If you’re going to live in the city, you might as well take advantage of everything it has to offer, including incredible art. But if you don’t feel like going to the theater, you can still enjoy other types of live performances. That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive list of San Francisco comedy clubs, open mics, and shows to give your funny bone a tickle when the culture bug comes a-callin’.
Cobb’s is likely to have names and faces you recognize from TV and movies. They’re a big club with a full bar and kitchen, so you can easily make a big night of it. And if you want to continue your night, there are plentiful options for you in North Beach.
Location: North Beach, 915 Columbus Ave.
Price: $$, two drink minimum
This comedy club is another big venue in the city. Dave Chappelle has called it the “best club in the USA,” and he’s been known to pop in and try out new material. Big names will tour through the Punch Line, but you can also catch local talent at the SF Comedy Showcase on Sundays.
Location: Financial District, 444 Battery St.
Price: $$, two drink minimum
Hosted by Richard Savarte and Abhay Nadkarni, this intimate venue welcomes great comics and up-and-coming locals alike. It feels more like New York’s Comedy Cellar, unlike the bigger venues hosting touring comedians. They’re located in the Beer Basement, where the taps are rotated frequently with delicious brews.
Location: Tenderloin, 222 Hyde St.
This venue popped up in our indie theater post, but it’s important to call out PianoFight as a comedy venue, too. They’re home to house sketch teams Mission CTRL and Chardonnay, The Ballroom Improv, and audience favorite Drunk Theatre (an improv show where one cast member is selected at random to take five shots on stage before the show).
Location: Tenderloin, 144 Taylor St.
Better known as a music venue, Neck of the Woods dedicates Sundays to comedy – a highlight includes the showcase Crazy Funny Asians. Stick around after the funny and dance your way into the week.
Location: Inner Richmond, 406 Clement St.
Tucked in the beautiful back patio of Hollow Cow, this stand-up showcase features comedians from Cobb’s, Punch Line, and SF Sketchfest. Pro tip: Don’t forget to try out the restaurant’s tasty food and drink offerings.
Location: Marina, 1875 Union St.
Hosts Irene Tu and Dominique Gelin invite guests and the audience to explore the good and bad of Millenials. (They happen to be Millenials, so it’s all in good fun.) They perform at El Rio, a staple bar of the Mission known for its back patio and being a queer community hub.
Location: Mission, 3158 Mission St.
Price: FREE (plus free oysters while supplies last!)
Another stand-up showcase in another bar, but this one stands out for two reasons: 1. It’s mercifully on a weekend (every Saturday), and 2. The hosts (Natasha Muse, John Nyugen, and Red Scott) are great. Murphy’s Pub is a classic divey Irish pub conveniently located near BART.
Location: Financial District, 217 Kearny St.
If you’re looking for comedy done by professionals, BATS is your go-to theater. These pros teach improv classes, host corporate workshops, and put on hilarious shows with ever-changing themes.
Location: Marina, Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd.
With their many teams and multiple venues, you’re bound to find something you like with Endgames. A popular show is Your F*cked Up Relationship, where an audience member divulges details about a relationship, and an improv team brings that to life.
Location: Mission, 446 Valencia St. (Stagewerx) & 2965 Mission St. (ETC South)
Un-Scripted takes long-form improv and pumps it with steroids. They improvise an entire play with plots, subplots, and shocking twists, all within a specific genre. The performers are skilled, and the audience is usually caught at the end with their jaws dropped.
Location: Union Square, 533 Sutter St.
Offering showcases of local improv teams, there is always something for everyone at a Leela show. Performed at the EXIT Theatre, you can grab a drink or small snack at the cafe and enjoy while you toss suggestions to the performers (please don’t toss food, though).
Location: Tenderloin, 156 Eddy St.
Sketch and variety
Looking for laughs AND a spectacle? BBB provides both of these in spades. While they’ve made a name for themselves with their outrageous costumes and headpieces, they also tackle relevant (and retro) topics in over-the-top songs. Added bonus: there’s table service.
Location: North Beach, 678 Green St.
Fan of SNL? Then KML is right up your alley. They perform multiple shows a year, featuring six hilarious actors, musical numbers, and timely commentary. Their much-anticipated holiday shows are must-sees that regularly sell out.
Location: Multiple venues including PianoFight in SF and FlightDeck in Oakland
A brilliant premise, executed to perfection. Mortified brings everyday people on stage to read excerpts from their childhood diaries. It is cringey, nostalgic, and side-splittingly funny. Hosted at the DNA Lounge, you can enjoy beer or cocktails while you watch, and then grab a slice of pizza next door.
Location: SOMA, 375 11th St.
This is a truly unique event. Comedians get on stage and wing a presentation while seeing it for the first time. While the comedians are already in funny form, the slides kick up the absurdity level and make it an unforgettable event.
Location: Mission, Public Works, 161 Erie St.
A weekly night of comedy, featuring stand-up, trivia, musical acts, and more. There’s really only one downside to this event: it’s on a Monday, and the drinks are reasonably priced. Proceed with caution.
Location: SOMA, 1123 Folsom St.
Think you’ve got what it takes to make people laugh? Lucky for you, SF has quite a few open mics for you to test out your latest take on brunch. Here’s a few to try out:
Milk Bar every Thursday, 1840 Haight St.
Portals Tavern every Monday, 179 West Portal Ave.
Hysteria at Martuni’s, second Tuesdays of every month, 4 Valencia St.
Clearly, San Francisco is not hurting for comedy. And there’s even more once you exhaust this list. A pro-tip for the die-hard comedy fans is to check out FunCheapSF – you’ll find an array of events pop up on this site, and they’re always a fair price.
So, what are you waiting for? Go enjoy a night of San Francisco comedy.