KQED Pop is covering as many shows from SF Sketchfest 2013 as humanly possible. Here are a few thoughts on my first Sketchfest 2013 event, The Thrilling Adventure Hour, a live radio play-type sketch show starring famous funny people you will swear you have seen somewhere before and guest starring famous famous people that are sort of entertaining on Instagram. Sort of.
1. Comedy is full of dudes! When I was a sophomore in high school, I mounted a (highly unsuccessful) campaign against the Mr. Spartan Pageant, the annual Children's Miracle Network fundraiser in which senior boys get to do hilarious skits for hours on stage in front of a captive audience of the whole town. One of the main responses my peers threw back at me when I asked them to help me integrate the pageant was: girls aren't funny. Now, some of the funniest people on stage at the Marines Memorial Theater on Saturday night were women, specifically Paget Brewster in the final act of the show as a drunk fancy lady in what my friend Audrey called, "a parody of a noir parody." She was the perfect mix of completely out of her mind but still coherent enough to join in with the guys and say with disgust: "Dames!" and later ask the clown who was in charge of Hell, an old friend, for a favor. I really didn't get the plot of that bit at all and honestly everyone might have been drunk for real, but Paget Brewster was hilarious. And so were the other 3 (maybe 4?) women. But the stage was practically bursting at the seams with dudes (at least 20), and it was kind of disappointing to see so few female comedians up there and get to spend so little time with the handful who had made it. Do people still think girls aren't funny? Have we made it such a short distance since 1998?
2. And it's mainly white dudes! Reggie Watts and Keegan-Michael Key (at least in the top 3 most hilarious people on stage with his villainous "smartest gorilla in the world" who thinks he's really messing things up for people by changing the shapes of things like trees and the town square) were the only non-white people on stage. I know I am getting sort of political here, but I think it is just interesting. It is now pretty much a known fact that both women and people of color can be funny and in fact, frequently are. So it is surprising to see a show so packed full of famous people be so incredibly homogeneous.
3. Nonetheless, it was fun and also funny. When else will I ever get to see Ryder Strong playing a prosthelytizing Christian youth super hero sidekick? John Hodgman as a horse with robot parts? Gillian Jacobs as a Nazi boss who has time traveled to the Old West? It didn't live up to last year's totally mind blowing Wet Hot American Summer Live but it did its job: it made me laugh.