SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Watch out San Francisco, comedians on bikes coming through!

Three friends who simply love to laugh and bike are hoping to deliver some joy back into everybody’s life through a new web series called Comedians on Bicycles.

The show combines biking, laughing, doughnuts, and much more.

The first episode Comedians on Bicycles: Getting Bobs highlights the reality of working toward creating a sustainable city. Host and comedian Sarah Katz-Hyman takes a light-hearted approach during her first interview with guest Andy Thornley of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

With Bob’s doughnuts in hand, the pair glides through the once freeway turned Panhandle park and “Car Free JFK” discussing everything from historical bicycle infrastructure to the Curb street fight.

Possibly inspired by Jerry Seinfeld’s Netflix show Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, Katz-Hyman didn’t seem too concerned with any legal issues, “I’m not too worried about it. I’ve read that he is kind of amicable to these types of shows. But if we have to cross that bridge, we have some ideas and thoughts to keep the show going.”

Seinfeld has already called out some for taking influence and making similar shows on wheels.

“We are proud that others have taken notice of our style and have been inspired by it. The only comment we would like to make is, ‘If you’re gonna knock us off, get it right,’” Seinfeld said in an interview with CNN.

Read KRON4’s full interview with the show’s host Sarah Katz-Hyman (that took place on a bike)!

What inspired the idea for Comedians on Bicycles?

My good friend Al Hawley has started biking more and more over the past several years. And what got him biking is the fact that he made an agreement with himself that if he biked, he got to reward himself with a doughnut.

During the pandemic, thinking about joy, thinking about what’s gonna make us happy right now, he saw a familiar show by a similar name and was like ‘I think this would be pretty cool on bikes, if it was car-free, and if we went to local businesses.’ We also have Kristin Tieche, a filmmaker who has actually done bike-based filming before. Al reached out, and we all started talking over chicken and beers, as you do. That’s how the show started. We decided to just go for it!

How are you so good at biking and interviewing? Any tips?

The first thing I’m most nervous about is, to be quite frank, cars. Trying to be really aware of my space. I’m really fortunate that I have a little bit of a history in bicycle education, and I feel very confident to be aware of my surroundings. We have a lot of great resources in the city, like the Bicycle Coalition – they do classes that can help people increase that confidence. That’s step one. Feeling like you have the tools if you need to make a maneuver, so whether that’s a bump in the road, or you see a car coming out of a driveway. Beyond that, I just riff… I just go!

We also have an amazing group of guests who already love the city so much, and so you’re talking about something that we all have in common. We’re doing something amongst some of the best parks, the best public spaces in the country, eating delicious food going to local businesses. It just happens that we’re doing it on a bike!

I think it’s a really fun way to kind of disarm the people you’re talking to. Biking in itself is so joyful and so fun! The wind in your hair, you’re always smiling. I don’t know, it’s very hard to be angry on a bike. It makes it quite natural to want to do all of that together.

Are you at all worried that Jerry Seinfeld and his lawyers may contact you?

I am no lawyer, but if say the person you mentioned said ‘you are doing something that is familiar to this format or takes the name of,’ we can cross that bridge when we get there. I’m not too worried about it. I’ve read that he is kind of amicable to these types of shows. But if we have to cross that bridge, we have some ideas and thoughts to keep the show going.

Talk me through the filming process… Any safety fears?

We have a great crew. Our producer, Al Holley on his bike called a longtail bike. The front looks like a normal bike, but similar to a truck, the back of the bike allows people to sit on it. Kristin sits on the back with her camera equipment facing us. So basically Kristin’s life is in Al’s hands, and I’m just chatting away eating doughnuts with whomever. We all keep an eye out and are very aware of our surroundings.

Producer Alec Hawley and filmmaker Kristin Tieche | Photo credit: Emily Huston
Kristin Tieche getting the perfect doughnut shot | Photo credit: Emily Huston

What’s next for Comedians on Bicycles?

Our hope is that we get to show all the different neighborhoods and the flavors of San Francisco, the different types of people who live here. Certainly, there are some differences in the safest bicycle infrastructure throughout the city, but I think there are also ways to show that there can be joy in bicycling in any part of the city. We plan to go to more neighborhoods and more bicycle routes, popular and not as popular, to kind of show that.

I think there are some very real and founded fear around bicycling, and I totally understand that. But I also think it’s way more approachable and close to people than they think. So that’s part of the show. It’s just two people hanging out on bikes. We’re not in any rush. It helps, I think just kind of take some of that away, this idea that there’s like this agenda. And it’s really just a fun way to get around.

So far you’ve had city officials on as guests. Who can we expect to see next?

I’d love to have a bus driver, journalists, food critics, theater critics! Let’s talk to parents or people who are doing art in the city. Let’s talk to business owners, let’s talk to kids! I think we just want to show the variety of people in San Francisco, but again we just happen to be on a bike!

Last, but certainly not least, why is biking and laughing so important?

Sarah Katz-Hyman and pup | Photo credit: Emily Huston

I’m very fortunate to have a lot of positive memories of biking, and I think it’s such a quick way to get around the city. It’s also, not to doomsday it down, but we have a little bit of a climate crisis happening. And biking is an environmentally clean mode of transportation. I can carry my stuff, sometimes my dog goes in my basket, and I look around at the sky of San Francisco. Maybe some fog rolls in, maybe you hear music on JFK, and you stare at your perfect dog, and you say, Goldberg, we’re living the dream buddy!

People know how hard this past year has been, but even before last year, I think we all struggle with different things. I think being able to weave in ways to be happy, and joyous, and see your neighbors in your everyday life can be a balm for some of that.

Make sure to check out the next episode of Comedians on Bicycles featuring Katy Birnbaum from Livable City premiering on December 9th.