Storm fails to dampen spirits at rain-logged Comedy Day in San Francisco – SF Chronicle Datebook

Thanks to an ill-timed September storm, the jokes weren’t the only thing to get biblical at Comedy Day in San Francisco. Celebrating its 41st edition,  the free event saw waves of torrential downpours hit Robin Williams Meadow in Golden Gate Park several times.
But, in impressive fashion, the show did indeed go on.
Comedy Day is the greatest free event in S.F. history. Don’t take it for granted
Camped out with umbrellas, rain gear and the proper libations to sustain one through a five-hour comedy show held outdoors in inclement weather, a small but determined crowd of about 100 people offered sufficient motivation for a lineup of 50 comedians who took turns delivering five-minute sets from under a tarp built at center stage.
Common topics to emerge throughout the day: BART trains and their inability to arrive on time, excruciating phone calls with PG&E and the coming apocalypse. Of the notable names to appear, one surprise was former Assembly Member and San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who cracked wise about his age and political reputation.
Ammiano, 80, also made two requests of the public to be enacted upon his death. One: that his remains be scattered across Robin Williams Meadow. Two: that he isn’t cremated.
Other highlights included Comedy Central’s “The Sarah Silver Program” alum Brian Posehn, former San Francisco 49ers on-field announcer Bob Sarlatte, material on Hiroshima from Japanese comedian Kazu Kusano, and the Instagram magic of San Francisco entertainer Robert Strong.
“When you get out of the house and go see comedy, even at local places, it’s always worth it,” said San Francisco resident Chris Dale, 38, who braved the cold and wet weather for the laughs. “Even with the rain, these guys are pros.”
Before the chuckles got under way, however, longtime producer Debi Durst kicked things off with a few brief remarks that included a dig at San Francisco’s ailing baseball franchise.
“Hopefully the hurricane stays in L.A.,” Durst said, “or over at Oracle Park since the Giants were mathematically eliminated in April.”
Durst would later return near the end of the event to play prerecorded audio of her comedian husband, Will Durst, while holding a life-size cardboard cutout of him onstage. Noting it was the first new material from Will, who suffered a stroke in 2019, the special moment was significantly marred by sound system issues.
Still, it was a treat for longtime fans to hear even half of a new Will Durst punch line.
“People are talking about getting back to normal after COVID,” went one of his jokes. “What’s normal about San Francisco?”
Unfortunately, the technical issues that botched Will Durst’s prerecorded set persisted for Comedy Day veteran Paula Poundstone, who was left trying to yell most of her material over the drizzle with the event’s strict 5 p.m. cutoff only moments away.
But Poundstone still managed to have the last laugh, mustering one of her famous one-liners to aptly summarize the scene.
“It’s pouring rain, and the microphones are cutting out,” Poundstone quipped before calling the day a wrap. “The frogs will be here any minute.”
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