Laugh Pack! venues open in SoCal

by Brian McKim & Traci Skene on July 8th, 2009

Bruce Fine is the comic who is behind (and in front of) The Laugh Pack!– the new show/venue in two locations in Southern California. One, in Van Nuys at the Airtel Plaza Hotel, opens July 25. The second, at the Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill, opens August 7. From the website:

Bruce will produce and host THE LAUGH PACK!, a star-studded Stand-up show every Saturday night in the beautiful Lounge of the Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys, CA. The first Friday of the month THE LAUGH PACK! will be live in Hollywood at the Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill at the historical Gower Gulch on Sunset Blvd.

We believe Fine when he says that his venues will hearken back to the days when the talent was treated like stars. He chose the name (obviously evoking the Rat Pack era) because he wanted to convey– for both comics and audience alike– an atmosphere that combines class and convenience. “A little bit of Vegas right there in Van Nuys,” is how the website phrases it. (And, at least for the grand opening, the tix are ten bucks!) The other venue, boasts “A little bit of Vegas right here in Hollywood.”

We were just talking about such matters recently here at SHECKYmagazine HQ– Gone are the days when the casinos in Vegas treated the talent like special guests. These days, more often than not, they’re regarded with a modicum of courtesy, but not exactly exalted like olden days, the period represented by the so-called Rat Pack. (Perhaps we’re re-writing history here, but we seem to recall– in the many biographies we’ve read– that acts of the Rat Pack era, who played the desert, hadn’t a care in the world and were, in a lot of ways, made to feel… special. In stark contrast, today’s talent feels much more like a commodity or yet another opportunity for a bean-counter to shave costs/expenses down to the minimum. This is not a disease peculiar to Vegas– this is rampant. But, the difference between the old way and the new way is nowhere more obvious than in Sin City.)

Fine will be bringing in a wide variety of heavy-hitters: Wendy Liebman, Alonzo Bodden, Elon Gold, Suli McCullough, Jason Stuart. And a venue in Hollywood and the Valley– that pays and has free parking!– is no doubt certain to cause a mini-revolution in the Los Angeles metro area. (We recall that paid gigs were rare– relative to the amount of indigenous talent– when we lived there 1988-1993. From what we hear, that situation hasn’t much improved since.)

Full disclosure: We’ll be appearing at the Laugh Pack (both venues) the first weekend of October. We look forward to it.

Hit the site, check out the sked and befriend them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter– you know, all the cool, social networking stuff that Frank and Sammy and Joey Bishop usta do!