Laugh Factory

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Coordinates: 34°5′52.8″N 118°21′52.1″W / 34.098000°N 118.364472°W / 34.098000; -118.364472

Original Laugh Factory in Hollywood, CA

The Laugh Factory is a comedy club with locations on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, Long Beach, California, Chicago, and inside the Tropicana Las Vegas.

History[edit]

In 1979, after a dispute over club owners refusing to pay comedians, a then 16 year old Jamie Masada recognized the need for a new venue for comedians to perform. After obtaining a loan of $10,000 from Neal Israel, he opened the Laugh Factory in a building formerly belonging to Groucho Marx.[1] Recognizing his passion for comedy, Richard Pryor was the first comedian to perform on the now famous Laugh Factory stage. When Jamie attempted to pay him, Pryor instead handed him a $100 bill and wrote on it, "You need this for your rent, boy."

From that point on the Laugh Factory has grown to be one of the most famous comedy clubs in the world. USA Today has cited it as being the #1 comedy club in the country.[citation needed] Masada still comes in almost every day and attends Tuesday Open Mic Nights to screen possible comedians for the Laugh Factory stage. The Laugh Factory now has four locations. Two are located in California: Laugh Factory in Hollywood, California and Long Beach, California. The Laugh Factory also has locations in Las Vegas inside of the Tropicana Las Vegas and in Chicago, Illinois after a 5 million dollar renovation of the old Lakeshore Theater.[2]

Jamie Masada[edit]

Masada's work with underprivileged children won him a NAACP Freedom Award, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor for humanitarian efforts, as well as the ACLU Freedom of Speech Award, among many others. Every year since 1979, Masada has opened his club for Thanksgiving and Christmas, dishing up free dinners to the homeless and up-and-coming artists, as well as providing some much-needed comic relief. Additionally, Masada sponsors free services during Judaism's High Holy Days. A highly sought after comedy consultant, he served as a producer for Damon Wayans' film, Behind the Smile (2006) – shot on location at the Laugh Factory's Hollywood location – and Disney's RocketMan (1997). Currently in development are the feature films Blackxican, in association with Paul Rodriguez and Paul Mooney; and, with Dom Irrera, Goombas of Comedy. Masada created and is currently executive producer of Supreme Court of Comedy, a half-hour, unscripted series he developed and which is currently entering its fourth season on DirecTV. Masada was also a casting consultant for Fox's In Living Color (1990-94), a ground-breaking and sometimes controversial series which showcased African-American humor, music and culture. Masada was instrumental in championing the casting of both Jim Carrey (one of the few White cast members) and Jamie Foxx, not only helping to ensure the success of the show, but fast-tracking the two aspiring, young comedians’ careers. On radio, Masada launched Laugh Factory Joke of the Day in 1987. Syndicated on Premiere Radio, it reached over 29 million listeners a day during an 18-year run. Masada was also a magazine publisher, launching the Laugh Factory Magazine in 1983. Self-published for the first two years, Warner Publishing then began distributing the magazine nationally until 1996.

Masada has also served as a producer of such live events as the 1985’s Comedy March on Washington. Campaigning for the president to launch a comedian into space, Masada – joined by Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller and Redd Foxx, among others – marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation’s capital. He drew so much media attention that President Reagan asked Hope to arrange a meeting. In the 1980s, at the rise of the AIDS epidemic, the Laugh Factory was the first business in America to provide condoms to its customers. Further innovations included inaugurating Latino-, African-American-, Asian- and Women-themed club nights [3]

Philanthropy[edit]

In addition to its comedy, the Laugh Factory is also recognized as one of the comedy industry leaders in donating to charitable causes as well as organizing charitable events. They have worked closely with the Red Cross and USO amongst many others. Charity fundraisers held at the club in 2010 include Cops For Causes, Comics Without Borders, Wounded Warriors, Middle Eastern Comedy Fest, and Stand Up For Pakistan. In 2011, the Laugh Factory ushered in the Jewish New Year by providing free High Holiday Services to the Jewish community. This was the 29th year that the Laugh Factory opened its doors to the Jewish community for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Jamie Masada, owner of the Laugh Factory said, “Two of the main reasons I love doing this is because it gives so many members of the Jewish community a chance to return to their traditions, and it gives so many actors, writers, and comedians who can’t afford to join a temple a place to pray for the holidays.” Services are conducted in the Reform Jewish tradition by Rabbi Bob Jacobs. All expenses for the services and the free "break the fast" at the conclusion of Yom Kippur are paid for by Jamie Masada, and donations are refused.[4]

