The Story of Flappers Comedy Club and How It All Began

The Story of Flappers Comedy Club and How It All Began
by Barbara Holliday

Interview by Joshua Snyder on  3/19/13
at Flappers Comedy Club & Restauarant

Q: How did you get into the comedy business?
A: I have always been in the comedy business. I actually was a performer. As a young person, I studied theatre at San Diego State University. So I was a drama geek. I did a lot of musical theatre. I was a major in drama and a minor in dance. I was in every musical theatre production known to man. And I always played the comic relief parts. I was always the jester or the joker. Weirdly enough, one time, I was in bed with a guy I was dating, and he said, “you’re funny, you should take comedy classes.” And I was like “maybe this isn’t the time that you should be telling me I’m funny, but ok, I’ll give it a try.” He actually took me to a class that he was attending; it was Greg Dean’s stand-up comedy workshops – I highly recommend those classes, awesome – and I took a comedy class and I got hooked. I did a showcase and I thought I did really well—I’m not sure if I did really well or if all my friends were encouraging me to do more comedy and just laughed at me, because what else are they going to do, cry at me? So that was, gosh, in 1994 when I started in the stand-up comedy business. I had a sketch group, “the Instigators” which was very popular in the late 80’s, early 90’s. That got me hooked on—when you have your own sketch group, you know, you have to write, produce, perform, direct—you pretty much put the whole shebang together and you’re also trying to get audience members there. So I learned a lot when I was doing that. That launched me into where I’m at now, which is owning, booking, and running a comedy club.
Have you ever done stand up or any other kind of performing?
Early on, right out of college, I got a dream job—I got booked as a kid’s host for Fox Television. I played a character called Roxy the Fox for 4 ½ years and got television experience there. That was prior to the stand-up comedy class. I’ve been hooked on comedy ever since.

What makes you laugh fastest and hardest?
I particularly enjoy physical comedy, like honestly Jim Carrey, Lucile Ball, one of the all time greats. Even novelty variety magicians and juggling. Anything that’s out of the ordinary. Or a really, really smart, highly intelligent, witty, dry stand-up comedian, on the stand-up side, is my favorite. But I love physical comedy. If someone falls, I’m laughing. I cannot help myself. No mimes, by the way. Mimes do not make me laugh.

Who are some of your comic heroes?
Lucile Ball, Jim Carrey, I’m a big fan of the old In Living Color, I’m a huge Saturday Night Live fan, I’ve watched it pretty much since its inception…I hate to give away my age, but… I love stand-up and sketch and variety. I love the art of comedy in general, particularly the sketch. The improv is a little bit more physical. I like that. I like to see characters. I like to be an outrageous character.

When and what was the inception of the idea to start a comedy club?

