Knees and laughs. Strong cocktails and beer in plastic cups. A single spotlight, highlighting an individual in a funky button-up looking behind the mic.
These are the things you expect at a stand-up comedy night – not in the trendy Aviator Nation sweatpants store. So why is Dope Show Comedy launching a stand-up series on the brand’s site in Hayes Valley later this month?
The casual wear company was founded in 2007 and soon became a celebrity favorite. Their original store was in Venice Beach, and as a kid growing up in private schools in Los Angeles, I knew sweatshirts were a “status symbol” of my teenage years. In fact, when I finally ordered my first pair earlier this year (working from home makes spending over $ 100 in comfort reasonable), I, much to my roommates’ confusion, shouted the name of my best friend from college – the quintessential “il girl”, which could be found regularly in Aviator Nation. She is now, as should have been predicted, an Instagram model practicing yoga, poetry writing and the tropics . Receiving them in the mail, the 12 year old in me finally felt like one of the cool kids. Maybe the comedy show planners were hoping to soak up a part. of their genius?
To answer that question, I called Murahd Shawki, comedian and executive producer of Dope Show Comedy. He had a much more practical explanation. “We were looking to put on a show in Hayes Valley and we were just touring the neighborhood,” he says. “We saw Aviator Nation, and how they have this decorative scene with a piano and drums, a nice backdrop, vinyl records and neon signs. We put on a lot of shows and immediately recognized that they had the perfect layout.
Dope Show Comedy’s first performance will be on July 31 at 8 p.m., their second on August 28, and as long as everything goes according to plan, potentially continues every last Saturday of the month. Entitled “Double Rainbow”, the actors will perform on a stage inside the store surrounded by the loungewear brand’s colorful clothes. The comics will joke indoors in front of a crowd of 30 to 40 people, creating an intimate setting, says Shawki. The lineup includes six local comics: Ryan Goodcase, winner of the 2019 World Series of Comedy, Emily Van Dyke, favorite of the San Francisco Punch Line, Ryan Sudhakaran of the Desi Comedy Festival, Marcus Williams and Sureni Weerasekera of the SF Sketch Fest, and Shawki himself.
Shawki normally holds his shows at comedy clubs across town. On Wednesdays they are at the San Francisco Athletic Club, on Fridays they are at Emperor Norton’s Boozeland, and every other Saturday they are at Mister Bing. During the pandemic, they were one of the only sources of COVID-safe comedy, hosting outdoor shows at sites in Oakland, Nido’s Backyard, and Oeste Bar. On several occasions, he says he has introduced new customers to these locations and believes Aviator Nation will reap the benefits as well. “Every time I do a show at Boozeland I get a comment from an audience member who says, ‘Wow, that’s a good bar’, so I know I just made a new fan of the venue. “he said. “We attract a pretty valuable demographic: the people who come to our shows are between 25 and 35 years old. ”
The show’s biggest draw, however, has nothing to do with the location – more of the bang for your buck. While comedy fans can buy tickets to see any of the comedians he brings on stage, at Dope Show, they can see multiple trending comics on the same night. “What you’ll see on our show are six comics, which are booming, all making the tightest 10 to 15 minute series,” says Shawki.
It also helps that there is a bar next door – Noir Lounge. There, guests can grab a bite to eat, order drinks, and find a nice bathroom to miss half of the queuing show. Ahh, the pleasures of comedy …
The partnership between Aviator Nation and Dope Show Comedy may, at first glance, seem like an odd collaboration. But at second glance, it is not an act of sacrilege. Rather, it’s a reimagining of the comedy club scene and an example of the kind of flexibility that Shawki’s cast was able to survive the pandemic. If all goes well, maybe the new arrangement will take Dope Show Comedy to new heights.
Aviator Nation declined to comment.