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Thursday, May 24, 2012

San Francisco Comedy Is Taking Over the U.S.

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 7:30 AM


Ummm, I don't know if you know this, but San Francisco comedy is entering a Golden Age ... okay, fine ... Another Golden Age. Of course the Bay Area comedy scene has always been able to hold its head high with any scene in the world -- neigh, THE UNIVERSE! But currently the national comedy scene is covered with us. We are representing all over the place, across all media platforms and in ways some people never would have guessed or imagined. Historically the S.F. scene has housed some of comedy's first-ballot hall of famers: Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Phyllis Diller, Patton Oswalt, Margaret Cho, Whoopi Goldberg, Mort Sahl -- and that's only a few. Now it looks like we might be entering a new round of names into that pantheon soon.

Click through to find out who they are.

Al Madrigal

Al is not only a San Francisco comedian but he is also a that increasingly rare thing called a San Francisco native. Al made his bones at the Punch Line and Cobb's. But he also produced his own local events, something the native comedians often do. It turns out that when you are from here, you are only one degree of separation from everybody else who is from here, so Al was quickly selling out his independently produced shows. No comic who knew Al and watched his work ethic back in the day is surprised by his success. Since he left for L.A., he is (seemingly) constantly on TV doing stand-up on late night shows or acting in various TV shows. And recently he has appeared in those Farmers Insurance commercials, but he is more becoming known as Jon Stewart's new secret weapon on The Daily Show.


Moshe Kasher

Moshe was not born in the Bay Area but he is as good as a native because he grew up in Oakland. Moshe was a part of a wave of UC Berkeley educated comedians that included Louis Katz and Brent Weinbach. Moshe always had a fierce individualist streak in his comedy combined with an old school '90s hip-hop vibe combined with some sort of Jewish Malcolm X thing and also at the same time a Jewish Detroit Red thing. Oh yeah, he's also a proud hipster. Moshe combines not giving a fuck with also clearly giving too much of a fuck. While he is a favorite on Chelsea Lately, he recently confirmed his street cred by taping his debut comedy special at the New Parish in Oakland. But the comedy stage has proven unable to contain him, as he just released a book about his youth titled, Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16.


Ali Wong

Ali knew she was gonna make it. She always carried an air of, "If you don't know who I am then you have a problem." Like other S.F. natives before and after her, she booked her own shows quickly. And she had a following before she was even working the clubs. I knew something was up with her when I heard through the grapevine that she had an endorsement deal. (AN ENDORSEMENT DEAL??? BUT SHE'S NOT EVEN FEATURING???) Ali proved that whatever the rest of us comics thought "the rules" were she had no concern, and she was going to do it her own way. Since she moved from here, she has been named one of Variety's Ten Comics to Watch, and she has become a national headliner. She has also passed the first step to becoming a successful comedian, acting in a canceled sitcom, NBC's Are You There Chelsea?. And this fall she will be in a FREAKIN' OLIVER STONE FILM!

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W. Kamau Bell


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