Local Laughs

Local Laughs

Go See Some Comedy: Comedy Day at Sharon Meadow and More

This Sunday is Comedy Day at Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park from noon to 5pm. Comedy Day has been running for forty years. When I was in high school, it was still in the Polo Fields and drew tens of thousands of people. Part of its legend was that Robin Williams was always the unannounced guest who closed the show.

Every year, I’d arrive early to get a good patch of lawn. The Chronicle, back when it still cared about local comedy, would print the schedule in the Pink Section. Watching five hours of comedy is a good way to check in on the zeitgeist. (“I guess the witness relocation program is a thing this year.”) When I saw someone new and awesome, I would note their name so I could go see them live at Cobbs or the Punchline or the Other Café.

Now that I have performed at Comedy Day, I’ve learned that performing outside under a beautiful San Francisco fog, for an audience of people who are lying down, is not the optimal conditions for the enjoyment of comedy. But it’s like the company picnic for our community, so we love it.

To see comedy indoors at night, as the #GoodLord intended, go the Punchline on Tuesday or Wednesday to catch Ryan Stout. Ryan was one of the hot kids of the local comedy scene when I first started. He wore a suit, which is a bold choice in this hoodie-jeans epoch we’re living through.

I’ve always loved Ryan’s standup. He manages to make jokes about appalling topics without being mean-spirited or insulting, because the jokes are completely logical:

On Thursday, head to Lost Weekend Video for the Mission Position. Mission Position goes down every Thursday, and is produced by a crew of killer local (for now) comics.

Or later that same night at Lost Weekend, check out Jesse Elias. Jesse rocketed out of the San Francisco scene in the last couple of years.

A few years ago he opened for me and people asked me afterwards, “Is he ok? Is he disabled? Does he have mental disorder of some sort?” Don’t be fooled. Jesse is unique and smart and hilarious.

You can listen to these recommendations on KALW 91.7 FM public radio during my segment FSFSF, which airs every Tuesday during All Things Considered. FSFSF shines on spotlight on great Bay Area comedians past and present.

On Wednesday, September 23, I’ve put together a showcase of my favorite Bay Area comedians at our newest comedy venue, Pianofight. KALW is taping it for future FSFSF segments. Plan ahead not to miss it.

Go see some comedy.

Nato Green is a comedian and writer and activist and dad and native and Jew and . Send grievances to @natogreen.

[Photo: duluoz cats]

Local Laughs

Go See Some Comedy: Recommendations for the Week Ahead

Everybody says that we’re in the middle of standup comedy boom. New media has opened the floodgates of ways to discover and enjoy comedy. Not all comedy is for everyone, but if you don’t avail yourself of this moment to go out for live comedy, you will have only yourself to blame.

Don’t be that guy, who in 40 years, when you’re living in Burlingame and your children ask what amazing comedians you saw when you lived in the City during its creative ferment, has to say that you missed out.

Fortunately, I’m here to steer you with recommendations, and I know the fuck of what I speak. What the fuck of I speak. You can follow my recommendations on KALW 91.7 fm public radio during my segment FSFSF, which airs every Tuesday during All Things Considered. FSFSF shines on spotlight on great Bay Area comedians past and present.

First, and foreleast, you can see me live on Saturdays at Cynic Cave, the regular Saturday show at Lost Weekend Video. Lost Weekend is now the beating heart of San Francisco’s alternative comedy scene.

On Wednesday, September 9, go to the Punchline Comedy Club to see Jacob Sirof. He’s an SF native who was a class ahead of me in comedy when we started. He likes jokes and likes to be a bit of a dick.

Then on Friday or Saturday, Ali Wong is headlining Cobb’s Comedy Club. Ali and I started out in the open mics together. We all knew she would be famous right away. She came out of the gate as a fearless unstoppable prolific comedian and never looked back. These days she’s writing for Fresh Off the Boat, which stars her old pal Randall Park, and is about to tape a standup special. I expect it to be funny and dirty.

Here’s a deep cut of a sketch she did way back in 2007 with her then-boyfriend Chris Garcia. They’re both recently or about to be married to other people, but you can see why this was a, ahem, fruitful collaboration:

Finally, on Saturday night, if you stubbornly refuse to watch me at Cynic Cave or Ali Wong at Cobb’s, try Doc’s Lab to see Set List. Set List is a show where comedians are given their set list when they go out on stage, and have to improvise the act on the spot. Eddie Pepitone is coming up for this one, and he makes me laugh every time he speaks.

Go see some comedy.

Nato Green is a comedian who apparently makes a living arguing about housing with libertarians on twitter. Join the fracas @natogreen.

[Photo: Cynic Cave]