Not Your Normal New Year's Eve pops again 

click to enlarge Jill Bourque and Brian Copeland host the fifth “Not Your Normal New Year's Eve” at the Marines' Memorial Theatre. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Jill Bourque and Brian Copeland host the fifth “Not Your Normal New Year's Eve” at the Marines' Memorial Theatre.
Comedian and producer Jill Bourque is excited about several costume changes she has planned for the 2014 “Not Your Normal New Year’s Eve” — particularly her balloon dress.

“Balloons are a big part of the show,” admits the performer and co-creator of the glittery annual event, which is at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre for the first time this year and is also debuting a midnight after-party with drinks and dancing.

Along with a 10 p.m. balloon drop (midnight in Normal, Ill.) the event features stand-up routines by “local, organic, sustainable” comics, including Brent Weinbach, Laurie Kilmartin, Kellen Erskine, Casy Ley, Dan St. Paul and Joe Klocek, says Bourque, who co-hosts with Brian Copeland.

Now in its fifth year, “Not Your Normal New Year’s Eve” was conceived by Bourque and Weinbach, who has an offbeat act, as a way to showcase super-unconventional comics.

Bourque, who grew up in Castro Valley and has lived in The City since 1991, hasn’t always been a comedian. She dipped her toe into performance when her career in finance and marketing led her to try improvisation as a means to communicate better in the workplace.

“My mind was blown,” says Bourque, who enjoyed it so much, in 2001 she produced the first “How We First Met,” a Valentine’s Day production in which real couples’ love stories were acted out onstage via improv and music.

It has evolved into a funny, touching, annual extravaganza, with dozens of couples clamoring to have their tales be the foundation for the show.

Bourque herself has a fun story about her first time doing solo stand-up comedy 11 years ago at the Marsh’s Mock Café open-mic showcase: Robin Williams made one of his infamous surprise appearances, and told her, “You were effin’ awesome” — even though she wasn’t.

Doing bad jokes about motherhood, she says, “I was terrible. It was kind of like trying to play basketball with LeBron James.”

Meanwhile, Bourque hasn’t given up on finance. She’s working on a new concept in crowd-funding, involving everyday people helping small businesses, that she says “could fundamentally change everything.”

Bourque doesn’t see huge discrepancies in combining comedy and economics in her life. “There are two sides of my personality,” she says. “Part of me loves a good spreadsheet.”

IF YOU GO Not Your Normal New NYE 2014

Where: Marines’ Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St., S.F. When: 8 p.m. Dec. 31

Tickets: $45 to $90

Contact: (415) 392-4400,

Note: A VIP after-party, for an added $99, includes an open bar, dancing, dessert buffet, Champagne toast and second balloon drop.

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Leslie Katz

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