SF Sketchfest’s Live from the Archive online series features a tribute to Fred Willard. (Courtesy photo)

SF Sketchfest opens plentiful comedy archive

Presenter offers free tribute to late great Fred Willard

To honor the late, great, hilarious Fred Willard, who died at 86 on May 15, San Francisco comedy presenter SF Sketchfest has a free online treat: It has released a video of a 2017 tribute to Willard, featuring the actor in conversation with Kevin Pollak and appearances by Christopher Guest, Robert Klein and Laraine Newman.

Willard, a longtime friend of SF Sketchfest, played the second festival in 2003 with his Hollywood Players sketch comedy troupe and in later years appeared in Celebrity Autobiography and reunions of “Fernwood 2 Night” and “Waiting For Guffman.”

The video is the first free release from SF Sketchfest’s recent Live From the Archive series, a fundraising effort offering online viewing – starting at $5 rentals for a 48-hour viewing window – of events including the “Best in Show” 20th anniversary reunion, the “Airplane!” 40th anniversary reunion, and a tribute conversation between Molly Shannon and Bruce McCulloch.

The final May release on May 26 is a roast of Peaches Christ featuring the local hero and drag star getting teased by friends and colleagues Clea DuVall, Heklina, Heather Matarazzo, Jinkx Monsoon, Cassandra Peterson (aka Elvira, Mistress of the Dark), Coco Peru, Sister Roma, Mink Stole and special guest John Waters.

June archival releases include: a tribute to George Wallace, in conversation with Patton Oswalt; Uptown Showdown Debate: Childhood vs. Adulthood, an “old-fashioned” comedic debate with Michael Ian Black, Jo Firestone, Dave Hill, Aparna Nancherla, Michael Showalter, Brent Weinbach, and host Kate Willett; a tribute to Ricky Gervais, speaking with Christopher Guest; Theme Park Improv with Ian Brennan, Rachel Dratch, John Michael Higgins, Michael Hitchcock, Jessica Makinson, Oscar Nunez, Cole Stratton and Janet Varney with guests Paget Brewster and Thomas Lennon; a tribute to The Monkees featuring Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz, speaking with Paul Myers; and a 50th anniversary of “The Dick Cavett Show” tribute gathering with Cavett, Lance Bangs, Dave Hill, John Hodgman and Mort Sahl.

Archival videos are available to rent at sfsketchfest.com/watch.

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