It has been a very long journey. My partner, Dave Reinitz, and I produced a comedy contest, called “The Uncle Clyde’s Comedy Contest,” which we’ve been doing for about seventeen years. And that show really is the inception of Flappers. We call Flappers “the house that Clydes Built,” because it is a show that helped us build fans, build a comedian base, build and audience base in general, and helped get our legs up on producing.
Because we were producing Clydes at various venues—other people’s venues—what happened was the audience kept thinking we were the owners. If you’re the producer of a show, they walk up to you as if you’re the owner. So the frustrating part for Dave and I was that we couldn’t control anything but the show itself-which was always good-but we couldn’t control the environment. The food, the drink, the cleanliness of the space, all those things. So we got the idea—we basically spent our date nights basically looking at locations. So every Friday night, Dave would call me up and say “hey, there’s this place on Ventura Blvd, let’s go check it out.” And we would literally go to someplace around LA and we would have dinner, have a drink, and actually sit in the spaces of these potential places. And I can tell you we looked at hundreds-every day of the week for ten years we looked for something, whether it was on line or physically. We looked at old strip clubs and old opera houses.
We also had a sponsor for Clydes, Louise’s Trattoria, and they owned the Derby, which is in Los Feliz, and I think Flappers got iniated during that period. The Brown Derby Dance Jazz Club had actually gone out of that space and Louises owned the restaurant half of it. So they called us up and said “hey, would you guys be interested in doing a comedy club in the Derby.” And we were like “wow, that’s a great space.” That’s the famous Brown Derby-the heart of Hollywood. This is the beginning of classic entertainment. So we had to come up with an idea for that space in particular. That’s what brought us back to the 1920’s. We also thought that if we open a comedy club today, how are we going to compete with the Improv and the Ice House and all these big clubs without having any history. So we sort of had this concept that if we maybe made it sound older than we were, then people would believe that we were older and had more of a history.
We started looking at all these images from the 1920’s, just to fit that Derby space, and we thought the images were hilarious. Prohibition images. Women in their tight turtle necks saying “lips that touch liquor will not touch ours.” People pouring beer down the drains. Dogs licking up beer. If you go back at all those images, they’re really funny. We also thought that prohibition was such a strange time, because nobody wanted prohibition, yet they did it, and we repealed it. It’s one of the only amendments to be repealed. I’m not sure if people really realize that. So, for the Derby, we came up with the concept that we are still celebrating the repeal of prohibition, and what better way to sell liquor, honestly? Who doesn’t want to buy liquor? We even repealed the amendment, so let’s have fun with it.
We thought of different names. Believe me. We thought of everything. We were going to call ourselves “Clappers,” “Slappers,” “The Derby Comedy,” “Uncle Willie’s Chuckle Hut,” “Uncle Clydes Comedy Club.” People still call us Clappers or Slappers instead of Flappers.
The concept of a A Flapper was also a rebel. A woman who rebellious, who was breaking the stereotypes of the time. So we felt that had a lot of meaning in comedy as well. The Prohibition Era definitely gave us a lot of images and concept for the club. And as you know, at our comedy club, we didn’t want to be too themey, but we wanted to be classic and simple, and that’s what the Flappers Concept gave us. Once we wrote it all down in a business plan, we believed in it so much, we pretty much were able to sell the concept to lots of people.
We were working very closely with Louises, and we wanted to run the comedy portion and have them run the food portion, and that seemed like an easy way to get in the club business to start; we could focus on what we knew best and they could focus on what they knew best. Well, it ended up that—something happened with them being able to lease out that space to us—something like that. It just didn’t work out. I can tell you, we signed leases on probably four or five spaces before we came to Burbank and Claremont. And, actually, Claremont started first.
Claremont started because after the Louises deal dropped out, we actually got a strange call from a real-estate developer, who sent us an image of an old opera house with a comedy marquis on it and it said “Gerrymander Comedy Club.” It was so odd. I don’t know if you know what the word “Gerrymander” means… we were like “Is this a joke? Is this a trick?” It was like she was reading our minds. She somehow knew we were looking for a club. How did she know we were looking for a club? I don’t know—maybe word spreads around that people are looking-so she sent us this space in Pomona. It was an old opera house, and we loved the space. It was really classic. Now we had this 1920’s idea in our head, and we started kind of looking for spaces like that. It was right next to the Fox theatre in Pomona, in antique row, a nice little city-but a dead city. But the space was great. We met some real estate developers there who were very ambitious and pleased with our backgrounds. Pomona wanted a comedy club. Claremont-that area, the Inland empire-they wanted a comedy club there.
