Just about every comedy scene in America centers around a particular comedy club in that vicinity. When comics start, that club and stage are their primary focus: “I want to get on that stage.”
There’s also a crew of “regulars” who often are the ones who hang out there, work the club the most and clearly know each other and the staff and have the most FUN being there.
In the Bay Area, that club is the Punch Line. And when I moved to San Francisco, I could see all of that stuff and definitely wanted to be one of that collection of people. Sunday nights are the local showcase, and this has always been a big deal.
The way it works sounds insane to non-comics, but for us it makes total sense: you show up and start hanging out. After months and months (sometimes maybe 9-12 months!) you’ll get a chance to perform. About 12 comics perform every Sunday, and nobody knows who is going up until it happens. If you do well, you’ll go up again relatively soon. If you don’t…probably not very soon. Do well for a while and you might get a chance to work the club after an audition. And then you can be one of the crew.
Most people give up or have their dreams crushed or just realize it’s not for them and stop somewhere in that process, so when somebody makes it through there’s a certain kinship we all feel, because all of this is pretty dumb and yet we all feel like we HAVE to do it. And because the Punch Line is such a great club with an amazing team we all love hanging out there by the time we get to that point.
Last night was the final Sunday Showcase for one of the current crop. Josef Anolin is moving to New York to keep forging ahead. All of us in the Bay think about making the jump, but he’s doing it. We wish him all the best, and last night we all hung out and almost everybody went long in honor to Anolin’s constant light-running ass.
Doing comedy is stupid and a terrible idea, and I find I love just about everybody who does it. Best of luck to Josef, who also stole my Mr. Show DVDs. I’ll come get them from you in NYC.