News Column

Sacramento Comedy Festival jam packs nine days with funny

September 13, 2013


Sept. 13--Brian Crall, Sacramento's comedy impresario, is taking his Sacramento Comedy Festival to the next level this year, stretching it over nine days and booking more comedians and more shows in more locations.

The festival kicks off today and runs through Sept. 21, with most shows at Crall's Sacramento Comedy Spot, at 1050 20th St., Suite 130.

Along with sketch comedy, improv shows and live podcasts, the SCF for the first time will host a standup competition and offer a $1,000 grand prize. More than 30 stand-up comedians from all over the country will compete for prize money, which includes $500 for second place and $250 for third.

Sacramento's own comic treasure Mike E. Winfield headlines the "Standup Competition Finals" (10:30 p.m. Sept. 21) at the Comedy Spot. Headlining the semifinals is another area favorite, Cheryl "the Soccer Mom" Anderson (9 p.m. Sept. 20).

This weekend's schedule includes John Ross hosting the comedy show "Stab!" (10:30 tonight) with four comedians taking on the same seven subjects but offering their own individual spins.

Saturday, "Classy Pants" and "The Carole Bourne Identity" -- two improv groups from San Francisco -- perform at 7 p.m. And at 8 p.m, the very funny Robert Berry hosts the comedy variety show " retroCRUSH."

Sunday night is all about tag-team improv as San Francisco's "Chicken Scratch" hooks up with Sacramento's "The Dirty Dirty" at 7 p.m. At 8 p.m., Sacramento's "Mayhem" gets together with San Francisco's "5 Play," with Dan Scott hosting.

The SCF schedule during the week has comedy groups and comedians largely from Crall's Sacramento Comedy Spot. The Comedy Spot's signature improv show, "Anti-Cooperation League," will perform both Saturdays of the festivals. And just when you thought it couldn't get even funnier ... on Sept. 21, "Good Day Sacramento's" Mark S. Allen will be the special guest.

Old Sacramento's Laughs Unlimited also gets in on the action this year, hosting a "Standup Comedy Competition Showcase" at 8 p.m. Thursday with comedian Shane Murphy headlining.

Low Brau, The Distillery, The Golden Bear and The Depot are all hosting after-parties on various nights during the festival.

Individual show tickets ($5 to $12) and all-access passes ($55) are available online.

For more information and a complete schedule, call (916) 444-3137 or go to or

'Other Desert Cities'

Don't get lulled into taking the consistency of B Street Theatre's top-shelf acting company for granted.

Actors such as Dana Brooke and David Silberman, who lead the cast of "Other Desert Cities," are familiar because they work at B Street so often. But they're exceptional talents who are well cast in Jon Robin Baitz' new throwback family drama.

Set in the upscale Wyeth home in Palm Springs on Christmas Eve 2004, the play's glib first half turns dark in the second as director David Pierini's West Coast premiere production captures all the stormy familial nuances.

"Other Desert Cities" continues at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays; 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays; 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; and 5 and 9 p.m. Saturdays. Through Sept. 29. B Street Theater Mainstage, 2711 B St., Sacramento. $23 to $35; $5 student rush. For information call (916) 443-5300, or go to


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