The Punch Line is San Francisco’s longest running comedy club.The original Punch Line Comedy Club opened on the site of the Old Waldorf, a rock venue managed by Bill Graham Presents, who had been promoting rock shows there since the mid-seventies. When Bill Graham opened Wolfgang’s in 1983 (at 915 Columbus Ave., the current home of Cobb’s Comedy Club), the majority of the space used by the Old Waldorf was split off and the remainder was renamed the Punch Line and dedicated to presenting live comedy. It was so successful that in August 1986 a second Punch Line was opened in Walnut Creek (but closed in 1995.) The third Punch Line opened on New Year’s Eve 1991 and is still presenting shows 7 days a week in Sacramento, California.
All three clubs were owned and operated by Bill Graham Presents up until the death of Bill Graham in 1991. The company was taken over by a group of employees who later sold it to SFX Promotions. It was then sold to Clear Channel Entertainment. Eventually, Bill Graham Presents along with other independent promoters formed Live Nation, which is now the largest concert production & promotion company in the world.