Ricky Gervais, Jane Lynch and Dick Cavett will headline Sketchfest 2018

Written by
Erika Milvy
Sketchfest 2018
Photograph: Shutterstock

A smorgasbord of funny, Sketchfest brings A-list comedians to the city every January. Now in its 17th year, the annual San Francisco comedy festival will host over 200 shows in 17 days across 16 different venues. 

This year’s festival, which runs from January 11-28, 2018, features major comedy luminaries such as Ricky Gervais and Jane Lynch, legends like Dick Cavett, up-and-comers from the Edinburgh Fringe Fest and local jokesters from around the Bay Area. The mélange of offerings includes sketch, stand-up, storytelling, improv, film, music, live podcasts, workshops and panel discussions. With so much to choose from, we've narrowed it down to our favorite can't-miss events for the week. 

1. The headliners

Ricky Gervais will sit down with friend and fellow comedy icon Christopher Guest (Waiting For Guffman) for an informal and fun conversation.

To mark the 50th anniversary of his debut as the host of The Dick Cavett Show, Cavett will sit down with John Hodgeman for conversation and never-before-seen footage from the long-running show.

Jane Lynch (Glee) will also sit down with friends and colleagues for an onstage tribute.

2. Celebrity roasts

In the annual show Celebrity Autobiography, comics like Fred Willard and Laraine Newman earnestly read from B-list celebrity memoirs verbatim. Past events have featured gems from Burt Reynolds, Mr. T and Vanna White.

There's also a live staged reading of the 1976 John Travolta bomb, The Boy In The Plastic Bubble, that you won't want to miss. 

3. Learn something fake

An evening of fake Ted Talks—"with all of the bullet points and none of the facts”—is sure to teach you something you didn't need to know. 

4. Q&A with Pamela Adlon

We can only imagine where the conversation will lead during the Q&A portion of the Spotlight on Pamela Adlon. Adlon stars in the FX show Better Things, which was produced by Louis C.K. and has played roles in shows like Lucky Louie and Louis in addition to starring in Louis C.K.'s recently rescinded film I Love you Daddy.

5. Music notes 

Mark your calendars for the 40th anniversary screening of Animal House and two nights of musical recreations of the soundtracks to Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. 

In addition to these picks, notable names like Janeane Garofalo, Lewis Black, Dr. Katz, Dana Gould, Rachel Dratch (“Debby Downer”), Jeff Goldblum and Will Durst will be performing; beloved and cult TV shows like The Simpsons and The West Wing will be discussed and fawned over; and classic game shows and smackdowns like Comedy Drinking Game Show and Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction will be packed with fans.

Down for a hilariously good time? Tickets go on sale on Friday, November 17

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