By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The COVID-19 pandemic has waylaid countless festivals since it began last year, but one of the saddest casualties in the Bay Area is what would have been the 20th anniversary of the annual SF Sketchfest.READ MORE: UPDATE: Victim, Suspect Identified In Fatal Oakland Park Shooting in Front of Children
Every year starting in January, the festival presents a galaxy of comedy talent at an array of venues for nearly three weeks of hilarious improvisation, live podcasts, tributes, stand-up and ensemble comedy, packing its exhaustive schedule with 250+ shows.
With the pandemic making the 20th anniversary edition of SF Sketchfest impossible, organizers have decided to make the best of the situation, curating a livestreamed comedy marathon Festpocalypse featuring all new performances by an all-star line-up to raise funds to sustain the organization. While SF Sketchfest has hosted some paid video-on-demand events like the Halloween stream of a production of the Ed Wood classic “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” the scope of Festocalypse is far larger.
READ MORE: COVID: Youth, Adult Multi-Team Sports Can Resume In Alameda Co., Berkeley
Among the acts featured for the special online comedy event will be Canadian sketch legends The Kids in the Hall, the cast of the MTV cult favorite “The State,” David Cross and Bob Odenkirk from HBO’s “Mr. Show,” members of the influential Comedy Central troupe and show “The Upright Citizens Brigade,” and “Saturday Night Live” alumni including Fred Armisen, Bay Area comedy hero Dana Carvey, Rachel Dratch, Janeane Garofalo, Tim Meadows, Laraine Newman, Cheri Oteri, Sasheer Zamata and original “SNL” writer Alan Zweibel.
Other planned highlights include appearances by San Francisco sketch comedy troupe Kasper Hauser, Australia’s Netflix sensations Aunty Donna, and comic actors Alan Arkin, Chris Elliott, Eddie Izzard, Christopher Guest, Jon Hamm, Jane Lynch, and Oscar Nuñez. There will also be sets from stand-up favorites Ron Funches, Chris Gethard, Dana Gould, Eugene Mirman, Arden Myrin, Aparna Nancherla, Kumail Nanjiani and Patton Oswalt as well as local luminaries Bill Irwin, Aisha Tyler, Margaret Cho, Bobcat Goldthwait, Kevin Pollak, Greg Proops and drag superstar Peaches Christ, who takes a look back at the festival’s past film celebrations.
Festpocalypse also includes live short-film riffing with RiffTrax featuring alumni from “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” visits with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and parody rock giant “Weird Al” Yankovic, movie games hosted byDoug Benson and musical performances from jazz-guitar great Bill Frisell, hip-hop heroine Jean Grae and Old ’97s alt-country songwriter Rhett Miller.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Missing San Francisco Girl Found Safe In Pittsburg With Michigan Runaway
SF Sketchfest is holding the fundraising event in the hopes of generating revenue “to be able to hold out and come back strong with a live in-person 20th festival.” Supporters purchasing tickets at the SF Sketchfest website can buy into a variety of package tiers that include additional items including access to a virtual VIP afterparty at online venue URL PianoFight, an enamel SF Sketchfest pin and beanie and a commemorative Festpocalypse poster. The stream will begin at 5 p.m. PST on Saturday, January 30, but ticket holders will be able to watch the show on demand through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, February 1.