SF Sketchfest was founded in 2001 by David Owen, Cole Stratton and Janet Varney as a way to showcase the talents of six Bay Area sketch comedy groups: The Fresh Robots, Kasper Hauser, The Meehan Brothers, Please Leave the Bronx, Totally False People and White Noise Radio Theatre. The festival debuted in January of 2002 at the Shelton Theatre in downtown San Francisco and has grown rapidly into a nationally recognized comedy festival that mixes national headliners, local favorites and the best up-and-coming groups from throughout North America for a month of sketch, improv, stand-up and alternative comedy. A favorite with audiences, critics, and performers alike, the festival has grown substantially to become a highly anticipated artistic showcase that consistently delivers top quality comedic performances, tributes and panel discussions. To learn about past participants, visit the Past Festivals page (coming soon).

Audiences have overwhelmingly responded to SF Sketchfest’s diverse programming which has featured performers from every major North American television comedy smash of the last 25 years including “Saturday Night Live,” “The Kids in the Hall,” “Mr. Show,” “Arrested Development,” “VEEP,” “The Upright Citizens Brigade,” “The State,” “Mystery Science Theatre 3000,” “Strangers With Candy,” “Key & Peele,” “The Simpsons,” “The Daily Show” and more. SF Sketchfest offers its audiences the rare opportunity to see their favorite performers in intimate live performances and discussions.

Festival Directors

David Owen

David Owen

David Owen co-founded SF Sketchfest in 2001 with Cole Stratton and Janet Varney. Along with Stratton, Varney and Gabriel Diani, he was a founding member of the comedy group Totally False People, which was featured at the HBO Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. Outside of SF Sketchfest he has produced dozens of other festivals and events. He has worked as a Curator for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and Outside Lands and as a Festival Producer for the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Mill Valley Film Festival and the Stanford Jazz Festival. At the famed Purple Onion he presented Zach Galifianakis and Mort Sahl, among others. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.

Cole Stratton

Cole Stratton

Cole Stratton is co-host of the Pop My Culture podcast which was named the #2 Best Comedy Podcast of the Moment by Rolling Stone. He has appeared on TV’s “Nash Bridges,” “America’s Most Wanted,” “Yo Momma”, and NBC’s “Comedy Colosseum.” Film includes “Diani and Devine Meet The Apocalypse,” “Around the Fire,” “Dead Man on Campus,” and “The Selling.” He’s done national commercials for Verizon, Popeye’s Chicken, a Wilco-scored VW spot, and Group Health. Along with Janet Varney, he has written and performed comedic commentary to the films “Dirty Dancing,” “Ghost,” “Footloose,” “Poltergeist,” “The Lost Boys,” “Jaws 3D,” “Flatliners” and “Dreamscape” for RiffTrax.com, an online venture by “Mystery Science Theater 3000″‘s Michael J. Nelson.

Janet Varney

Janet Varney

Janet is a writer, producer, improviser, and Emmy-nominated actress based in Los Angeles, which is in California, which is in the United States (see globe). She stars in the IFC horror comedy series “Stan Against Evil,” and as Becca on FXX’s “You’re the Worst” and as herself recurring on “@midnight.” She hosts the innovative podcast The JV Club (featuring guests including Sarah Silverman, Tig Notaro, Christina Hendricks, and over 200 more) and was the voice of the title character on Nickelodeon’s wildly popular animated show, “The Legend of Korra.” She spent seven years hosting TBS’ “Dinner and a Movie,” appeared as Carly on all three seasons of Emmy-Nominated series “Burning Love,” hosts and produces Geek & Sundry’s Escape! and co-created “Neil’s Puppet Dreams” with David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris.

2017 Festival Staff

Founders and Directors
David Owen
Cole Stratton
Janet Varney

Festival Manager
Jay Wertzler

Production Manager and Technical Director
Heather Gallagher

PR Director
Sheila Kenny, Right On! PR

Volunteer Manager
Michelle Mitchell

Artist Services Director
Aaron Hansen

Artist Services Coordinators
Dave Feiferis
Heather Wilson

Box Office Manager
Cara Tramontano

Transportation Coordinator
Peter Lowe

Transportation Assistant
Megan Bell

Sponsorship Consultant
Colleen Curlin

Events & Sponsorship Coordinator
Avalon Rehn

Hospitality Coordinators
Sarah Escalante
Angela Mathews

Marketing Director
Jaime Galli

Marketing Coordinators
Maggie Beasley

Operations Coordinator
Dominique Oneil

Festival Consultants
Beau Blanchard
Elizabeth Duran

2017 Poster Artwork
Nathan Diffie

Graphic Design

Web/Email Design
Sara Holt

Lead Photographer
Jakub Mosur

Deira Bowie
Troy Conrad
Dan Dion
Greg Garthe
Tommy Lau
Shawn Robbins

Brice Beckham
David Fickas
Drama 3/4 Productions


Advisory Board

Fred Armisen
Matt Besser
Bart Coleman
Dave Eggers
Bruce McCulloch
Eugene Mirman
Laraine Newman
Bob Odenkirk
Tom Sawyer
Molly Schminke
Michael Showalter
David Wain
Geof Wills