The Comedy Issue: Dissecting the Joke to Understand It Better

As someone who has remained passionate about all aspects of comedy and its evolution, I think SF Sketchfest is the place to be. The most interesting stuff I see in Los Angeles invariably ends up there, but then, as behooves a place like Baghdad by the Bay, you get a Chinese box of comedy when you come. Endless hidden surprises I never even knew existed. It's like that dream you have where the house you've lived in for 20 years has a room in it you didn't know about.

That's Laraine Newman, OG SNL cast member and Groundling founder, extolling the virtues of SF Sketchfest, which transforms the city into a Renaissance Fair of dick jokes for two weeks. Ms. Newman points out that "show business is just one big happy family," and so comedians tend to see Sketchfest as an opportunity to get together with other members of the tribe and have a good time outside the comedy grind, whatever that is. (Self-flagellation as self-medication?) We at SF Weekly explored this migration, one of nature's most special and mysterious, with our Comedy Issue. In the pages that follow, you'll find essays on San Francisco by some of the finest minds in the field today (plus our own contributions), as well as interviews that connect the folks working the stages and podcasts. In order to help you on your own journey of self-discovery, we have also put together a guide for you to navigate Sketchfest based on what species of comedy you might enjoy encountering in the wild.

"Your lungs will hurt," says Newman, who performs Feb. 8 and 10. "I guarantee it." In what other field is a promise of pain offered as a benefit? Well, certainly in San Francisco there are a couple of others, but at least for the next few weeks, we're all taking our licks together. Brandon R. Reynolds


Molded by Suffering
by Dana Gould

Only in Alameda
by Emily Heller

Life on the Underground Failroad
by Ian S. Port

A Dirty and Poorly Lit Place
by Joe Eskenazi

Through the Peeping Glass
by Dave Hill

The High Price of Underwear
by Rachel Swan

Some Thoughts on Progress from the Fire Hydrant at 20th and Church
by Brandon R. Reynolds

Notes from Utopia
by Moshe Kasher

Seeing My Boss Naked
by Janine Brito

North vs. South
by Greg Behrendt

Desperately Seeking Hammer
by April Richardson

Phallusy: Tenacious D's Jack Black and Kyle Gass on Van Halen and Theater-Sized Dick Jokes
by Dave Pehling

Music at Sketchfest: A Handy Guide
by Dave Pehling

The Illuminati of Mirth: Comedy Is a Small World. We Establish a Few Secret Connections
by Emilie Mutert

What Makes You Laugh?: How to Decide What Kind s of Shows You Should See During SF Sketchfest
by Emilie Mutert

 
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