Comedy

Calling all Kevin Smith fans (you know you're out there)!

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At the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Kevin Smith created one of festival's biggest sensations for audiences and film buyers alike by announcing he was going to auction off his film Red State after its world premiere screening.

Added to that, the hate-spreading publicity junkies known as the Westboro Baptist Church announced they would be staging a protest in front of the event with their usual "GOD HATES FAGS" signs, which in turn inspired Smith to stage his own protest of the Kansas-based church as a self-proclaimed "FAG ENABLER," which in turn inspired hundreds of people from Park City to make their own signs. Tickets to the movie were rumored to have been scalped for close to a thousand dollars, and the buzz surrounding the situation was truly something I have rarely felt at Sundance.

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Unintelligible genius: looking back at all four shows of the Reggidency

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When Reggie Watts first came to my attention, through a series of appearances on Conan O’Brien’s show a few years back, I didn’t know where to place him. My first instinct was to lump him in with the trend in music – particularly indie rock –  around the looping pedal where solo artists including Owen Pallett and tUnE-YaRds could layer mic samples atop one another during a live performance to get a larger, simulated band sound. Read more »

Reggie Watts melts minds at SF Sketchfest's Reggidency kickoff

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“Welcome to [SF] Sketchfest,” Reggie Watts said, in what appeared to be his natural voice, “it’s going to be a big night for all of you guys.” The first night of his four-part “Reggidency” at the comedy festival was billed as being Just the Music but from before Watts took the stage at Yoshi’s SF – giving himself an introduction from behind the the curtain and then launching into a series of characters that wavered from pseudo-unintelligible to borderline familiar (Japanese? Jesse Jackson? Vallejo-ean?) – it was clear that label was Just a Guess. Read more »

Higher and higher

SF Sketchfest wrings wet, hot laughs out of winter

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TRASH Rejected by audiences. Panned by critics. Beloved by a loyal cadre of alternative comedy fans.

Wet Hot American Summer may not have found success when it premiered in 2001, but the offbeat comedy has since become — like so many underrated flops — a cult classic.Read more »

A Bay Area kind of stand-up: Frankie Quinones of For the People Comedy

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Common knowledge states that if you're serious about becoming a stand-up comedian on the West Coast, you move to Los Angeles. But Frankie Quinones created the diversity of For the People Comedy here in San Francisco and despite his rising star on the stand-up scene, he's sticking around for the moment.

Maybe that's because Carmelita lives here. “She's taken on a whole thing of her own, her own career,” says the Ventura County native of his sassed-up, club-going Latina sexpot. “Carmelita's got her own list of things to do in 2012.” You can check out Quinones -- and possibly Carmelita or his popular "Cholo Whisperer" skit -- at the next For the People event at Cobb's on Thu/19. 

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George Chen's list of things that didn't suck in 2011

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For so many more year-end music lists, click here and pick up this week's paper.

Musician and writer George Chen says, "2011: man, most of it was shitty, but here were the good things:" Read more »

The Performant: Hamburger helpers

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There’s certainly no shortage of live comedy in the Bay Area, but you have to hand it to Club Chuckles for keeping it weird. Avoiding line-ups packed with middle-aged men whining about their therapy bills, or cosmonaut princesses with pubic hair obsessions, Club Chuckles can often be found lurking in the rock-saturated shadows of the Hemlock Tavern’s back room performance space, infused with the kind of punk rock vibes you’ll never pick up at the buttoned-down, two-drink minimum comedy clubs. The sold out, eight-year anniversary show at the considerably swankier digs of the Verdi Club might have been better lit, but the rowdy element still prevailed, as an entire line-up devoted to the comedy of the awkward braved the hecklers to bring the laffs.

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Muslim and proud (and hilarious)

Zahra Noorbakhsh takes on the NY International Fringe Festival, parental disapproval, and religious tradition

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THEATER Onstage, a woman and her father battle over modern sensibilities versus religious tradition. The father leads with a left jab and the mantra "in the Koran, in the Koran, in the Koran," which the daughter counters with a roundhouse punch and "third-wave feminism." Both characters are being played by Zahra Noorbakhsh, a feisty, spirited, thoroughly modern woman — and a Muslim, an important part of her identity she's not about to let anyone forget. Read more »

Comedian Amy Dresner talks sober comedy

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Twelve-steppers say in order for an addict to get on the road to recovery, it’s essential that they accept their addiction. But for comics Amy Dresner, Ian Harvie, and Felon O’Reilly, successful recovery is not just about acceptance: it’s about turning addiction into one big, serious joke. It might sound like funny business, but standing onstage with the mic and some yuks has been the only way all three have been able to maintain their sobriety. Now, they're bringing the laughs throughout the country on their “Laughs Without Liquor” comedy tour, donating proceeds to local “sober living” causes along the way. Lucky for us, March 5th brings the tour to SF.

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Nathan Habib keeps it kosher

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“I'm a really practical person. That limits me from driving out to a club the city and coming back in the morning to take a test.” Nathan Habib's not living the rock star stand-up comedian life just yet. But that's not to say that Habib (who will be performing at Kung Pao Kosher Comedy's holiday run Thurs/23-Sun/26) isn't dedicated to making people laugh. He's been performing for seven years – and he's 21 years old.

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