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The Legendary Punch Line Comedy Club is CLOSING

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– article updated on 5/9/2019

The Legendary Punchline San Francisco is closing this summer after over 40 years of hosting some of the biggest names in comedy.  According to a source close to the Punchline, all staff was notified this week that the owners of the building have refused to renew the club’s lease which ends on August 20th.

Punch Line is part of Livenation (along with Cobb’s Comedy Club, The Fillmore & The Masonic), and they are actively searching for a new venue in order to continue Punch Line San Francisco.

Punch Line is truly a legendary place for comedy, Dave Chappelle has famously been working out his newest material there since the 1990s, I once saw him perform there for over 4 hours, just riffing and speaking to the audience as if he were in his own living room.  SF comedy stars like Robin Williams, Dana Carvey,  Margaret Cho & Greg Proops frequented Punch Line, and everyone from John Mulaney to Amy Schumer have performed there.  It’s a pretty magical spot and a true piece of America’s comedic history.

SF Comic Nato Green

Correction update 5/9/2019: The Punch Line SF was founded in 1978 by SF promoter and restauranteur Jeffrey Pollack.  Pollack recently told us that his wife Patricia actually came up with the name ‘Punch Line’.  In 1980 Pollack got out of the club game and sold both the Old Waldorf and Punch Line to Bill Graham.  That same year Pollack bought the landmark restaurant Julius Castle on Telegraph Hill and ran that until 2006.  The Punch Line website implies Graham started the club in 78, so thanks to Jeffrey for the correction!

Originators aside, over the years this venue has not only catered to the biggest stars, it also provides an excellent stage for young, local and up and coming comics to hone their craft.  We hope they land on their feet somewhere else in the city soon.

Meanwhile, there is definitely going to be comedy performed there 6 nights a week at least until August 20th, so check out the Punch Line SF Calendar here, and go see a show before this landmark venue of comedy is gone to the highest bidder.

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

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4 Comments

  1. john
    April 20, 2020 at 7:22 am

    Maybe it has something to do with their “2 drink minimum ” costing a you minimum of $20 + on top what you paid for the show ticket. You can’t enjoy a show without their waitresses harassing you to buy more drinks. Good riddance.

    Hopefully, Cobb’s is next. They do the same BS. Just be honest , charge the real price for a show and make drinks optional.

    • UCantHandleTheTruth
      April 20, 2020 at 7:24 am

      Jesus. Are you actually able to comprehend the text you are reading? What a tenant charges has nothing to do with the owner deciding whether or not renew their lease. Tenant pays bill, period. The owner “refused” to renew their lease. The owner is probably chomping at the bit to charge a new tenant an enormous chunk of dough vs the likely lower rate the punchline has been paying. This crap happens everywhere with greedy building owners.

      • john
        April 20, 2020 at 10:43 am

        Oh ,I comprehended Sunshine. Like many others, I just don’t care about a crappy club that scams their customers closing.

  2. melbaker
    April 20, 2020 at 7:22 am

    I suppose they could take over Club Fugazi at the end of the year when Beach Blanket ends. It would at least reduce some of the sadness.