early ’80s hits “I Love Rocky Road” and “Eat It” to last year's viral video blitz that rivaled Beyoncé’s stealth releases (at least among us comedy nerds), Yankovic shares with Madonna and Michael Jackson the distinction of having scored a Top 40 hit in every decade since the 1980s. Now, Sketchfest celebrates Yankovic with a night of song, comedy and conversation with the man himself, plus musical tributes by such latter-day novelty acts as Garfunkel & Oates and Hard ’n Phirm.

Scott Adsit improvises his way through otherwise scripted scenes in Gravid Water.
Scott Adsit improvises his way through otherwise scripted scenes in Gravid Water.

Gravid Water

Friday, February 6, 7:30 p.m.
Brava Theater Center

Actors and improvisers come together to perform scenes from plays that might range from Euripides to Eugene O’Neill. The catch is that the actors know their lines, while the comedians make up their responses on the spot. The cast for this one includes Upright Citizens Brigade’s Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh, 30 Rock’s Scott Adsit, and Lauren Lapkus of Orange Is the New Black.

Christopher Lloyd (left) sits down for an onstage Q&A and a 30th anniversary screening of Back to the Future.
Christopher Lloyd (left) sits down for an onstage Q&A and a 30th anniversary screening of Back to the Future.

Tribute to Christopher Lloyd

Friday, February 6, 9:30 p.m.
Castro Theatre

We are now officially living in the future -- specifically, the year that Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled to in Back to the Future II. What better time for a 30th anniversary screening of the original Back to the Future, with Doc himself, a.k.a. actor Christopher Lloyd, onstage for a conversation and Q&A? There’s no time like the present!

Jennifer Tilly is part of the all-star cast of Celebrity Autobiography.
Jennifer Tilly is part of the all-star cast of Celebrity Autobiography.

Celebrity Autobiography

Saturday, February 7, 4 & 7 p.m.
Marines’ Memorial Theatre

In Celebrity Autobiography, hilarious excerpts from actual star memoirs are pricelessly performed by a terrific group of comedians and other celebrities. Providing their interpretations are John Cho (Harold and Kumar), Janeane Garofalo (The Truth About Cats & Dogs), Debbie Harry (Blondie), Jennifer Tilly (Bullets Over Broadway) and Steven Weber (Wings).

Paul F. Tompkins and friends deliver hilarious old-fashioned serials in The Thrilling Adventure Hour.
Paul F. Tompkins and friends deliver hilarious old-fashioned serials in The Thrilling Adventure Hour.

The Thrilling Adventure Hour

Saturday, February 7, 7 & 10 p.m.
Brava Theater Center

The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a stage show and podcast that presents a slate of parodic serials in the style of old-time radio shows, complete with catchy jingles.  In the mood for a space Western? A superhero adventure? A spooky mystery starring a cocktail-swigging, Nick and Nora-style couple with psychic powers? The Workjuice Players—featuring such comedic talents as Paul F. Tompkins, Paget Brewster, Scott Adsit, John Hodgman and Busy Philipps—have you covered.

Author Mo Willems sees some of his beloved children's books brought to life by a passel of comedians.
Author Mo Willems sees some of his beloved children's books brought to life by a passel of comedians.

Don’t Let the Comedians Do Storytime!

Sunday, February 8, 11 a.m.
Marines’ Memorial Theatre

Acclaimed children’s book author Mo Willems (Knuffle Bunny, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!) teams up with an all-star lineup to act out some of his best-loved stories. Featuring Scott Adsit (30 Rock), John Cho (Harold and Kumar), Janeane Garofalo, John Hodgman (The Daily Show), Kate Micucci (Garfunkel & Oates), Busy Philipps (Cougartown), Kevin Pollak (The Usual Suspects) and Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords).

Suffice it to say, these recommendations are just a small taste of what’s going on. You may behold the full schedule at the risk of having your face melted by its sheer awesomeness.

SF Sketchfest runs Jan. 22 through Feb. 8, 2015 at various venues in San Francisco. For tickets and information visit sfsketchfest.com.

All photos courtesy of SF Sketchfest.

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