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Comedian Jeff Richards at the Orinda Theatre

Walnut Creek-raised comic who has performed on Saturday Night Live and MadTV headlines a stand-up show on November 17 in Orinda.



Comedian Jeff Richards headlines a stand-up show at the Orinda Theatre on Thursday, November 17.

The East Bay native has had great success as a touring comic, television actor, musician, and sketch performer—he’s one of the few performers to appear in the casts of both Saturday Night Live and MadTV. He's recently appeared on the Netflix series Real Rob, VH1's Hit the Floor, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and his love of 1980s British pop and alternative rock led to the release of the 2014 album The Shingles, a collection of bizarre comic tunes that Richards recorded in his Los Angeles home. 

Richards, 42, gave Diablo a call from L.A. to talk about his East Bay upbringing and why he loves to revisit his hometown.

Jeff, we’re looking forward to seeing you at the Orinda Theatre on November 17. How often do you get back to the East Bay?
My dad still lives in Danville, so I get up there every two or three months. I grew up in Walnut Creek and went to Las Lomas and Walnut Creek Intermediate and Indian Valley Elementary. It was a great place to grow up, a very peaceful place.

Did growing up in the East Bay suburbs prepare you for a career in comedy?
When I went to Walnut Creek Intermediate, I did not really know any kids there at first. That was big intermediate school that a lot of elementary schools fed into. So, I made friends by impersonating my teachers. It’s funny, because all these years later, after SNL and all that, it still comes back to the kind of fun I had when I was 13 and making fun of my science teacher—figuring out his cadence and the way he talks. Doing that for the first time is the same as me in my 40s, doing an impression of Kevin Spacey from House of Cards.

Walnut Creek had a Punchline Comedy Club when you were a high school student here but you were probably too young to get in. Were there any outlets for you here in the East Bay that helped develop your performance skills?
I did a public access TV show for Channel 6 in Walnut Creek. We had a lot of teachers on. I think in a weird way it prepared me for SNL, if that’s possible, because I was winging a lot of it. The sketches on SNL are written, but you have such a short period of time to prepare. Filming those high school shows, I had to have it ready by a certain time. It is hard to compare the two—but at that age, it felt like the stakes were really high.

Are your friends from your East Bay childhood going to come to your November 17 show?
Yes. Usually when I come up to the Bay Area, it would be in San Francisco. There are usually some friends who come out. But everyone I know who is close to my age, they have families and kids, so it’s that much harder to go into San Francisco. That makes this show in Orinda so much fun, there will be more people who will be able to come.

What’s next on your schedule?
I’m going to be on Andrew Dice Clay’s Dice show on Showtime next season, as well as Rob Schenider’s Real Rob on Netflix. Looking forward to both of those.

Click here for ticket info about Jeff Richards' November 17 show at the Orinda Theatre.