Comedians and Artists Unite for “Picture This!” at Doc’s Lab

Experts say art is good for the brain, and humor is good for your health. So perhaps Picture This, a new monthly comedy series that combines the twisted minds of local stand-up comedians with guest animators, cartoonists, and illustrators, is just the double dose of awesome that you needed. Come down to Doc’s Lab this Friday, September 25 for the latest edition of Picture This!

The concept is simple, when the curtains open the comedian shares the stage with a projection of the artists drawings in real-time, giving the audience a unique, one-time-only stand-up comedy experience.

Picture This is part of a series which was started by Brandie Posey & Sam Varelahas. Their show concept has been picked up in Hollywood, New York City, Portland, and now San Francisco. It has also debuted in Toronto, New Zealand, and Australia. Gracious and hilarious hosts of San Francisco’s Picture This are Kate Willett and Joey Devine. Here is a link to more info on the series.

Comedians for this edition are Sean Keane, Kate Willett, Ray Molina, Adrian McNair, Allison Mick, Alfonso Portela, Irene Mcgee, Ben Walker-Storey, Attaboy, Sean Keeton, JP Vine. Artists include Attaboy (Hi-Fructose Magazine), Sean Keeton (Sega), Ferris Plock, JP Vine (PIXAR), Ben Walker-Storey, and Josh Herbolsheimer (Super 7).

We spoke with Ben Walker-Storey, Picture This! art director, artist, host, promoter, and man of many hats.

I saw that this is a multi-city event. How’d this event come about in SF?

Picture This was created by Samantha Varela and Brandie Posey. Brandie is a stand-up comedian and part of Lady to Lady podcast. Sam is a comedy Booker/Promoter. I’m sure they can tell you more about how they started Picture This out of LA. Mike Hollingsworth (BoJack Horseman) and Mike Mayfield (Mr. Pickles) are head animators down there and are super-cool.

They all took the show on the road and hit San Francisco last December. I’ve been looking for any way I can mix art and comedy so I was thrilled to be in the line-up of animators. Then they asked me to head up the art side of the San Francisco franchise. Hell yeah.

How often does this event happen? When did it start?

We put on our first SF franchise show May 2nd, 2015. This next show on September 25th will be our third. So it’s pretty much bimonthly. The folks at Doc’s Lab (Jeff Zamaria) are incredibly supportive and excited for the growing success of these shows. They keep selling out!

What are some highlights from the series?
It’s hard to describe, but there are moments where everything comes together in a way that’s unique to this show. The comedian and animator wander down paths, reacting to each-other. It can turn into a magic moment that clicks better than anything we could have sat down to write beforehand.

“Ricky Portrait” from Better Off Dead, Artwork by Ben Walker-Storey

ben walker 2

What can people look forward to seeing?
You will see talented, driven people going WAY outside of their comfort zone. Comedians are not used to having stuff going on behind them while they do their set. Artists aren’t used to drawing off-the-cuff while 100 people watch. The stakes are higher for everyone involved. Adrenalin is pumping. That’s when people might witness something special.

I’m really excited about our next show. Joey and Kate are great at lining up the best and brightest comedians. I try to bring in artists who are (first) very funny and who can bring their own fan base. JP Vine is a story artist for PIXAR. Attaboy is an internationally renowned artist, toy designer and co-founder of Hi Fructose magazine. I’ve been a fan of Ferris Plock’s art for 7 years so I’m excited we caught him between shows. Plus we’ve got a core of artists like Josh Herbolsheimer (from Super 7) and Sean Keeton (SEGA) coming back for more!

Artwork by guest artist, Joshua Herbolsheimer


What makes you laugh? Who are your favorite cartoonists/ comedians?
I love the everyday fight for comfort in unbearably awkward social situations. Larry David, Hank Hill (King of the Hill), and Karl Pilkington (An Idiot Abroad) are my spirit animals. I love comedy that’s cerebral and/or weird too; Emo Phillips, Dana Gould, Sarah Silverman, Maria Bamford and Harland Williams are some of my favorite people. As for cartoons, I grew up on MAD magazine and Looney Tunes. Jack Davis blows my Goddam mind. Chuck Jones could make you swear a drawing is alive. I think Mike Mignola has more fun drawing comics than anyone in the world. He breaks so many drawing “rules” and it looks amazing.

Picture This is followed by a second show you created called Deal Killer? Can you tell me about this show as well? 

Deal Killer is my stab at mixing illustrated content with live comedy. It’s going to be part (fake) game show, part panel discussion. Basically it’s a game of “Would You Rather?” with all the hypotheticals (complete with illustrations for the big screen) centering around dating and relationships.


My wife, Amanda Walker-Storey and I came up with the game, just talking over wine and showing each-other pictures from the internet. Then I started illustrating the hypothetical scenarios. We’ve roped our friends into playing. The scenarios are ridiculous and many come from our own experiences. People get into hashing out the red flags. Like what kind of person would do this or have that in their home? Would this be alright or a deal killer? I end up learning a lot. This first show is a half-hour shorty, to see how it goes in a comedy club. Two of my favorite Bay Area comedians, Jane Harrison and Eloisa Bravo will join Amanda on the panel, with me playing host and game-keeper.


picture this 1