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Local comedy marathon reaches out to students

Kevin Frodahl

Comedy Spot owner Brian Crall interviews Sacramento City Roller player Melinda Olivera as part of an improv set with his sketch comedy group, Anti-Cooperation League, during the 48 Hour comedy marathon

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The Comedy Spot held the first 48 Hour Comedy Marathon in Sacramento the weekend of March 15, with a two-day showcase of comedy sketches, improvisational humor and stand-up comedians.

The event was devised by Comedy Spot owner and sketch comic Brian Crall who coordinated the event with comedian and former CRC student Jesse Jones, the host of the marathon.

“We’ve always been about trying to bring big city events to Sacramento,” Crall said. “We’re the first club in Sacramento to ever do long form improv and we’re the first to put on a comedy festival every year. Now we’re the first to do a 48 hour comedy marathon.”

Crall was inspired to create the marathon by a similar event held by a popular sketch comedy group in New York City.

“In New York they have this thing called the Del Close Marathon, put on by the Upright Citizens brigade,” said Crall. “I always thought it was great, to get a whole bunch of funny people and let them be funny for 48 hours, or not be funny at three o’clock in the morning, but to just have fun.”

The 48 Hour Comedy Marathon featured many local sketch comics, improv actors and comedians performing in a variety of diverse acts ranging from improv games to geek-themed stand-up routines and showings of over-dubbed Saturday morning cartoons. More conventional comedy acts dominated the busy hours of the evening and night, while stranger and edgier comedy took over in the early hours of each morning.

“For the most part, it’s sketch, improv, stand-up, peppered in with some sort of weirder, experimental, playing with format sort of shows,” said Jones. “From two until, let’s say, eight in the morning, there’s just a bunch of fun stuff that we wanted to test out, giving people the opportunity to really try something different.”

Performers included locals such as the house sketch-comedy group, Anti-cooperation League, comedian Keith Lowell Jensen and KCRA 3 reporter Gulstan Dart. Visitors included comedian Jesse Fernandez and stand-up group The Real Housewives of Rio Linda.

Audiences ranged anywhere from four or five in early morning hours to 50 to 60 at peak hours over the two days, and often included many of those that performed over the course of the evening.

Members of Sacramento’s roller derby team, the Sac City Rollers, were also in attendance at different times over the two days. One player, Melinda Olivera was even interviewed for an improv act with Anti-cooperation League.

Another Sac City Roller who was in the audience, Hanna Frank, enjoyed the comedy sketches she stayed for.

“I’m in complete awe of anything improv, because I could never think that quickly,” said Frank.

Tickets to most of the events costed $5.00, while tickets to shows in the evening were either $8.00 or $12.00, and shows from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. were free. Passes to the full event were available for $30.

Those unable to attend could also stream the event live for free from the Comedy Spot’s website.

Those who were unaware of the comedy marathon or unable to attend will have another chance to take part next year, as Crall stated that he hopes to make the event a yearly occurrence.

Those that want to get involved with performing in improv and sketch comedy can also take part in the four week sketch comedy class offered by the Comedy Spot, which is taught by Jones.

“It’s sort of an introduction to sketch, it gives the basics on structure and a couple different types of sketches,“ Jones said. “Folks bring their sketches in to get feedback, and give them an idea of where their sketches could go to improve them.”

The program costs $120 and the next session begins the first week of April.

Jones also mentioned the past value of bringing students into the program.

“We want to get out to CRC and ARC and City, to be reaching out more to the campuses,” Jones said. “We’ve gotten a lot of good people here in the past because of getting the word out to the schools.”

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Local comedy marathon reaches out to students