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First Black-owned full-time comedy club in the Bay Area is set to open this spring

A man with dreadlocks, glasses, and a "Thrasher" hoodie holds a mic, pointing and singing with expression.
Stroy Moyd is opening a new comedy club, The Function, in May. | Source: Courtesy Stroy Moyd

For longtime Bay Area comic Stroy Moyd, local audiences have an issue: They’re too serious

“There’s a big problem in the Bay Area with comedy,” Moyd said. “It’s politically correct culture.” It’s so bad, he said, that comics nationwide have a name for it: “The San Francisco awwww.”  

It’s something that Moyd, founder of the stand-up comedy production company #HellaFunny, aims to change when he opens his new comedy club, The Function, in the (also challenging) Mid-Market neighborhood in May. 

“We're comedians; we’re artists,” he said. “We’ve got to say whatever the hell we want to say.” 

Performing as an opener to Dave Chappelle, Moyd learned to appreciate fully how different the controversy-stoking standup’s audience was. “It’s not a woke crowd,” he said. 

When it opens, The Function will be the only Black-owned comedy club in the Bay Area. It all feels right to Moyd, who recently learned that his grandfather was the original owner of Oakland’s famed Continental Club. “It’s in my blood to run a venue,” he said. 

Raised in Oakland, Moyd started doing comedy around 2007 and started his own company in 2012 after frequently being shut out of other shows in what he called a cliquey scene.

He ended up having the last laugh—his #HellaFunny took off and has become the biggest comedy collective in the Bay Area, with a wide range of 20 comedians who have appeared everywhere from Comedy Central to Netflix, NBC to MTV. Moyd’s company is the only one in the Bay Area putting on comedy shows seven nights a week. 

“Stroy Moyd is the king of Bay Area comedy and beyond,” said comedian Stephanie Block, who has appeared in a few of Moyd’s shows. “He creates opportunities for so many comics.” 

Moyd scoured the San Francisco real estate market looking for spaces for his club, from North Beach to the Richmond—so many locations he’d lost hope of ever finding anything. But then he saw 1414 Market St., the former location of the dive bar the Hot Spot. It was the only place that didn’t require putting down property as collateral. Plus, it had a liquor license and low ceilings, which Moyd said are perfect for the acoustics of stand-up.

“I almost gave up,” he said. “This was the last spot.” 

Moyd’s club will be called The Function, in a nod to Bay Area slang for a party. Just like his production company #HellaFunny, Moyd wanted to pick up on lingo people were already using—and when people say they’re going to the function, it means they’re going someplace “that’s gonna be cracking,” he said. 

Moyd plans to host two comedy shows a night at The Function, with rotating monthly drink themes that feature new beer and cocktail offerings every month. As for the club’s interior, the longtime comedian is going for a cozy, warm vibe. 

“Almost like you’re in a cabin,” he said.  

Moyd sees his biggest challenge as packing the club to capacity, especially in the Mid-Market, where long-standing, beloved restaurants continue to close left and right amid a lack of foot traffic. Yet, the city aims to rejuvenate the area specifically by amplifying the arts, and Moyd’s club could be a piece of that renaissance.  

He’ll be falling back on his longtime experience producing comedy shows across the city—including at the legendary Purple Onion in North Beach, back when it was still a club. 

A sunny sidewalk lined with trees beside a building, with a figure walking, and a speed limit sign showing 20 mph.
Stand-up comedian Stroy Moyd will open the Bay Area’s only Black-owned full-time comedy club on this stretch of Market Street later this year. | Source: Camille Cohen/The Standard

The comedian may also have the world on his side. 

There’s an old saying in the comedy scene, he said. “The worse the world is, the better it is for comedy.” 

So Moyd’s up for the challenge of packing The Function 120-deep two times a night, seven times a week—and to create something unprecedented in the city. 

“Having a nightclub in SF probably won’t be easy,” he said. “But I’m up for the challenge.” 

Correction: A caption in this story was updated with the proper spelling of Bay Area comedian Stroy Moyd's name.

Julie Zigoris can be reached at