Laugh Factory Long Beach[edit]

Long Beach's Laugh Factory is part of the Laugh Factory chain of comedy clubs owned by Jamie Masada. It is located at 151 S Pine Ave in downtown Long Beach, California. It is the 4th Laugh Factory to open in and the 3rd in Southern California.

The $10 million, 670-seat,12,000-square-foot venue is the largest comedy venue in the world.[5]

The Laugh Factory Long Beach held its Grand Opening on on September 20, 2008.

Its opening has been long anticipated since the facility has been part of a multi-million dollar retail and entertainment development known as The Pike at Rainbow Harbor, that opened in 2003.[6]

The Long Beach Laugh Factory is home to the official Laugh Factory Stand-Up Comedy Hall of Fame and Museum, which holds over 500 pieces of comedy memorabilia from comedians like Rodney Dangerfield and Groucho Marx[7] and wax figurines of Whoopi Goldberg and Eddie Murphy.

Comedy Camp[edit]

In 1985, Masada created Laugh Factory’s Comedy Camp for underprivileged kids. To date, he has worked with more than 1,000 disadvantaged children, ages 9–16, from lower-income neighborhoods. Meeting for 10 Saturdays each summer, comedians including Tim Allen, Jim Carrey, Dave Chappelle, Dane Cook, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Jon Lovitz, Richard Pryor, Chris Rock, Paul Rodriguez, Bob Saget, Adam Sandler, Chris Tucker, Damon Wayans and Shawn Wayans, among others – coach the youth, who also enjoy food and field trips.

The mentoring and encouragement that kids receive at Comedy Camp instills them with the confidence required in public speaking and to achieve their dreams. “Laughter is healing,” says Masada, who refers to them as “my kids,” maintains a relationship with many of them throughout the years and is a “Hebrew Kris Kringle” during the holidays.

Laugh Factory TV[edit]

A weekly stand-up comedy series originating from the Hollywood location, Comic Strip: Live, aired late Saturday nights on the Fox network from 1989–1994. The series was hosted by John Mulrooney (1989), Gary Kroeger (1990–91) and Wayne Cotter (1991–94). For a seven-month period starting in November 1990, the show was renamed Comic Strip: Late Night to differentiate it from a short-lived Sunday prime-time spinoff, which featured weekly guest hosts and originated from other locations.

The Laugh Bowl[edit]

Among events currently hosted at the Laugh Factory is the annual Laugh Bowl search for young talent, a competition held each November between rival Southern California Universities, UCLA and USC. The Laugh Bowl creator and executive producer, Daron Moore, is the Marketing Director for the Laugh Factory and launched the first live show in November 2009. The Laugh Factory camera crew captures students’ comedy routines, posts the footage online and opens voting. The top-five finalists from each school compete onstage at the club before a panel of professional comedians and industry professionals, with the winner receiving a gig at the Laugh Factory, their name and school name up on the Sunset Boulevard marquee and $5,000 in Laugh Factory gift certificates. The winner’s school receives the Laugh Bowl trophy and bragging rights for the year as the college with the best sense of humor. Past industry judges have included Jamie Masada, Ari Levin, Rick Messina, Jonathan Groce, Brad DeLima and past comedian judges have included Bobby Lee, Tom Dreesen, Maz Jobrani, Neal Brennan, and Chris Kid Reed.

