As a comedian who doesn’t shy away from jokes about farting, vomit and doctor visits with lengthy rectal exams, it’s easy to categorize Tim Heidecker as a subversive gross-out king.
But Heidecker, appearing in three SF Sketchfest gigs this week, may be at his funniest when embracing his love for dry humor, irony and skits characterized by quiet awkwardness.
“I think I try to use all the tools in the toolbox,” says Heidecker, who appeared for three years with Eric Wareheim in the hilariously bizarre “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” on Adult Swim.
“I think there are all kind of different jokes. Some things are going to be big and gross and slapsticky, and some of the stuff is going to be really, really dry. I love the subtle stuff just as much as I love a joke about diarrhea.”
With “Tim and Eric” on hiatus, Heidecker recently created material for Jash, a comedy collective that posts skits on YouTube.
In a faux cooking show, he plays an inept version of himself, painfully slogging his way through failed attempts to make mustard-based sauces. In another, working with fellow comic Gregg Turkington, he was a clueless film critic with a problem pronouncing actors’ names and a love for all things Tom Cruise.
He also put out a music album that skewered 1970s yacht-rock bands and played a supporting role in the HBO comedy “Eastbound and Down.”
At SF Sketchfest, he’ll re-create his movie critic role from “On Cinema at the Cinema” and do a stand-up routine with Turkington’s alter ego, Neil Hamburger. He also will perform his new music album live with partner Davin Wood at the Rickshaw Stop.
The prolific Heidecker says he doesn’t labor over ideas in a writer’s room before putting out his material.
“If you create something, you can start developing a world later, where you explore a whole new language and a new set of rules,” he says. “Getting that idea out there is the first step to making something you can build upon.”
The approach has helped him develop plenty of memorable (and perhaps infamous) characters and sketches that stretch the role of what comedy can represent.
“I think I work really hard to make sure I’m constantly working on things,” Heidecker says. “It’s my way of expressing myself. I just end up doing it a weird and funny way, because that’s who I am.”
IF YOU GO
Heidecker & Wood
Where: Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Contact: (415) 861-2011, www.rickshawstop.com
On Cinema with Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington with Wired
When: Noon Saturday
Contact: (415) 863-1087, www.roxie.com
Tim Heidecker and Neil Hamburger
Where: Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa St., S.F.
When: 10:30 p.m. Saturday
Contact: (415) 861-9199, www.verdiclub.net
OTHER SF SKETCHFEST EVENTS
More than 200 shows at 20 venues
When: Today through Feb. 9
Tribute to Key and Peele: 1 p.m., $25, Cobb’s Comedy Club
Michael Winslow and Rhys Darby — Sound Effects Summit: 8 and 10 p.m., $25, Cobb’s
Stella & Friends with Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, David Wain: 10 p.m., $30, Marines’ Memorial Theatre
The Greatest Event in Television History with Adam Scott and Lance Bangs: 4 p.m., $20, Cobb’s
Tribute to Alan Arkin with Kevin Pollak and the 35th anniversary screening of “The In-Laws”: 7 p.m., $25, Castro Theatre
Revenge of the Nerds 30th Anniversary, 8:30 p.m., $30, Castro