Get Your Laugh On at the Orinda Theatre with 30 Stand-up Comedians

(Courtesy of Orion Levine)
Comic Orion Levine hosts the 47th Annual San Francisco Stand-up Comedy Competition on Friday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. at the Orinda Theatre, where 15 comics will perform their best five-minute set, all vying for the $20,000 prize.

    No plans for the Labor Day Weekend? Good. Consider building up some healthy endorphins at the 47th Annual San Francisco Stand-Up Comedy Competition, where 30 comics take the stage at the Orinda Theatre and give their best five.
    “Best five” is a tight, five-minute set.
    Produced by Jon Fox, the first show, featuring 15 comedians, is Sunday, Sept. 3 at 2 p.m., hosted Dauood Naimyar. Come back Friday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m., for a different line-up of 15 comics, hosted by Orion Levine. Tickets cost $25 for general admission and $40 for VIP seating and can be purchased at
    Naimyar, with an impressive 150,000+ TikTok followers, showcases his circumstances as an Afghan living in America, with multiple viral hits poking fun at politicians and world leaders. According to Naimyar, when his debut comedy album, Pier 69: Junior Varsity, released in 2019, it topped all charts.
    Equally talented is Bay Area comic Levine, currently living in L.A. He was a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden, a finalist at the San Francisco International Comedy Competition in 2021, named a New Face at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in 2022 and appeared at the New York Comedy Festival. He now performs all over the country.
    Fox said the audience can expect total commitment from the contestants to entertain, not just for the love of their craft, but because big prize money is the dangling carrot.
    “Normally in clubs, one might hear a comedian saying something like, ‘I do that for myself,’ when a routine falls flat. And it’s true; they do bits just for themselves. I think it’s kind of a preservation act of sorts, to show they’re calling the shots onstage. Which of course they do, but when there’s $20,000 on the table, time is limited and they’re being compared to contemporaries, you better believe our contestants are totally focused on making the audience laugh.”
    Fox, a resident of San Rafael, considers himself a Bay Area resident who grew up in San Jose, studied journalism at California State University, Hayward, and worked at The Tribune and The Argus in Fremont.
    “I was eventually drawn to San Francisco in the hopes of someday being mentioned in a Herb Caen column,” said Fox, who, surprisingly, does not do stand-up comedy, but knows talent when he sees it.
    There’s a reason he loves producing these shows – for the last 47 years.
    “For me, it’s like drinking from the Fountain of Youth. It’s so invigorating to be around young, talented, optimistic performers,” he said. “Reality will once again rear its ugly head, but during the Comedy Competition, the sky’s the limit.”

Charleen Earley can be reached at

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