When you're a stand up comedian you always want to have a "home base." A place that will give you regular shows and where you always feel welcome. And if your a new comedian in Los Angeles, its harder to become a regular at high profile clubs like the "Improv" "Comedy Store" or "Laugh Factory". You need to find the spot where you fit in.
That's where the Spotlight Comedy Club came in for me. Last night the "Spotlight Comedy Club" reunion show was at Hamburger Mary's in West Hollywood. Comedian Eric Hahn put it together, and managed to get almost all of the "Spotlight" regulars together from "back in the day" for a reunion show.
It was a blast. It lasted about 3 hours and had the vibe of a "roast," It was filled with inside jokes and killer performances by all.
|Before the show, the comedians get ready. |
Originally called "Club Aura" the Spotlight was an Armenian Nightclub on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City. 12215 Ventura Blvd. to be exact. I'll always remember that address because its engraved in my brain from the dozens of useless flyers I've made promoting my shows there.
|This was not one of them.|
Most of these shows were called "bringers" where if you got booked, you were required to bring a certain amount of people out to watch the show. I would hang flyers up and down Ventura Blvd. hoping that my name would bring in some "foot traffic," and those people would be my required amount of guests to perform.
Yeah, that didn't really work. The promoter T.K. would tell me I was wasting my time. But I still had the romantic notion that hanging up flyers works, due to my love of 80's hair bands that used to plaster their flyers all over the Sunset Strip.
I would work the door, run the music and go up first. Usually going up first doesn't have that much pressure, but it meant I would always have to follow Rick Kunkler, who is one of the best comedy hosts in the country. A seasoned comic,we never knew why Rick wasn't out headlining across the world or on Comedy Central, but their loss was our gain. He would absolutely crush and have the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. His hosting was phenomenal, and then I would have to follow, doing my "Simpsons" impressions and jokes about Sears. I had many an awkward night on that stage, and Rick would come on after and say to the crowd "Well that was a trainwreck" and immediately get the them back. It sucked at the time, but it was tough love and I wouldn't have had it any other way. Looking back at it now its fucking hilarious.
|Me and Rick at the reunion show.|
He always dressed like Pee Wee Herman.
The promoter T.K., was another guy who always killed on stage. He ran the club and was the guy responsible for giving me my first comedy opportunities. Most comics can recite T.K's act like the lords prayer. He is a notorious on the L.A. comedy scene and has given a ton of talent their first start.
"Bringer" shows can get a bad reputation, but unless you're extremely funny, or a super hot chick, you have to do them to get decent stage time early in your career.
T.K. still runs great shows at the Formosa Cafe and the Federal Bar in North Hollywood.
|Rick welcomes T.K. to the stage.|
Unfortunately the Spotlight Comedy club went out of business about 3 years ago. T.K. did everything he could to keep it going, but the owners of the club decided to close the doors. I guess it was some sort of "Money Pit.
" One of the last shows we did there was a huge roast of Rick because he surprised us again by deciding he was going to leave L.A. and move back to his native Seattle.
Thank god I'm not the only one who has such fond memories of this place. When Eric put the reunion show together people jumped at the chance to perform. About 20 comics went up, and it was a true honor to be one of them. T.K, Rick Kunkler, Dan Frederickson, Teddy Tutson, Dimo, Justine Marino, Cruz Kim, Sam Comroe, Connor Maguire and more. It was really cool to see how far everyone has come with their acts and it was a great show overall.
|Teddy put it best when he said|
"Only the Spotlight would have a reunion show at a different place"