Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Make 'Em Laugh 

Cobb's Comedy Club reopens in spiffy new North Beach digs

Wednesday, Nov 12 2003
This may come as a surprise to recent transplants, but San Francisco was once the hot West Coast center of stand-up comedy. In the '70s and '80s, comics flocked to Bay Area clubs, taking their best shot up against the brick wall with jesters like Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Kevin Pollack. Hungry young cutups competed to win a spot in the annual San Francisco Comedy Competition, known industrywide as the best stand-up launching pad, and events like free Comedy Day in the Park attracted 60,000 to Golden Gate Park's Polo Field.

But with the post-'80s downturn in the laugh biz, the fortunes of local comedians and clubs alike have fallen. Venerable haunts like Josie's Cabaret and Juice Joint, the Other Cafe, Holy City Zoo, and the Boarding House are long gone. And after Cobb's Comedy Club closed in April because of fire damage at its Fisherman's Wharf location, S.F.'s only remaining full-time venue was Clear Channel Entertainment's Punch Line.

However, Cobb's fortunes have lately taken a different turn. Under its trio of mom-and-pop owners (divorced couple/ best friends Tom and Caroline Sawyer and their gay Latino partner Michael Pagan -- very San Francisco), Cobb's has relocated to spiffy North Beach digs. The new site, former home of the Boarding House and 7th Note jazz club, is more than twice as big as its old Cannery space. The owners intend to put the elbow room to good use by hosting big-name headliners Thursday through Sunday: Bob Saget (who is the featured act opening night), Suzanne Westenhoefer, Joe Rogan, D.L. Hughley, and Jake Johannsen are the draws through December.

The rest of the week Cobb's plans All-Pro Comedy Showcases featuring up-and-comers. Attention aspiring smartacres: Now's the time to polish your set. Because if the folks at Cobb's have their way, the Bay Area's headed for a whole new comedy renaissance.

About The Author

Joyce Slaton


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"