"I feel that Don Gavin is a true stand-up American classic," Ayres says - and considering who he's seen through to stardom, we tend to believe him.The Other was a tiny club but its reach was massive. The former coffeehouse on the corner of Carl and Cole was an incubator for names including Dana Carvey, Bobcat Goldthwait, and Rob Schneider, as well as enduring local stars such as Marga Gomez. Comedic giant Robin Williams was known to drop in for unannounced sets. (We've always pitied the local comics who came after one of those surprises.) Ask anyone in the business today and they'll tell you the Other was a leader in San Francisco's second "golden age" of comedy (the first giving rise to the likes of the Smothers Brothers and Lenny Bruce in the early 1960s). Ayres says last year's reunion was so well-received by the public and the 20-someodd comics who performed that he was moved to return to promoting stand-up. "I felt I had to produce more comedy," Ayres said, "so I'm doing it as a side thing for comics I really respect at occasional theater-style presentations in the tradition of our infamous Haight-Ashbury comedy club."
That club, by the way, had big plate-glass windows that were often left uncovered during performances. According to the official history on Ayres website, Paula Poundstone got a guy on a motorcycle to ride it into the club while she was onstage.
Don Gavin, Will Durst, and Johnny Steele start at 8 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. Admission is $20-$35. Ayres site mentions "possible drop-in guests." We won't say who they might be (because, frankly, we don't know) but we've told you about the man's history.
For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section.