San Francisco has been a standup comedy capital since long before Steve Martin strapped on bunny ears and a banjo to record “A Wild and Crazy Guy” here in 1978. The legacy of local comics like Robin Williams, Phyllis Diller, and Carol Channing lives on, as these Bay Area standout standup comedians continue to tickle ribs, bust guts, split sides, and expedite rolling in the aisles.

Image: John Nowak

W. Kamau Bell

San Francisco’s current reigning king of standup W. Kamau Bell has blown up beyond the Bay Area, what with his Emmy-winning CNN show United Shades of America, his fancy op-eds in the New York Times, and his relatively new Netflix special “Private School Negro.” The self-described “6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud” Bell also made his directorial debut in October in the A&E docuseries Cultureshock episode “Chris Rock's ‘Bring the Pain’”. Longtime SFist readers will recall Bell getting booted from a Berkeley Cafe in 2015 for being conspicuously black, which drew national exposure, and the cafe has since closed.  

Next Show: You’ll have to settle for W. Kamau on demand via Netflix, CNN, and A&E streaming services, because he's all big and national  now.

Image: Anne Whitman

Marga Gomez

Robin Williams himself described Marga Gomez as “a lesbian Lenny Bruce,” but her proudest accomplishment may be the use of her image in a 2016 anal sex Twitter dispute between Kanye West and Amber Rose. Gomez actually performed on the mainstage at the first Folsom Street Fair in 1984 (before it was even called the Folsom Street Fair) but more recently appeared on Netflix’s Sense8, the WTF with Marc Maron podcast, and she even had a cameo as “Journalist” in the crappy 1995 Val Kilmer Batman movie Batman Forever (who knew?). Gomez is currently taking her show “Latin Standards” on an east coast tour, but she’ll be back to emcee the St. James Infirmary 20th anniversary benefit Hooker’s Ball this June.

Next Show: Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, March 29, 8 p.m.

Image: WGBH

Dhaya Lakshminarayanan

Yes, that’s local favorite Dhaya Lakshminarayanan hosting a teeny-bopper quiz show on PBS back in 2010. Her modern-day honoraries include feature segments on The Moth and NPR's Snap Judgment, winning Comedy Central Asia's Ultimate Comedy Challenge, and being awarded the 2016 Liz Carpenter Political Humor Award (previously won by prestigious types like Samantha Bee and Wanda Sykes). "As a woman who wields a microphone, I enjoy both adulation and suspicion," says  Lakshminarayanan, who now hosts the SF Moth StorySLAM at Public Works and recurring political comedy show The Resistance at the New Parkway Theater along with Karinda Dobbins, whom we love so much you will find her later along in this listicle.

Next Show: Public Works, 161 Erie Street, March 5, 6:30 p.m.

Image: Flashpoint Collective

Irene Tu

Get a load of DivaCup-drinking comic Irene Tu while you can, because she’s about to go open for Patton Oswalt on his southwest U.S. tour. But she’ll be back Sunday to host the annual Oscars screening at the Balboa Theatre, and Comedy x Pop Up Food every Monday night at the Starline Social Club in Oakland.

Next Show: Balboa Theatre, 3630 Balboa Street, Feb. 24, 5 p.m. (But it’s an Oscars show so you want to get there at 3 p.m. for red carpet razzing)

Image: Cheaper Than Therapy

Jon Allen

"I don't have any headshots since shaving my beard and losing a bunch of weight," Jon Allen says of the promotional photo above. You can catch him every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Cheaper Than Therapy, the standup comedy show he's co-produced for more than five years. Annually, over 20,000 people watch Cheaper Than Therapy live at the Shelton Theater. Allen has appeared in Wired, is a regular at SF Sketchfest, and has multiple publications as a physicist if that sort of thing is important to you.

Next Show: Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter Street, Feb. 21, 10 p.m.

Image: Eloisa Bravo

Eloisa Bravo

"My vagina is very much like Canada, really big and nothing is going on," says Venezuelan funny lady Eloisa Bravo, who was the hit of Sketchfest’s all-Latinx show ¿Donde Esta Mi Comedy?. She does not have jokes about the current political situation in Venezuela, but she has many great jokes about how people always ask her about the current political situation in Venezuela.

Next Show: Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter Street, Feb 21, 10 p.m.

