Odds are if you’ve laughed in the last four years, Michelle Wolf may have been responsible. The 32-year-old comic has been everywhere, including a gig as a staff writer for Late Night with Seth Meyers and a correspondent role on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. She was helping Chris Rock behind the scenes when he hosted the Oscars in 2016, and last December, her hour-long special Nice Lady premiered on HBO.
Of course, a comedy pedigree is only worth so much without the goods to back it up, but Wolf has plenty to spare. Offering a clear-eyed, incisive take on modern feminism, Wolf’s comedy punches up while remaining fully relatable. It’s likely why Rock and other stand-up heavyweights have invited Wolf to open on tour for them. Before news of his sexual misconduct torpedoed his career, Louis C.K. made a point of singing Wolf’s praises in a 2016 feature with New York magazine.
Now there is no need for Wolf to rely on anyone but herself. Following a job with Bear Stearns, she took classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and honed her material through sets at New York’s Comedy Cellar. After a run of Nice Lady shows (then titled So Brave) at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Wolf taped the hour-long special widely (and rightfully) considered to be among 2016’s best.
Wolf’s material pivots between ruminations on the 2016 election (where she prods the mindset of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton) and self-deprecating anecdotes. Like many other comics, she maintains an active Twitter presence, riffing on politics and offering random observations like “I was feeling fat and then I watched a video of a komodo dragon eating an entire kangaroo and now I still feel fat.”
It’s clear from the success enjoyed by fellow comics like Ali Wong that audiences are ravenous for comedians that do not in any way resemble C.K. and his peers. There may still be dick jokes — there are always dick jokes — but now the desire has come to hear them from the other side. Of course, Wolf has plenty to say about topics unrelated to gender, but her material on the subject is woefully timely and deadly funny.
It won’t be long before Wolf plays the kind of venue where you might need a pair of binoculars to catch her facial expressions. But while the rest of the world catches on, San Francisco has been given a rare chance to see her Not Nice Tour at the intimate Cobb’s on Feb. 9. It stands to reason this opportunity won’t come again, so take this chance to see Wolf now. It won’t be long before the next big thing is a comic Wolf herself name-checks in a magazine feature.
Michelle Wolf, Friday, Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m, Cobb’s Comedy Club. $25-$27; cobbscomedy.com.
Five Other Comic Performances We’re Excited About
Soundtracks Live with Fred Armisen, Michael Showalter, and more
Saturday, Jan. 27 at 4 p.m. at Marines Memorial Theatre. $50; sfsketchfest.com.
On San Francisco Sketchfest’s closing weekend, don’t miss this incredible ode to an as-yet-unannounced cherished film from the 1980s where scenes and songs are performed live (plus it’s a benefit for 826 Valencia).
Morzouksnick with Nick Kroll, Jason Mantzoukas, and Seth Morris
Sunday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Nourse. $30; sfsketchfest.com.
Here’s a recipe for success: Take three friends who all happen to be hysterically funny and give them an hour to chat with the audience and then do improv based on those conversations.
Bitch Club with Natasha Muse, Irene Tu, and more
Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. at the Punchline. $17; punchlinecomedyclub.com.
If you haven’t seen the Punchline’s new recurring show where the Bay Area’s best female comics get together and bring the house down, here’s your chance.
“Drag Becomes Her” with Peaches Christ, Jinkx Monsoon, and BenDeLaCreme
Saturday, Mar. 10 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Castro Theatre. $30-$140; peacheschrist.com
The latest production from Peaches Christ finds RuPaul’s Drag Race fan favorites Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme taking on the lead roles in an homage to the 1992 cult classic Death Becomes Her.
Thursday, Mar. 15 and Friday, Mar. 16 at 8 p.m., Friday, Mar. 16 at 10:15 p.m., Saturday, Mar. 17 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., at Cobb’s Comedy Club. $25; cobbscomedyclub.com.
If jokes about Dungeons and Dragons and complaints about being the tallest man in comedy sound good, you can’t do better than The Sarah Silverman Program’s Posehn.