Ricky Gervais to be among headliners at SF Sketchfest.
The founders of SF Sketchfest announced the 2018 lineup Wednesday, Nov. 15, revealing another wide-ranging roster of funny people including TV star Ricky Gervais, comic’s comic Bill Burr, 1960s-70s talk show host Dick Cavett and actress Jane Lynch.
The San Francisco comedy festival, in its 17th year and scheduled to take place Jan. 11-28, was started by young local improvisation groups that just wanted a place to perform.
It has scaled up to include popular current acts and comedy legends every year, but remains an unpredictable affair; among the upcoming events are a comic live reading of the 1975 John Travolta TV movie “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble” led by Dana Gould, and music from Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra.
“I don’t think we’d want to do if it didn’t reflect our weird, eclectic tastes,” said David Owen, in a conference call with
co-founders Janet Varney and Cole Stratton. “When we started in 2002, it was just sketch comedy. Every year we’ve added different elements, different kinds of entertainment. And we realized that’s what we were really excited about.”
Tickets go on sale at noon Friday, Nov. 17, at www.sfsketchfest.com.
Sketchfest will feature more than 200 shows in 16 venues throughout the city. Lewis Black, Danny McBride, David Cross, Jane Kaczmarek, Janeane Garofalo, Kevin Pollak and Rob Riggle are appearing. Festival regulars Fred Willard and Laraine Newman also return, along with Sketchfest veteran Christopher Guest, who will be interviewing Gervais.
Events include tributes to the TV shows “Rocko’s Modern Life” and “Animaniacs,” and a movie tribute with cast members from “Animal House.” Cavett, a stand-up comedian who worked in San Francisco before he hosted “The Dick Cavett Show,” will be honored on the program’s 50th anniversary. Lynch and improv pioneer Paul F. Tompkins will both receive tributes.
Sketchfest sponsor Audible will present several live audio programs, including “Hot Mic” with Dan Savage. Planned live podcast recordings include “Doug Loves Movies” with Doug Benson, “Judge John Hodgman,” “Roderick on the Line,” “Hound Tall” with Moshe Kasher and “Jordan Jesse Go!” with Jordan Morris and Jesse Thorn.
More names and events are expected to be announced later.
Among the more unusual first-time Sketchfest events is S— Arcade, featuring comedians playing bad video games. At another event, musicians will re-create the soundtracks to the Wes Anderson films “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenenbaums” for a live audience.
“The good thing about being in San Francisco is it’s a city that seems to have the flexibility and undefined boundaries,” Varney said. “When we take a chance on things and they do well, we say, ‘The audience wants to see that just as much as we wanted to show it to them.’ And that encourages us to think even more broadly.”
Ricky Gervais is among the funny names coming to SF Sketchfest in January.