By Nate Waggoner
With comedy superstars like Patton Oswalt and the cast of Portlandia set to draw hordes of comedy fans over the next few weeks, it's easy to miss the lesser known, but equally hilarious events happening at SF Sketchfest this year. Here are our top under-the-radar picks for the biggest comedy shindig in town.
See also:SF Sketchfest Announces 2013 Lineup: A Feast of Comedy Like No Other
6. Rifftrax Presents Night of the Shorts IV: Riffizens on Patrol on Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. at the Castro, $30.
Nerds who remember the '90s will talk at you for hours about the show Mystery Science Theater 3000, in which a wisecracking man and his robot pals, trapped on a spaceship and forced to watch "B" grade movies, would provide sardonic running commentary on such classics as Teenagers from Outer Space and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett wrote for and acted on the show, and now they continue their movie mockery with an online series called Rifftrax. At this show, they will be joined by the likes of Kevin McDonald from Kids in the Hall and Kristen Schaal of 30 Rock and Flight of the Conchords fame. Here are the Rifftrax guys giving Twilight its just desserts:
At some point in the last decade, something terrible happened to "geeky" humor: Mystery Science Theater 3000 was canceled, The Simpsons became formulaic, and Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, passed away. More nihilistic and obvious fare, like the G4 channel and Cartoon Network's Robot Chicken rose to prominence. The Thrilling Adventure Hour, which bills itself as a "new-time podcast in the style of old-time radio" accomplishes the kind of witty genre pastiche and warm character development that's been missing in the nerdy humor world of late. Recurring characters include a sheriff on Mars and a couple of married, clairvoyant drunks. If you want to hear samples, The Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast is available to download free on iTunes.
Author and comedian Chris Gethard dissects his insecurities in a viscerally honest, yet oddly endearing way. His public access program The Chris Gethard Show is truly unpredictable: He has hosted an entire episode blindfolded, and put numbing agent on his mouth before attempting to tell jokes. He will be joined by sketch group The Get Go. In this clip, Gethard tells a series of embarrassing stories about himself: