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Endangered Punch Line Comedy Club Will Stay Put After All

Landing legacy status and renewing its lease

The Punchline

Longstanding San Francisco Comedy club the Punch Line can keep standing up a little longer, renewing its lease at 444 Battery Street.

The Live Nation-operated entertainment club, home to performances by luminaries like Robin Williams and Ellen Degeneres, appeared to be on it last legs this spring, unable to renew a lease with its landlord. Leading comedians like W. Kamau Bell and Dave Chapelle rallied to the Punch Line’s cause, appearing with Supervisor Aaron Peskin at City Hall in its support.

Yesterday, landlord Morgan Stanley — which owns the Maritime Plaza complex that houses the club — reached a three-way lease agreement with its main tenant, Google, and its subtenant, the Punch Line. The deal keeps the Punch Line safe inside the handsome brick bar and venue space it’s occupied since 1978, sitting above an otherwise drab, gray parking structure.

Adding to the good news, the Punch Line has received legacy status from the city, conferring added financial benefits like small business assistance grants. “The management, staff and comedians from the San Francisco Punch Line are grateful to be honored with this Legacy Business status,” senior booker Molly Schminke said in a statement. “The Punch Line has presented so many amazing comedians and entertained so many crowds over the past four decades, and now for decades to come.”

Live Nation operates sibling Punch Line establishments in Sacramento and Philadelphia, as well as San Francisco’s larger comedy club, Cobb’s.