For the past twenty years, comedians and performers have spent late January and early February descending upon San Francisco for the annual comedy festival SF Sketchfest, but in 2021 the festivities will look a little different. On Thursday, the Sketchfest team announced Festpocalypse!, a virtual, abridged version of Sketchfest that will feature “a murderer’s row of sketch and improv legends” including Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul, Mr. Show), Weird “Al” Yankovic (Al TV), Dana Carvey (The Dana Carvey Show), Laraine Newman (Saturday Night Live), Margaret Cho (Drop Dead Diva) and Christopher Guest (This Is Spinal Tap), via Paste. The extensive lineup also boasts the casts of television sketch and variety comedy series The Kids in the Hall, Mr. Show, The State, Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun and Impractical Jokers as well as members of Saturday Night Live and Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Announcing Festpocalypse! A Virtual Variety Show Fundraiser for @sfsketchfest! A smorgasbord of fest alumni come together to celebrate 20 years of the fest with all-new performances & appearances. ON SALE NOW! #festpocalypse https://t.co/eokn0q96Su pic.twitter.com/Xmhky8XweJ
— SF Sketchfest (@SFSketchfest) December 17, 2020
Unlike in-person Sketchfest, which would usually take place over the course of a week, Festpocalypse! will cram days’ worth of comedy and performance into a singular virtual event, lasting around three hours, on January 20, via Datebook. According to the SF Sketchfest website, the event will include “comedy sketches, improvised scenes, game shows, ridiculous debates, musical performances and chats with entertainment icons.”
While the line-up and roster of Festpocalypse! is still taking shape, news outlets have started to report on segments that comedy fans can expect to see during the event. According to Riff, Jimmy Pardo (Never Not Funny) will host a game show and Doug Benson (Super High Me) will host movie games segment, as heard on his podcast Doug Loves Movies. Riff reports that Benson won’t be the only one bringing their podcast’s concept to the event as John Hodgman (Coraline, Dicktown) will deliver justice alongside Bailiff Jesse Thorn (Jordan, Jesse, Go!) in a modified version of Judge John Hodgman.
According to Paste, RiffTrax, the movie riffing podcast from the team behind Mystery Science Theater 3000, will perform a live riff of a short film during the event. Comedian, and host of Mystery Science Theater 3000’s most recent iteration, Jonah Ray (Hidden America) is also participating in Festpocalypse! and could conceivably join in with the riffing. Ray recently participated in Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Turkey Day Marathon alongside musical comedy duo Paul and Storm, who have likewise been announced for Festpocalypse!.
View this post on Instagram
As for the reunions of The Kids in the Hall, Mr. Show and The State, not much is known about what the groups will perform, only that the event will emphasize “all-new performances rather than archived material” (Riff). Members of The State have already reunited in 2020 for a reimagined and socially distanced performance of the sketch “Porcupine Racetrack” as well as an official senatorial endorsement. However, which sketches or characters The State or the other sketch comedy shows will bring to the virtual Festpocalypse! is yet-to-be-determined.
Tickets for Festpocalypse! start at 20 dollars, with proceeds going toward the SF Sketchfest organization, so that they can host in-person reunions of comedy favorites as soon as it’s safe to do so again.