“You can’t fix unfunny.

by Traci Skene & Brian McKim on April 13th, 2013

Vindication is sweet.  And, in this business, rare.  Hear our tale of vindication!

You may have heard of  Bar Rescue, the Spike TV reality show in which host Jon Taffer and a camera crew descend on a restaurant or a karaoke bar or other similar venue and “rescue” it by re-arranging the furniture, changing the menu or otherwise dishing out tough love to the failing owners and managers.   Taffer pulls no punches and, as you might expect, what he gets in return from the failing restaurateurs is rarely thanks but vitriol.

While chatting with some comedians in the green room of Laffs Comedy Cafe in Tucson, the conversation naturally turned to Phoenix– it’s close by (just 115 miles up the road)–  and when the conversation turns to Phoenix,  the subject of Standup Scottsdale will inevitably come up.  We worked the room shortly after moving to Las Vegas, about two years ago last month.  We privately cite that weekend as one of the most bizarre weekends we’ve ever experienced.  And we cite the owner, Howard Hughes, as one of the least professional comedy club managers we’ve ever encountered.

We occasionally run across some folks who will corroborate our findings.  Now, however, we have an entire episode of a reality show that, we hope, will quite clearly demonstrate just what we witnessed firsthand.

Bar Rescue attempted to save Standup Scottsdale!  And the results air tomorrow (Sunday, April 14) night on Spike TV!  Check your local listings for showtimes!  (And if you can’t DVR it, you can wait a while and catch it on the Spike TV website (link above).  

The teaser for the episode says, in bold letters, superimposed over a photo of the hapless Hughes onstage, “This guy doesn’t fear failure, he welcomes it.” Totally. Awesome.

The New York Post account of the finale (Yes, that’s right, it’s the season finale!) opens with the title of our posting and just gets better.

“A lot of people think that just laughter is the only emotion that’s appropriate for a comedy show,” Howard Hughes, one of the owners of Stand-Up Scottsdale tells the camera during the season finale of “Bar Rescue” on Spike. “I believe when you can get anger or sadness in there that those are the emotions that people leave with, and will ultimately bring them back.”

Apparently, Hughes also wants the comics to leave with anger and sadness. (Ultimately, however, it doesn’t really bring them back!)

There’s also an account in AZCentral.

We’re not sure if we’ll be able to catch the episode, but we’ll make sure we see it when it hits the Spike TV site.

The punchline to the story (according to our local sources) is that, immediately after the required 60-day period, Hughes removes all of the improvements Taffer makes to the exterior and also restores the interior layout to pre-Taffer specs. Why are we not surprised?