9 Places in San Francisco That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud
You’ve heard these sayings before: “Laughter is the best medicine.” “Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone.” Could your funny bone use a little tickling? San Francisco has a rich comedic history and just the tonic for the doldrums.
SF Sketchfest kicks off each year as the annual comedy festival, bringing a cavalcade of comedians and favorite entertainers to the city. Beyond that, San Francisco has stalwart comedy options throughout the year. Here is a quick guide to the city's comedic scene:
Beach Blanket Babylon
Laughter has exceeded the legal limit for more than four decades at Steve Silver’s “Beach Blanket Babylon,” 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd. (Green). With more than 16,000 performances in San Francisco, it is the longest running musical review in theater history. The internationally acclaimed San Francisco institution parodies current events and is always as fresh as today’s headline. Extravagant costumes and huge hats add to the show’s zany appeal. “The New York Times” calls it “no less a part of San Francisco than the Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower.”
The largest and longest-running improv theater and school in Northern California, BATS performs new shows every weekend including “Improvised Farce” at its Bayfront Theater in Fort Mason and classes are offered year-round for students at all levels. The group is also widely known for its Theatresports format in which two teams of improvisers compete against each other for points. Performances are every Friday and Saturday.
Cartoon Art Museum
At its new home in the Fisherman's Wharf area, the Cartoon Art Museum continues to draw on more than 6,000 pieces of original cartoon and animation. Originally a “museum without walls” fostered by a group of cartoon enthusiasts, the museum was able to establish residence in the heart of the Yerba Buena Gardens cultural district in 1987 with an endowment from Charles M. Schulz, the creator of “Peanuts.” The exhibitions are often topical and provocative.
Charles M. Schulz Museum
Just 54 miles north of San Francisco in Santa Rosa, the Charles M. Schulz Museum provides a permanent home at 2301 Hardies Lane, to the “Peanuts” gang and preserves, displays and interprets the art of Schulz. Home to the largest collection of oriiginal "Peanuts" artwork in the world, the collection allows visitors to see original comic strips, learn about the art of cartooning and learn more about Schulz's role in its development. Don't miss the re-creation of his art studio and animated "Peanuts" specials in the the theater.
Cobb’s Comedy Club
For more than 30 years Cobb’s Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave. has been one of San Francisco’s premier comedy venues. Also under the Live Nation banner, Punch Line Comedy Club, 444 Battery St., is the city’s longest running comedy club. The intimate stage is a favorite of nationally acclaimed comics. Known for its Sunday SF Comedy Showcase, the Punch Line's weekly show has birthed such comedians as Patton Oswalt, Margaret Cho and Arj Barker.
San Jose-based ComedySportz has produced more than 5,000 different shows all over the Bay Area in the past three decades. The award-winning interactive comedy show where two teams of “act-letes” compete for laughs and points as they improv scenes, games, operas and musicals based on suggestions from the audience. Audience members are always part of the show and will sometimes find themselves up on stage as well.
Foot! Fun Walking Tours
Some people like to combine the giggles with a gambol. Foot! Fun Walking Tours are just the ticket. Founded in 1999 by America’s 67th funniest comedian (according to a short, funny history on its website), Foot! tour guides are history buffs by day and seasoned comics, actors and improvisers by night. Using games, puzzles, fun facts and re-enactments they produce tours that are part game show, part history lesson and exceptionally fun. Check out “Hobnobbing with Gobs of Snobs” for the real dirt on Nob Hill; SF in a Nutshell: the Nuts and Bolts of the City” or “Flashback: From the Summer of Love to the Winter of Discontent” and discover why “SF Weekly” readers voted these the “most eccentric walks” in San Francisco.
Kung Pao Kosher Comedy
Kung Pao Kosher Comedy™ has been answering the age-old question, “What are Jews supposed to do on Christmas?” since 1993. What started out as a joke by local standup comic, Lisa Geduldig, has become an institution in San Francisco, giving more than 2,000 comedy aficionados and those escaping “Christmas-mania” an annual reprieve from “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” Past headliners have included Elayne Boosler, David Brenner, Shelly Berman and Henny Youngman, “The King of the One Liners.”
A full-service restaurant and bar with a cabaret stage and two intimate theaters, PianoFight's shows run the gamut from inventive sketch comedy to choose-your-own-ending plays. And as if that weren't enough, there are improv shows, dance, live podcasts, film screenings and more. Plus, there's usually a live band playing on the cabaret stage before and after shows.
When in search of even a few more chuckles, check out the Comedy events in the events listings.