The Punch Line comedy club in downtown San Francisco has announced that it lost its lease.

Michael McLaughlin/KCBS Radio

Legendary Comedy Club Loses Lease In Downtown San Francisco

Comics Worry About Stand-Up In SF

Holly Quan
May 09, 2019 - 6:49 am

SAN FRANCISCO — After helping launch the careers of top entertainers like Robin Williams, Ellen DeGeneres and Dana Carvey, San Francisco's legendary Punch Line comedy club is losing its lease and being forced to move. 

Performers who've taken the stage at the downtown stand-up venue worry about the viability of small intimate nightclubs that are vital to honing their craft.

The Punch Line, which opened on Battery Street in 1978, quickly became one of the top rooms in the city for comics from all over the country to make a name for themselves. 

"Even if you were just doing open mics on Sundays it was still the validation of working the Punch Line," said political satirist Will Durst, who first played there in 1979. "People looked at you different."

While the club hopes to find a new home, performers wonder if it will be the same. 

"With the loss of atmosphere and a loss of home, people kind of wander off and forget," said comedian Scott Capurro. "There are very few people who remember how fantastic the Walnut Creek Punch Line was."

Capurro said when that club closed there were similar promises of relocating, but "it never occurred."

The club's lease expires in August.