Listen to an NPR Interview with Bob about the 80’s SF comedy scene

Bob Ayres is the CEO and Founder of Comedic Ventures, an Event Production and Consultancy Company in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bob is also a speaker coach and the current Licensee and Curator of TEDxMarin.

Bob is best known as the founder of the former San Francisco comedy club The Other Café and for his involvement with the TED conference, “The Next Twenty Years series,” and Comedic Ventures. Bob has been the Licensee/Executive Producer of TEDxMarin, for the past 13 years, making it one of the longest-running TEDx’s in the country. TEDxMarin talks have enjoyed a widespread audience, with online views now topping 75 million.

Bob began in the entertainment/event business in 1977. He founded, owned, and operated the renowned San Francisco comedy club THE OTHER CAFE, which helped start the careers of comedians Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Ellen DeGeneres, Paula Poundstone, Bob Goldthwait, Rob Schneider, Bobby Slayton, and many others.

In 1981, as personal manager for Dana Carvey, he helped land and negotiate a development contract for Dana with NBC, the springboard for his role on “Saturday Night Live.”

In 1983-84, Ayres executive-produced eight episodes of a critically acclaimed cable TV series, “The Other Cafe’s Comedy Showcase,” starring Dana Carvey, Kevin Nealon, Ellen DeGeneres, Carol Leifer, Kevin Pollak, and others, which won gold, silver, and bronze medals at the International Film and Television Festival of New York.

In 1987, Ayres executive-produced a television pilot called “Two Guys with Amusing Shorts,” introducing short films by various comedians and directors, including Oscar winner Bill Couturie.

From 1993-1997, Ayres launched “Last Saturdays,” an innovative technology-industry salon that initially gathered at his home in SF on the Last Saturday of every month. This salon led to the birth of the Next 20 Years lecture series (TNTY).

In May 1996, Ayres launched the “Next 20 Years” lecture series in San Francisco. Over the next five years, the traveling lecture and technology showcase series traveled to 10 US cities and London, featuring more than 450 companies.

In 2008, in conjunction with The Next 20 Years project, Bob sat on the prestigious board of advisors for the TED Conference and served for two years as its inaugural Executive Director of the TED PRIZE, whose winners include, among others, Bono and Bill Clinton.

In 2009 Bob launched Comedic Ventures, home for the Other Cafe Comedy Showcase, a series of one-night-only comedy events featuring some of the top comedians in the country. This included in 2011, The 30th reunion of The Other Cafe, a benefit for KQED Public Media, which starred Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Bobcat Goldthwait, Paula Poundstone, Kevin Pollak, + many others.


Throughout his professional career, Ayres has continued to produce industry and comedy events,  often as benefit fundraisers for worthy charitable organizations. Bob continues to coach speakers for TEDTalks and consult on event marketing and fundraising for nonprofits and startups.

Bob now resides tucked among the trees and hillside in the infamous west Marin town of Fairfax, California, with his trusted dog Koufax, where they secretly plot the next event.

More importantly, Bob leans, bats, and throws left.