If you are reading this you might consider yourself lucky for two reasons:
1. You have actually survived the last 25 years, and
2. You were a part of and privy to something very unique and special. . . The Other Café.
Examining that time and place you can’t help but to weigh the repercussions and realize just what it meant to have been there.
The world was a different place, Reagan was in the White House, and Gas was
.25 per gallon. The internet didn’t exist and no one owned a cell phone. Cocaine wasn’t addictive, and Aids only affected gay people. Our music was on vinyl, and we were going to live forever.
We were young- full of ourselves- and San Francisco was full of artists, musicians, actors, and yes comedians, because they could still afford to live here.
It was a flashpoint; like Paris in the 20’s, or Berlin in the 30’s, and we will be able to tell stories to our grandchildren that to them will sound like someone telling you about knowing, say, the Marx Brothers or W.C Fields.
Think about that.
We knew so many people who went on to become stars of television, film and stage, etc. We’ll see somebody in a commercial or a name that rings a bell in the closing credits of some show.
Let’s face it; we can’t even turn on the television without seeing someone we knew two and a half decades ago.
There was no way of knowing then just how groundbreaking it was but we did know something interesting was afoot and the feeling was electrifying.
We just happened to be there in the exact time and place to witness so many of them get their start.
People like Paula Poundstone, Dana Carvey, Kevin Pollak, Rob Schneider, Richard Lewis, Greg Proops, Tom “Spongebob” Kenny, Bob Goldthwaite, Ellen Degeneres, Margaret Cho, Whoopi Goldberg, Nora Dunn, to name a few. Andy Kaufman would come in. Seinfeld played our little club as did Leno. Not to mention a guy named Robin who kept hogging the stage. We even saw Bobby Slayton, of all people Timothy Leary It doesn’t get any stranger than that.
Some of our regular Patrons became stars as well Danny Glover, Kathy Baker, Chris Isaac, The dead Kennedy’s, Rickie Lee Jones and others.
It became apparent later that we had been smack-dab in the middle of STARMAGEDDON.
I personally have so many great stories of that time that it really is just an embarrassment of riches.
So, hats off to Bob, Chip and Richard for serving as midwives to an era in creating the last of the great non-corporate comedy clubs.
I feel grateful for having been allowed to be a part of it.
My favorites? Well. . . Paula of course, Jeremy Kramer, Kevin Meaney and my very favorite; Jane Dornacker who said, “Why have a personality when you can be one.”