There are at least four big comedy shows in San Francisco tonight and the good news is that you can't go wrong no matter which one you pick. Greg Proops -- San Francisco native and star of Whose Line is It, Anyway? -- returns for an evening of astute, vocabulary-expanding riffs on politics, culture, and hypocrisy ($23.50). Proops also recorded an episode of his hit podcast, The Smartest Man in the World, on Dec. 30).
A refugee from the empire across the pond, The Daily Show's John Oliver graces us with his energetic, satirical, and often topical comedy ($35). Marga Gomez is headlining a benefit show and "comedy fiesta" along with funny lady friends like Pippi Lovestocking and Aundre the Wonderwoman ($30-$50).
Finally, "Not Your Normal New Year's Eve" returns with a variety show headlined by the '80s comedy legend Emo Philips (who, some believe, is the eponym of the musical genre) with support from a master of deadpan Brent Weinbach and San Francisco's Jill Bourque. As on almost any weekend, the city hosts some of the best comedians in the world; but in a holiday season already marred by tragedy, the emotional logic of ringing in the New Year with laughter is especially convincing.
"Not Your Normal New Year's Eve" starts at 7 p.m. at the Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness (at Grove), S.F. Admission is $25-$45.
Emo Phillips (forgive the Italian subtitles)