The Silicon Valley, land of outlandish gadgetries and wobbly startup launches, is both tech-hub pressure cooker and a mine for comedy gold.
Now in its fourth year, Comedy Vs. Nerds—the stand-up show aimed at roasting the Valley—brings its twisted celebration of all things meme-able to the mother of San Francisco comedy clubs: the Punchline.
The talent includes engineers (Michael Makarov) and cultural commentators (Clara Bijl) for a two-hour lineup of funny storytelling on April 14th that will force any straight-laced Bitcoiner to sport a grin. We spoke to the show's co-producers, Makarov and Sarah Cooper (the 7x7 Hot 20 honoree who keeps cracking us up with her SF vs. NYC comics), to see what this hubbub is all about.
7x7: Give us a teaser.
Sarah Cooper: "Attendees can expect to laugh their asses off! We'll have seven awesome Bay Area comedians performing their best tech and San Francisco material. It's always fun to laugh about stuff that's unique to what it's like to live in this city."
Michael Makarov: "People need to release the tension of everyday life. Like, look how popular Silicon Valley nerd shows have become. People need those jokes. All [our] previous were completely sold out, and later people were still texting me if there's room."
7x7: What were your inspirations for this particular show? We're obviously big fans of your SF vs. NYC comics—will you riff on that?
SC: "I definitely featured some jokes from my book 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. I love making fun of the everyday experiences we have in the office since I was in that world for so long. A lot of this is observational humor and being able to make jokes people can identify with because they've been there too."
7x7: You did a phenomenal, gut-busting set the back in 2014 at the first Comedy Vs. Nerds show. What do you have up your sleeve for this year?
MM: "Thanks to a very interesting 2017—that armed our comedians with even edgier jokes."
7x7: What makes this year's lineup of comedians different from years past?
SC: "We have some newcomers who are seriously heavy hitters in the comedy world (if that's even a thing?). Torio Van Grol was voted one of the best comedians in the Bay Area by SFist. Clara Bijl is a regular on the Punchline stage. And Samson Koletkar has performed all over the world."
7x7: You're at the Punchline for the first time, so that's cool.
MM: "Punchline SF is a legendary venue. If the show is at the Punchline, you know it is going to be good...It's like if you want buy good coffee in San Francisco, you know it's going to be overpriced. But it's worth it."
7x7: Can you share any highlights from this new show?
MM: "I have a new joke about how diverse San Francisco is. You can meet a genius techie or a completely stoned homeless person, and sometimes you can't tell who it is you're seeing. Also I can talk about strict industry standards—I'm forced not to shave and not to wash my T-shirt because, if I do, no one will take me seriously as a backend engineer."
7x7: What's making you laugh these days?
SC: "Chrissy Teigen's Twitter profile is consistently hilarious. Obama's interview with Letterman was funny in so many ways. And the internal fighting at my condo HOA provides endless entertainment."
MM: "Tech industry and politics always provide good premises. Just look at the privacy debacle at Facebook, then how contradictory it is that people are keen on tweeting about #deletingFacebook and Facebooking why you have to stop using Twitter. Then, how Twitter employees are so liberal but secretly admire that Mr. President uses their platform for firing his team members."
7x7: What else are you guys working on?
SC: "My next humor book, How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men's Feelings, comes out in October."
MM: "I enjoy shooting funny videos. The most "viral" video that I produced got 40,000 views—it is about the best places to go to in Tokyo. And I recently uploaded the guide to Silicon Valley that I urge you to check out."