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PerformanceComedyScam Goddess, Simpsons, Chonga Girls: 10 Sketchfest '24 podcast...

Scam Goddess, Simpsons, Chonga Girls: 10 Sketchfest ’24 podcast and talk show musts

From earbuds to stage: A clutch of outrageous, hilarious, and stimulating live evenings at the massive comedy fest

Talk shows and podcasts make up a large combined category at annual comedy explosion SF Sketchfest 2024, running January 18-February 4 with more than 200 events at various San Francisco venues. 

200 events! That’s tough to navigate, so I browsed the calendar of those talk shows and podcasts in order to recommend a top 10 to consider. (We’ll do the same later on with music-centric comedy event picks at the fest.) The list of what looks like the best to Sketchfest that emerged includes a few popular annual events and a lot of sessions that are new to the festival, which is one of the most extensive dedicated to the craft of comedy.

JANUARY 20: MESS WITH SYDNEE WASHINGTON AND MARIE FAUSTIN Those in the mood to commiserate with some funny dating and pop culture mess should take a look at the Emmy-nominated actress and writer Sydnee Washington and Marie Faustin’s event. The friends are high achievers—Washington was nominated for an Emmy for a supporting role in the TV miniseries Bridesman and Faustin hosts live dating shows and warms up John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight audiences—and have a weekly comedy podcast called The Unofficial Expert, so they know what they’re talking about in these areas. The audience is also invited to share any desired wreckage. 9:30-11pm, Marsh Mainstage, SF. More info here.

JANUARY 21: DOUG LOVES MOVIES Doug Benson was an early adopter of the type of live, traveling podcast events that are all the rage now. He started Doug Loves Movies almost 18 years ago, and the SF Sketchfest regular always brings interesting and unannounced special guests to the party. This year’s event is an all ages show, so you won’t need to expect giant clouds of weed smoke, but there may be some games that the audience can play. 3-4:30pm, Gateway Theatre. More info here.

JANUARY 21: SCAM GODDESS WITH LACI MOSLEY Everyone loves a true crime podcast, and non-deadly scamming is a great angle to focus on from a comedic standpoint, as Laci Mosley does with the Conan-approved Scam Goddess. For SF Sketchfest, she’s bringing guests Demi Adejuyigbe, a writer/comedian/filmmaker who’s written on The Amber Ruffin Show, The Good Place, and Strange Planet; the aforementioned Marie Faustin, co-host of The Unofficial Expert; and Carl Tart, an improv comedian who’s been a staff writer on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and MadTV. 7-8:30pm, Cobb’s Comedy Club, SF. More info here.

JANUARY 24: TALKING SIMPSONS D’oh! Fans of The Simpsons take note: a podcast for the past nine years, Henry Gilbert and Bob Mackey’s Talking Simpsons, has been a reliable annual event at SF Sketchfest since 2018. Chris Wade from the politically humorous podcast Chapo Trap House will join as guest as they break down episodes and share Springfield minutiae. 7:30-9:00pm, Gateway Theatre, SF. More info here.

JANUARY 26: THE FLOP HOUSE: A PODCAST ABOUT BAD MOVIES If you enjoyed the commentary of the old Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Comedy Central, this podcast with former writer Elliott Kalan, ex-Daily Show writer Dan McCoy and Brooklyn bar owner Stuart Wellington pulling apart true turkeys should hit the spot. 7-8:30pm, Cobb’s Comedy Club, SF. More info here.

JANUARY 26: THE CHONGA GIRLS Miami-reared comedians Mimi Davila and Laura Di Lorenzo grew a 2008 viral music video parody (“Chongalicious!”) into a Los Angeles-based touring live podcast. They broadcast from the POV of this very South Florida-specific culture of Latinx women, which sounds like endless fun. 9:30pm, Marsh Mainstage, SF. More info here.

JANUARY 28: THE BITCHUATION ROOM Host Francesca Fiorentini brings her weekly live streaming “progressive speakeasy” to Gateway Theatre for SF Sketchfest. “It’s like The Situation Room in the White House without the war,” Fiorentini promises. She will be joined by comedian and labor organizer Nato Green, a Best of the Bay Best Comedian winner; Emma Vigeland, co-host of the daily progressive talk show The Majority Report with Sam Seder; and The Daily Zeitgeist co-host Miles Gray. 7-8:30pm, Gateway Theatre, SF. More info here.

FEBRUARY 3: MOSHE KASHER’S SUBCULTURE VULTURE: AN EVENING IN SIX SCENES On the more talk show-esque front, Moshe Kasher has planned a six-part evening of “comedy and conversation” on the topics of raves, Burning Man, sobriety, the deaf community, Judaism, and stand-up comedy with local music legend Sunshine Jones and one of the world’s best TV hosts and socially conscious comedic minds, W. Kamau Bell among the guest moderators. 7-8:30pm, Brava Theater Center, SF. More info here.

FEBRUARY 3: HELLO FROM THE MAGIC TAVERN I just know that Ron Funches is funny as heck from catching past SF Sketchfest appearances, and he’s the special guest on a live podcast visiting from Chicago that’s open to all ages in San Francisco. Improv specialists Arnie Niekamp, Adal Rifai, and Matt Young typically interview “monsters, wizards, and adventurers.” 3-4:30pm, Brava Theater Center, SF. More info here.

FEBRUARY 3: YO, IS THIS RACIST? Actress Tawny Newsome and writer Andrew Ti will welcome former Second City music director Alex Kliner and SNL alum Sasheer Zamata to this live recording of their podcast, Yo, Is This Racist? The group’s task will be to analyze listener-submitted aggressions for shades of or outright racism. Yes, we’re recommending three different events on Feb. 3. But it’s possible, time-wise, to catch two, and the choices all seem sharp at SF Sketchfest. 7-8:30pm, Cobb’s Comedy Club, SF. More info here.

Tamara is the self-publisher of the California Eating zine project, the free Creative Jobs newsletter, and the soon-to-launch Music Book Club.

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