“SF Comedy Day”

“SF Comedy Day”

“This is one of the best cities to do Comedy in”                                                                                                                                     -Dave Chapelle

Is San Francisco a Comedy Town?

When you think of San Francisco, you likely think of the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, and a bunch of people driving Tesla’s while eating granola and wearing hemp t-shirts. But, since the days of Vaudeville & Silent Film, San Francisco has always been a stronghold for funny business in the United States. It’s a good bet that your favorite comedian came through San Francisco at one point or another. Ali Wong started her comedy career at the Brainwash Cafe on Folsom St., which has since closed (R.I.P.). Zach Galifinakas recorded his only standup special at The Purple Onion, a legendary club which hosted marquee names like George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, etc. during its lifetime.

Dave Chapelle’s favorite comedy club is The Punchline located at 444 Battery Street in DTSF. (We see you, Dave!) Chapelle loves the club so much that during the height of the pandemic he led a march on city hall to save the Punchline from imminent extinction.

(That’s W. Kamau Bell is in the background)

Comedy Festivals

There are several annual comedy festivals that (normally) happen in San Francisco. Clusterfest is Comedy Central’s mainstay festival on the west coast. SF Sketchfest, which only happened virtually in 2020 is a large-scale festival which focuses strictly on local talent.  However, the one most dear to our hearts is SF Comedy Day.

What’s comedy day?

Comedy Day is a San Francisco tradition. A FREE comedy show held in Golden gate park, showcasing both local talent, and  nationally touring comics alike. This year,  Golden Gate Park will host the 40th SF comedy day on September 19th in Robin Williams Meadow. The show starts at 12:00PM and is scheduled to run until 5:00 PM. 

The show, which began in 1981, was largely funded for many years by Robin Williams! Williams, who came to San Francisco as a teenager when his family moved to Tiburon, would be a lifelong ambassador for both the city of San Francisco and (as we all know) comedy. Williams anonymously donated the money so Comedy Day could take place every year at “Sharon Meadow” In Golden Gate Park. According to Debbie Durst, one of the show’s producers, when Williams would perform at the event, it took more than an hour to sneak him backstage in order to surprise the audience.

Following Willaims’s death in 2014, Durst, and other producers of the show petitioned Golden Gate Park to rename the area “Robin Williams Meadow.” After raising over $100,000.00 to have all of the park’s signs remade, all of the maps to be reprinted, and with permission from his family, the Meadow was formally renamed to honor the comedy legend.

To date, the show has welcomed over 500,000+ people into the park for a laugh. According to it’s website, it is the “Longest-Running, FREE, Outdoor Comedy Concert in the World”

Every year, the show attracts 15,000+ attendees into Robin Williams Meadow. The show remains absolutely free to the public and continues to draw big names like Whoopi Goldberg, Dave Chapelle, Eddie Izard,Patton Oswald, George Lopez, Ellen Degeneres and Bill Burr – in addition to showcasing local talent!

Yet another thing that makes our city great!

For more information about Comedy Day, check out their website!

If you’d like to attend Comedy Day, (and seriously, why wouldn’t you?) All you have to do is show up! Here is a map for reference. Get there early though, as the show runs for five hours and you want to ensure you get a space to spread a blanket and sit!

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