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Legendary San Francisco comedy club to close

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Punch Line reaches the end of the line

The green awning of the Punch Line comedy club. Photo by Blackguard SF

Nothing is sacred these days.

The latest casualty in 2019’s war on longtime San Francisco institutions is the Punch Line Comedy Club, which opened at its Battery Street locale in 1978.

The club posted an announcement to its site Wednesday telling fans that the charge had finally gone out of the Battery venue and that the club was “unable to renew its lease with the current property owners.”

Molly Schminke, a booker for the club, said in a public statement that Punch Line will look for a new SF venue:

We’re currently in search of a new home to preserve our decades-long tradition of entertaining comedy fans in San Francisco and the Bay Area. It’s a sad moment for us, but we’re excited at the future’s potential. While we search for our new home, the club will continue to support local comedy, bring in the hottest up-and-coming comedians and book some of the biggest national headliners.

Originally opened by promoter Bill Graham, Punch Line is San Francisco’s oldest still-operating comedy club. In the past, names like Dave Chapelle, Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, and the late Robin Williams performed sets at the comedic institution.

At present, the club advertises acts through July 2.

According to the Planning Department, the building at 444 Battery Street that has served as the club’s longtime home dates to 1967. The building’s current owners purchased it in 2007.

Nearby Cobb’s Comedy Club, also owned by Live Nation, will remain open for the time being.

Longtime favorites and historic SF establishments seem to be constantly falling by the wayside in 2019, although not always for reasons related to the price of renting in the city; Beach Blanket Babylon will hold its last show December 31; Lucca Ravioli cashed out its dough in April; Aardvark Books shuts its covers in January.

The Elbo Room, constantly in danger of closure, will finally check out later this year, but Eater SF reports that it will almost immediately return under a new name.