Lowie at the Laugh Factory[edit]

"Lowie at The Laugh Factory" was a once a week comedy show presented by the Laugh Factory in Hollywood. The show was hosted by Craig Low with co-host Daron Moore. Craig Low is an Australian comedian, TV host, radio host, and writer and is better known to the public as “Lowie”. Laugh Factory producer Daron Moore also served as the show's executive producer. The show was produced at CBS Radio and broadcast on over 57 Australian radio stations from 6pm-8pm on Sundays. The show was also uploaded to iTunes for podcast with the potential of American distribution. The two-hour show was broken down into three parts. The first hour contained content generated from comedy shows at the Laugh Factory. This hour was broken down into four segments: "Fresh Faces" - where Australian listeners hear routines from new comics and vote for their favorite, "The Black Pack" - a segment composed of clips from well known African American comics, "Tom Arnold & Paul Mooney on Life" - where listeners hear Tom or Paul share funny and crazy experiences from their lives, and "The Laugh Factory Top 3" - which was a countdown of the top three jokes on a particular subject. The second hour revolved around a different headlining comic such as Tim Allen, Dane Cook, and Kevin Nealon. They are interviewed and have segments from their routine played over the air. A new headlining comic was chosen each week. Lastly, each show ended with a word of advice from the clubs owner and founder Jamie Masada.[8]

Laugh Factory Productions[edit]

Laugh Factory Productions is the new media arm of Laugh Factory, Inc. It manages the site www.laughfactory.com and The Laugh Factory's video channel on YouTube. As of November 2010, the channel has over 8.5 million video views and 13,000 subscribers.

In addition to stand up comedy Laugh Factory Productions has several ongoing original web-series. In "The Kevin Nealon Show," comedians are interviewed after their set. "Paul and Paul on..." features Paul Mooney and Paul Rodriguez riffing on the latest in pop culture news. The behind the scenes series "Laugh Factory Backstage" provides a look into The Laugh Factory regular comics' personal histories.

Michael Richards incident[edit]

The Laugh Factory made headlines when Michael Richards went into a racist outburst toward two black men who were heckling him during a November 17, 2006 standup comedy routine at the venue. In response to that incident, The Laugh Factory banned comedians from using the word "nigger" in their acts. The first known incident involving this new rule involved Damon Wayans (himself an African-American), who used the word 16 times in a 20 minute show. He was fined $320 ($20 for each offense) and given a 3-month ban from the club.[9] The ban actually lasted just a month as he was back performing in January.[10]

Endurance Record[edit]

The Laugh Factory keeps track of an endurance record for the comedian who can deliver the longest single set at the club. The record-holding performances are listed below:

DateDuration (hr:min)Performer
January 2, 20087:34Dane Cook
December 3, 20076:12Dave Chappelle
April 15, 20076:07Dave Chappelle
April 10, 20073:50Dane Cook
19802:41Richard Pryor

Guinness World Record[edit]

On December 8, 2010 at 4:38pm the Laugh Factory broke the Guinness World Record for Longest Continuous Stand Up Comedy Show (Multiple Comedians).[11] The record was previously held by Comic Strip Live, who set the original record of 50 hours. The Laugh Factory surpassed 50 hours on Wednesday and continued non-stop until 10:38pm Thursday December 9 when they stopped and set a new record of 80 hours. Dom Irrera was on stage when the record was broken, and Deon Cole was on stage when the new record was set. The event, titled "Toy to the World," was paired with a Toy Drive for Children's Hospital. Over 130 different comedians performed and the event was live-streamed over the internet.

Notable performers[edit]

Comedians who have performed in the club include:

Many other comedians not on this list have also credited the Laugh Factory in contributing to their career.

Schedule[edit]

The Laugh Factory weekly schedule currently runs as follows:

DayShowTime
SundayChocolate Sundaes8pm, 10pm
MondayLatino Night8pm
TuesdayThe Kevin Nealon Show8pm
WednesdayLaughing With The Stars w/ Tom Arnold, Fresh Faces8pm, 10pm
ThursdayTim Allen, College Night8pm, 10pm
FridayAll Star Comedy, Midnight Madness8pm, 10pm, 12am
SaturdayAll Star Comedy, Midnight Madness8pm, 10pm, 12am

References[edit]

External links[edit]