Ricky Ger­vais to be among head­lin­ers at SF Sketch­fest.

San Francisco Chronicle - - WORLD - By Peter Hart­laub

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.”

Todd Antony / NBC 2016

Ricky Ger­vais is among the funny names com­ing to SF Sketch­fest in Jan­uary.

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