Robin Williams closed the Other Cafe's 30th Anniversary show last Saturday night (September 25, 2010) before a sold-out audience at the Palace of Fine Arts, and maybe for the first time in his illustrious career, Robin had the crowd thinking: "Ten minutes, Robin, no more. Maybe seven." Of course, there is not one anti-Robin feeling anywhere between here and Alfa Centauri. But the crowd of more than 1,000 just couldn't take one more laugh, not one more chuckle, after a cavalcade of comics pushed a scheduled four-hour show past the five-hour mark. Or could they?
"Ken Burns has been filming this for the last six hours," Robin shouted. "Three babies have been born back stage."
In perhaps the most extraordinary comedy event in Bay Area history, more than 30 mostly-big-name alumni of the legendary Haight-Ashbury comedy club delivered line after line after line until almost 1am. It was a remarkable salute to the Other Cafe, an ordinary Haight Ashbury establishment that prospered from 1980 to 1989 during the golden era of Bay Area comedy. The Other -- along with the Punchline, Cobb's and the Holy City Zoo -- was one of four full-time comedy clubs operating in San Francisco alone.
Forget the local big league names such as Bob Sarlatte, Johnny Steele, A. Whitney Brown, Sue Murphy, Tom Kenny, Will Durst, Barry Sobel, Mark McCollum, Michael Meehan, and Michael Pritchard. The evening boasted an astounding six other comedians listed by Comedy Central as among the "100 greatest" stand up comics of all time. Besides Williams, the comedy monoliths included Bob Goldthwait, Kevin Pollak, Bobby Slayton, Paula Poundstone and Dana Carvey.