Dave Chappelle, W. Kamau Bell and Other Comedians Rally To Save Punch Line Comedy Club

By Carrie Hodousek, KCBS Radio

May 22, 2019
Comedians Dave Chappelle and others rally to save Punch Line Comedy Club in front of San Francisco's City Hall. (Photo credit: Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio)

(Photo credit: Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) — Comedians are getting serious about saving a legendary San Francisco comedy club.

Dave Chappelle, W. Kamau Bell and other comics rallied on the steps of San Francisco City Hall Tuesday in support of new legislation to protect the Punch Line Comedy Club from eviction.

“It’s one of the most important rooms in the country,” said Chappelle, who's performing there this week. 

Bell added, “The Punch Line is a place where, as a comic in the city, you were like ‘if I make it there, I can make it in my career.’”

The 47-year-old club, which has hosted stars like Robin Williams, Dana Carvey and Amy Schumer, is being forced to close its doors in August after being unable to renew its lease.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin announced an interim moratorium which would prevent the conversion of the Battery Street venue from an entertainment use to any other use. Peskin said that Google is eying the property. 

“Displacement is not a laughing manner,” Peskin said. “I want to say to Google: Please Do No Evil. We would like to solve this with honey rather than vinegar.” 

Chappelle and other comics came out strongly against the displacement of the beloved comedy club saying it has a special place in his heart.

“That was the last place I saw Robin Williams alive. It was the place I was at when I found out I was having may first kid," said Chappelle "Every important milestone in my life went through this city and through that club."

The legislation will be heard June 3 at the city’s Land Use & Transportation Committee meeting. The Board of Supervisors will vote on it June 4.