More than four dozen comedians spent a sun-drenched Sunday filling Golden Gate Park's Robin Williams Meadow with heart, happiness and a lot of humor at the 42nd annual Comedy Day.
The event saw multiple local and regional comics take to the stage, squinting against the sunlight and good-naturedly poking fun at dating, marriage, parenting, pets, jobs and more.
"You know, I've gotta say it's an honor to perform in the most ideal conditions for stand-up comedy," Sacramento comic Johnny Taylor Jr. joked. "Outside, in broad daylight, with kids around. Nothing quite like it."
In between self-deprecation and mockery of fellow comics, many onstage took time to crack jokes about life in San Francisco and the larger Bay Area.
"I can't wait to walk around and check out the food trucks. I mean ceviche is a bold move for the sun," comedian Karen Braswell said, gesturing at a truck at the crowd's edge. "I'm just gonna hope that there's a San Francisco microclimate going on over there and the fish is nice and cold."
Connor Lonsdale, who runs a twice-monthly show at Oakland's Portal restaurant, joked about life in the East Bay.
"I love Oakland because you see stuff there you don't really see anywhere else," Lonsdale said. "The other day I saw a city bus run a red light. It wasn't like he just missed the yellow, or there was like a terrorist making him keep it above 50 miles an hour.
"He stopped at the light, and he was just, like, 'Screw this, I'm going.' I ran it too. I followed him," Lonsdale joked. "He did not stop at a single stop sign or bus stop. He did stop at a liquor store."
Terrell "Big-T" Butler, host of the show's "Hella Funny" set, joked that there were "more white people here than I had anticipated. You know, I know we're in San Francisco, and I know we are in Golden Gate Park and everything. You anticipate white people, but then it's like, 'Whoa, you in there! I'm nervous; I haven't been around this many white people since I saw the movie Get Out.'"
Butler followed up with, "Y'all look like allies, but you know, so did they! I got my cousin sitting in the car just in case, you know, something goes wrong."
Comedy Day executive producer Debi Durst brought up San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who thanked Durst for putting together the comic lineup and shouted out special guests—TV show Barney Miller actor Max Gail and "The Pine-Sol Lady" spokesperson, comedian and actress Diane Amos.
"It is hard to be up here and to make people laugh, so even if it's not funny, just put a little bit of a smile on your face and show these comedians some love and some excitement," Breed said. "This stage has been the host to people like Robin Williams and Ellen DeGeneres and Whoopi Goldberg. People will start here, but then they blow up and become famous because they started in Golden Gate Park at Robin Williams Meadow in San Francisco."
Leiroy Abueg, who hosted the show's "The Comedy Party" set, was one of several comics who noticed Breed's presence. "The mayor is here! Y'all heard the mayor; it's an executive order," Abueg said. "You're supposed to laugh at everything I say. Otherwise, we're shipping you off to Santa Clara."
While thanking the event's house band Theee Stupeds, and just before teasing them about their name, former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra said he'd asked them to play a song—but not his band's own "California Uber Alles."
"People kind of know that one, but I'll do it a cappella," Biafra said, before launching into a chant castigating the mayor: "London Breed is falling down, falling down, falling down. London Breed is falling down, in-com-pe-tent!"
Out in the audience, San Francisco resident Cyndi Bakir was enjoying herself with a beverage and a wide hat.
"I'm glad it is still continuing," Bakir said of the long-running event. "San Francisco's not dead yet, no matter what they say ... This is why I live here. This is exactly the reason that I'm not going anywhere."
George Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org