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Storied: San Francisco

Jun 29, 2021

Pam Benjamin has lived in California her entire life.

In this podcast, the Mutiny Radio DJ and comedian shares the story of her life. She was born in Livermore and raised in Danville, not fully knowing that her family was well-off because there were always richer kids around.

From there, Pam talks about her religious upbringing (a story involving an invisible cat), her eating disorder at a young age, and being a varsity cheerleader ("reverse-stalking"). Pam shares early memories of SF (somehow, a nunnery and her dad's work downtown factor in here).

She left Danville for UC San Diego, where she did lots of acid but got good grades, as she attests. Pam lived in Davis after college and taught special ed there. She and her then-husband moved back to San Diego, where Pam started a theater company. Her ex-mother-in-law convinced her to get a corporate job, which she did. But she stopped taking birth control and wrote a novel in six weeks.

Pam got a DUI, quit her corporate job, and then had people at Burning Man telling her to move to The City, which she did in 2007. Now in San Francisco and going to SF State grad school, she started doing poetry readings all over SF, and then tried comedy in 2011.

At Pirate Cat Radio in 2008, she started reading stories after Common Thread with Diamond Dave Whitaker. In 2011, after the station's manager embezzled from them and the FTC started snooping around, they changed from Pirate Cat to Mutiny. A few years later, the board that ran Mutiny Radio bailed on her, but Pam stayed on and took over.

During the pandemic (or, as she refers to it, the "PAMdemic"), she stated doing comedy shows in parklets and at Mutiny in the Mission. Pam plans to bring Mutiny's comedy festival back this October 10–16.

We end the podcast with Pam's thoughts on where San Francisco goes from here.

We recorded this podcast at Mutiny Radio in June 2021.

Photography by Michelle Kilfeather