When news broke a few months ago that Punch Line, the venerable laugh house, was facing eviction, none other than Google was implicated as a possible reason why. Unfortunately for them, the community has been down this road a few too many times, where big tech’s come in and swept out beloved businesses. A noticeable reaction was building; setting up what could have been an ugly fight.
Supervisors, led by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, local comedians and stars, including Dave Chappelle & W. Kamau Bell, and a shocked community rallied in solidarity with Punch Line. On the steps of City Hall, in front of a large crowd, speaker after speaker called for action to protect Punch Line. And they called out Google to do the right thing. So, to everyone’s surprise and to their credit, the company announced that Punch Line wouldn’t be evicted because of them. Civic engagement and good will had led to an accomodation.
What’s it mean for Punch Line?
More comedy in San Francisco because the comedy club will stay open. “We’re excited that the Punch Line will remain our neighbor and a vibrant part of the Bay Area community for years to come,” said an unnamed Google spokesperson via email. Additionally, Punch Line gains Legacy Business status although it’s hard to say what that status would afford the business should a similar situation arise in the future.
“The city and the comic community were serious when we said that displacement wasn’t a laughing matter,” said Peskin. “I want to acknowledge the staff at the Punch Line and Google for negotiating in good faith and remind the community that organizing gets the goods. Long live the Punch Line!”
Hear, hear. Long live comedy at the classic, ivy and brick Punch Line in San Francisco.
Punch Line San Francisco
at 444 Battery Street, in San Francisco, (415) 397-7573