Image: Mel Lindstrom

Nicole Tran

Adapting the old Gracie Allen schtick of feigning ignorance to achieve hilarious results, Nicole Tran pummels you with a barrage of one-liners that play on double-meanings in the English language and the confusions they create for people to whom it is a second tongue. (“I won a beauty contest for girls who speak bad English... I am the new 2019, Miss Pronounce.”) Nicole appears on KTSF’s “Diva Talk Tonight” and is currently in the second round of auditions for “America’s Got Talent.”

Next Show: Trek Wine, 1026 Machin Ave, Novato, Feb. 22, 8 p.m.

Image: Red Scott

Nato Green

You won’t see the Boots Riley film Sorry to Bother You at the Oscars this weekend (criminally, it was not nominated for anything). But you will see Nato Green in that film as Man in Crowd opposite W. Kamau Bell as Other Man in Crowd. "I wasn't an extra!," the labor organizer Green tells SFist. "Extras are paid an hourly rate, have no lines, and are not in the credits. Man on Street was in the credits, had lines, and was paid the SAG scale rate." Jewcy described Green’s latest record “The Whiteness Album” as “the woke Jewish comedy album you’ve been waiting for,” and he continues to co-host the monthly movie-mocking show Riffer’s Delight at the Alamo Drafthouse.

Next Show: Alamo Drafthouse, 2550 Mission Street, Feb. 25, 9:15 p.m.


Natasha Muse

You’ll also find Natasha Muse at riffing alongside Nato Green at Riffer’s Delight, as well as the Verdi Club’s monthly showcase Verdi Wild Things Are. Muse describes herself as the C-3P0 of San Francisco comedy, because “a bunch of small bears once mistook her for a golden god but in reality she’s a bumbling robot .”

Next Show: Alamo Drafthouse, 2550 Mission Street, Feb. 25, 9:15 p.m.

Image: Snap Yourself

Alexandria Love

Reverse gentrifier Alexandria Love is an 18-time winner of the Tourette’s Without Regrets Dirty Haiku Battle, and she personally kicked my ass in that competition at last November’s Muni Diaries Live. She’ll be co-hosting a panel on marketing in comedy at this year’s SXSW, but more locally you can catch her at the EXIT Cafe’s monthly Mermaid Show and every Tuesday at Amnesia Bar’s Troubled Comedy.

Next Show: EXIT Cafe, 156 Eddy Street, Feb. 23, 8:30 p.m.

Image: Ivy Vasquez

Ivy Vasquez

“Life is really hard when you want to fuck all your friends,” declares dick-joke specialist Ivy Vasquez, who's currently promoting her online album “Pizza Rolls and Champagne.” Her obviously squeaky-clean material is such a hit with Bay Area audiences that she ended the above-named Alexandria Love's reign of 18 consecutive Dirty Haiku Battle victories, and she'll be at the Shelton Theater every weekend this month.

Next Show: Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter Street, Feb 21, 10 p.m.

Karinda Dobbins. Photo by Jennifer Graham

Karinda Dobbins

We’ll begin with the fact that Karinda Dobbins has opened for Trevor Noah, mostly because it was just Trevor Noah’s birthday yesterday. But Dobbins has also opened for Dave Chappelle and Michelle Wolf, and is hailed by Bitch Magazine as one of  "Six Hilarious Female Comedians You Don't Know Yet — But Should".  

Next Show: Michael Collins Irish Bar, 1568 Haight Street, Feb. 22, 8 p.m.

Image: Kent Taylor

Lisa Geduldig

Best known for Kung Pao Kosher Comedy, the annual ‘Jewish comedy on Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant’ that has in years past boasted Henny Youngman, Shelley Berman, and David Brenner, Lisa Geduldig also produces the monthly shows Comedy Returns to El Rio and Comedy at Ashkenaz in Berkeley. “So many great stories have come out of the past 26 years,” she says of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy, “but one of the best was the year that a woman brought her service animal, Vern, that ended up being a rooster. A service rooster. I will continue to produce Kung Pao for as long as 2,000 people attend each year.”

Next Show: Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, March 14, 8 p.m.

Honorary mentions who have since moved on to other cities: Margaret Cho (Los Angeles), Ali Wong (Los Angeles), Greg Proops (Los Angeles), Kate Willett (New York), Bobby Slayton (Los Angeles).