There's Lots of Good, Cheap Comedy Shows in the Tenderloin
Surprisingly, San Francisco's least-hilarious neighborhood is the home to a good number of impressive comedy shows. Here's serious -- and funny -- reasons for you to venture out to the Tenderloin almost any night of the week for quality entertainment.
SF Comedy Cellar at 222 Hyde
222 Hyde Street (at Turk)
"We are a small, seemingly nondescript dive bar in the Tenderloin, but when you walk in, there is a very cozy feeling to the place," says Katie Marrah, the bar's manager.
The venue's intimate back room begs to be filled with raw comedy -- the low ceiling, brick wall, and a slightly-elevated stage feel like they've been torn out of 1980's New York.
Along with Strange Bros. Productions, resident comics Sergio Barajas and Lyall Behrens pack the house with a showcase each Saturday, and Tuesday and Thursday open mics are rapidly making this one of the best alt rooms in the city.
"I want to leave people impressed every time they come to a show," says Barajas.
The next show is April 14th at 8 p.m. and will feature local all-stars Stroy Moyd, Josef Anolin, Shanti Charan, and Rudy O.
A-list Comedy Showcase at Our Little Theater
287 Ellis Street (at Taylor)
The trademark of Our Little Theater is the flair with which its shows are conducted by the multi-talented performer and producer Sia Amma. Guests enter the tiny square room, packed to the gills with just thirty chairs, to be greeted by Amma, perched in a barber's chair in the corner.
The energetic and buxom Liberian immigrant is almost too much for the room to contain, especially once she climbs onto the tiny stage to host, riff with the international audience, and share stories of her African childhood. Her charm and spark carries her act, rife with some long-winded bits an inconsistent hosting that might otherwise turn off an audience.
The Theater's "a-list comedy showcase" runs every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 and 10 p.m. The proceeds support Amma's non-profit organization Global Women Intact, which uses performance to raise awareness of the beauty and complexity of African cultures.
The Deco Lounge Presents: Funny Mondays with Victor Torres
510 Larkin Street (at Turk)
The small, dark room opposite the barroom in this Tenderloin joint is typically split between comics and non-comics, the former filtering in and out to hit other open mics in the city. New faces are acknowledged with gratitude, as the performers are happy to see fledgling comedy fans.
"I try to support the newer comedians and give them a feeling of what it's like to play on a real [comedy club] stage," says the show's producer and local comic Victor Torres-Bowser.
The open mic begins at 7 p.m. every Monday and runs for two hours through eager, green comics. It's a perfect comedy club training ground for any would-be comedy fans who aren't ready to fork over the twenty dollars for a club show.
"I try to treat everyone like professionals and expect the comics to treat the show the same way," says Torres.
Comics can sign up for a spot by emailing in advance: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can keep up with Funny Mondays on Twitter and Facebook.
The Nerd Show & Babes of Comedy at 50 Mason Social House
50 Mason Street (at Turk)
50 Mason Social House is home to The Nerd Show and The Babes of Comedy, which run back-to-back each month. Don't let the names fool you: The nerds aren't incomprehensibly nerdy, and the babes are put on stage for their comic -- rather than sexual -- prowess.
Local comedian Bert DiVietri began producing the shows over a year ago with his comedy hip hop group Death Ray Astray. He avoids the politics that plague San Francisco comedy, booking based on talent rather than draw, connections, or favors, and ensures a quality show.
"Because we all get a long, there's no ego factor," DiVietri explains, "[Comics] are there to have fun, not to prove themselves."
Catch The Nerd Show Part 26 this Saturday, April 7th, at 7 p.m., and The Babes of Comedy at 8:30 p.m. Both shows are free.
Awkward Silence is a weekly column focusing on San Francisco stand-up comedy.