Alt-Comedy O.G.

The opening weekend of this year’s SF Sketchfest was compromised by cancellations, with Michael Cera and Clark Duke backing out of their Comedy Death-Ray obligations and Conan O’Brien postponing his appearance at the Herbst. But like the professional he is, Dana Gould seized the opportunity to stand out amidst the shuffling of schedules, emerging as the unlikely highlight on the Comedy Death-Ray bill that included Michael Ian Black and Doug Benson. (Gould also took part in the always-enjoyable version of Match Game hosted by Jimmy Pardo.) Often referred to as a “comic’s comic” because he’s funny, clever, and, well, not as popular as he should be, Gould has been doing stand-up for three decades -- Patton Oswalt took the inner-circle praise one step further by calling him the founder of alternative comedy. Gould didn’t spend as much time onstage during the seven years he wrote for The Simpsons, but now he’s back where he started (and belongs), a move that produced his first DVD, last year’s Let Me Put My Thoughts in You. Whether he’s talking about his family (“Like my father, I have two basic emotions: rage and suppressed rage”) or hilariously re-creating a promo he once recorded with Bob Hope, the former San Franciscan’s observations are capable of bringing the best kind of tears to your eyes.

Mario Digiorgio and Grant Lyon open for Dana Gould.
Feb. 12-13, 8 & 10 p.m., 2010

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