SF Sketchfest: Match Game Live

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Aforementioned Your Frog Abroad Correspondent Ian Lendler also checked out another show at SF Sketchfest, the hugely popular Match Game Live show, featuring David Cross, Maria Bamford, Doug Benson, Paul F. Tompkins, Scott Aukerman, B.J. Porter and host Jimmy Pardo. Here’s what he saw:

Another auspicious start to an evening: YFAC took his seat down, only to discover that he was directly in front of Samm Levine (aka Freaks and Geeks’ Neal Schweiber). Through the incredible journalistic technique of “eavesdropping,” YFAC can confirm the following about Mr. Levine:

  • He will soon start shooting on a short, directed by Bob Odenkirk.
  • He will appear in a tween comedy called, and YFAC shits you not, “Sydney White and the 7 Dorks.” Mr. Levine will be playing one of the dorks. He was not proud of this.
  • On the drive up to from Los Angeles, he took the gas gauge farther past the “E” then he had ever done before.
  • He does not like Hotwire.com, because it recommended a crappy hotel that he overpaid for. He seemed quite incensed about this.
  • He does nothing to dispel the stereotype that Jews, as a people, are kvetchy.

But on with the show Part II: This is one of those real tight-wire shows. Jimmy Pardo has to interact with the guests, comedians and audience and keep the show moving. Fortunately, he was up to the task.

Employing the full range of game-show-host-cheesiness, Pardo managed to be both ironically pseudo-host funny and authentically funny at the same time. He was helped by the contestants. It says everything about San Francisco (or this crowd) that the contestants called up were a cheese-maker, a medical illustrator, a theater usher, and a member of a Latino improv company.

The show then moved straight into replicating the TV show, Match Game. For those of you who don’t remember The Match Game, the contestants had to answer quasi-retarded joke/questions like: “Carl the Cannibal wanted to open a restaurant. So he decided to open a Chinese restaurant so he could serve [blank] Foo Young.”

The blank was then to be filled in by contestants who were trying to match their answers with the celebrity panel. “Fill in the blank” humor has a proven pedigree. Mad Libs has been mining that vein for years. And the comedian panel didn’t disappoint, employing every trick in the comedy lexicon from surrealisms to witticisms to, of course, “cock” and “anal rape.” Doug Benson was particularly sharp, very much giving off the vibe of being the smartest guy in a room of comedy writers.

But it was David Cross got the biggest applause of the night with his answer to the [blank] Foo Young question. His answer was: “Ching-Chong Chinaman Foo Young.” This may only look funny sort of funny in print, but trust YFAC, it killed.

Again, a fine night of comedy. Like the Red Wine Boys, this show was less about material then just good stage presence. Both nights were examples of comedians who have been on stages so long that they could get up their, with practically no scripted material, and be at total ease with the situation. This is especially true of a show like Match Game, that actually encourage a rowdy audience to boo, hiss, shout answers, etc. This is the sort of thing that can quickly go south, but instead it made for a great interactive atmosphere.

An impressive couple nights all around, and it must be said that, in terms of star power, creativity, and unusual offerings, SF Sketchfest is living up to the hype.

–Ian Lendler

The San Francisco Sketchfest is going on the rest of the month. If you’re in the city by the bay, you owe it to yourself to check out one of the many other great shows they got remaining.

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