With mascara-caked eyes, tight jumpsuits and a grating high-pitched voice, Bobcat Goldthwait was among the 1980s’ most outrageous comedians.
Starting a stand-up career at 15, Goldthwait’s offbeat humor landed him appearances on “The Tonight Show” and “Late Night With David Letterman” before he turned to acting with “Police Academy” and his own film, “Shakes the Clown.”
Goldthwait, 48, also worked behind the scenes at “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and has directed movies such as “Windy City Heat,” “Sleeping Dogs Lie” and, most recently, the acclaimed dark comedy “World’s Greatest Dad” starring longtime friend Robin Williams.
This weekend, Goldthwait — a Los Angeles resident who lived in San Francisco in the ’80s — “the first place I felt like a comedian” — returns with his stand-up act to Cobb’s Comedy Club, where he met Williams.
At the time, Goldthwait says, “He would come see me perform, but he wouldn’t talk — he would just leave. I think he thought my character was pretty extreme. He probably thought I was crazy or something.”
Goldthwait calls working with Williams on “World’s Greatest Dad” awesome. At the same time, he was so nervous before the first day of shooting that he stayed up all night.
“I was wondering if he would listen to me,” Goldthwait says. “I mean, he has an Oscar and I appeared on ‘Hot to Trot.’”
Goldthwait says he’s revisiting stand-up comedy because he misses having a connection with his audience — and because he ran out of money.
At the height of his comedy career, Goldthwait was known for his eccentricity and jarring voice, but he has calmed down a bit.
“I think people are probably expecting that from my act and I hope I can deliver it, but I’m almost 50 and have been doing it for so long ... it would be kind of like your dad coming in and crashing your party,” he says.
The origin of Goldthwait’s stage persona came from bouts of stage fright, which he’s experiencing again as he returns to live performances after years behind the camera.
Goldthwait continues to write screenplays and direct films. He calls a new project, directing a movie musical in England based on The Kinks’ 1976 concept album “Schoolboys in Disgrace,” a dream come true.
“This is kind of something I wanted to do since I was 13,” Goldthwait says. “I was terrified when I met Ray Davies. I was sweating a lot and I couldn’t even talk. Eventually, I was able to form sentences and he got on board as one of the producers.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Cobb’s Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave., S.F.
When: 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Contact: (415) 928-4320, www.cobbscomedyclub.com