Surprisingly Inspiring: San Francisco Sketch Fest 2015
This time last week I was soaking up the Sun in sexy San Francisco. What a blast I had! My spontaneous timing was impeccable as San Francisco Sketch Fest was in full swing, with loads of laughs just waiting to be had. In addition to ritualistic vintage shopping on Valencia street, eating tons of great food, and visiting the renowned comic book shop Isotope amongst other awesome happenings, I went to see Bring the Rock, a comedy show incorporating live music, held at Cobb's Comedy Club. The line up was stellar, to say the least, with performances from Garfunkel and Oats, Chris Hardwick, Natasha Leggero, Joe Sib and Brendan Small.
Each comedian had a story of loss, triumph and eventual success to tell. Each comic had been to rock bottom, or had simply faced times that scared them shitless, but dared to face what challenged them only to rise back to where they belonged.
Host Greg Behrendt had some helpful advice for artists that entailed having skill in at least a little less than a dozen things. Yep, you read that right. "You just have to know how to do like 10 things," Greg said, more than once. As I inevitably giggled at the "joke", I also found myself with eyes darting nervously, as I knew that his "joke" wasn't really a joke at all. The man who worked as a script consultant on Sex and the City, who later wrote the book He's Just Not That Into You, that was later adapted into a film of the same name, was telling this story. The man who hosted two television shows The Greg Behrendt Show, Greg Behrendt Wake Up Call, and the podcast Walking the Room, was jumping around on stage with a microphone in his hand and age old truth in his mouth. This same man, after 30 years, is regaining the rights to his song "Cakebox", that was momentarily on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack (made during his days of Cramps covers), a 'hair goo' called "The King Sweater's Glitter Cake Pomade", and even the name itself "The King Sweater". As a result of him not allowing his failures or downfalls stop him, he is proudly reclaiming his throne. His days of retro-rockabilly Japanese pop-stardom and men's cosmetics famedom came to a screeching halt after only a couple of years. Decades later it all comes full circle because his persistence and fire inside never died. Most importantly, The King Sweater stayed true to himself through it all.
Another inspiring story was that of Joe Sib's, a man who also has a million jobs and has been to hell and back. Joe told a story of growing up poor and punk rock with a dangerous cocktail of naivety and fire bubbling in his blood.
Spending the 90s flying by the seat of his pants while playing in punk rock bands across the world, Joe told a precursor story of hitting rock bottom, working in a department store, surrounded by ladies granny panties without a glimmer of hope in sight. With tears in his eyes and shattered dreams on the floor, Joe was convinced the end of his rope had been reached. The icing on this pity cake was the story of his encounter with a band we all know so well, Weezer, who after years of Sib's blood sweat and tears being infused into punk rock, "borrowed" his vocals from an answering machine message, only to be used on a song that helped shoot the So Cal band to super stardom, The Sweater Song. When the weight of these circumstances seemed to reach maximum density in a sea of granny panties, a tipping point for Mr. Sibb was finally reached. Literally the next day after Joe had a "God why me?" moment, a ray of light finally shone in his direction and international touring soon followed.
One of Joe Sib's many current jobs is being co-owner of Side One Dummy Records where he signed and released albums for renowned bands like Flogging Molly, ANTI-FLAG and The Gaslight Anthem just to name a few.
This story among several others without a doubt gave me a much-needed spark of inspiration, and reassurance that it's just never worth it to give up on your dreams...because they won't give up on you.
Learn more about this year's San Francisco Sketch Fest and all of the amazing acts that took place at sfsketchfest.com.