This was happening during 2008. A liquor license cost $100,000. The economy was tanking. Everyone said we were nuts. How are we going to start a business in a down economy? Well, entertainment and liquor do very well in a down economy. Let’s go back to Prohibition. Right? Look at history—all our major disasterous events, people always rely on the alcohol and the entertainment in a down time. So we weren’t worried about that. We were worried about the space. The opera space was too big. To be honest, we backed out of that deal. We had negotiated the lease, we had worked with the land lords, but we decided it was not the right time. So we backed off. About six months later, we get a weird call from the land lord at the opera house and he says “hey, you guys, I have this space in Claremont, which is not too far from the other space. My wife runs a club called The Hip Kitty downstairs, and we have a space and we want a comedy club in this city. We think it’s gonna be a draw, we think this is a positive thing, it will bring new people to the community.” So he says “why don’t you try it.” And by that time, it had been ten years since we started thinking of opening a club. And we would joke, every day, “let’s open a comedy club today.” It just seemed like every obstacle was in our way and we just couldn’t get it done, and here was this guy going “hey, how about I give you guys free rent for six months if you put a comedy club in here. And we were like “let’s do it. How could we refuse that?” So that’s how Flappers started in Claremont.
We spent ten years looking at spaces and visiting every vacant space that was available, feeling it out, producing and performing in other venues and seeing what we liked and what we didn’t like. Like any business owner, you always think you can do it better. I hope we’ve done it better. We had to look for spaces that didn’t have beams in the middle. It’s the worst thing to have a beam in the middle of the room. Imagine a beam in the center of [the YooHoo room]. I was very clear: no beams. It has to be an open space.
The Burbank location was a Macaroni Grill, and it was a mess. It had been vacant for eighteen months, maybe even a little bit more. And it’s so huge. Maybe 7,000 square feet, and we had opened Claremont in January. Claremont is a small space-about 100 seats. We put it together quickly, in about two weeks. We built a stage and did the lights, and painted, and it was crazy time. We worked twenty-four hours a day, round the clock for a couple of weeks. And we opened up in January, and we were kind of getting our legs wet [at Claremont] but we lived in Burbank. Dave found, on Craigslist or Loopnet or somewhere, so we come and look at it, and we thought it was way too big and the lease was outrageous, the per square footage—we were paying no rent in Claremont and now we’re going to have to pay an exorbitant amount of rent—multiple thousands of dollars. But we lived in Burbank, and here we were driving a ½ hour, forty five minutes away just to have our comedy club. I desperately wanted Claremont.
Dave and I had a battle. Dave wanted a small and easy to manage, Thurs, Fri and Sat. I wanted big, walk-by traffic. So we basically both got our wish. This is basically how it happened. It wasn’t planned-we didn’t plan to have two. At that point, we had to. So we opened that, and we looked at the Burbank space, and in May—well, actually in March, which is important—Dave—we couldn’t afford the rent in Burbank. We decided we liked the space but we couldn’t afford it. Dave had this crazy idea about going to the land lords and asking them or the city if they might subsidize it for us; help us. We go to the city, and we say “hey, this is a crazy idea, but would you consider subsidizing the rent for us?” They were like “you guys are crazy! This is a crazy idea. This is completely out of the box—by the way, we love it, but we can’t do it, but what a great idea and nice out-of-the-box thinking. But we can’t do it.” However, some of the people involved in that meeting said to us “have you thought about applying for an economic development grant.” And we were like “what’s that?” We had no idea, because we couldn’t afford it on our own. So suddenly, we found the re-development agency, which if you don’t know now, unfortunately, [Governor Schwartzenegger] disbanded-all of the development agencies in the state of California. At the time, we got in-we were so lucky because the re-development agency really believed in the project. We had written a hundred page business plan. They said “we’d be willing to give you a grant—a forgivable loan—if you’re here for ten years and you keep paying sales taxes and you keep employing people, basically, we will forgive pieces of this loan each year as long as you meet certain sales thresholds.” So we were like “oh my Gosh.”
We had to lobby city council members. We had to go in front of the city council. It was one of the greatest events of our life. It was kind of like being dead and hearing people talk about you. We had the city council date planned. We had to get the majority of the city council votes in order to get the grant. We could not have done Flappers Burbank without this grant. We did not have enough money. We had some money I saved, we had some money from my father, some money from Dave’s sister, and that was it. It was just us. We’re not Chilis or some big corporate conglomerate. We’re like little people who’ve lived in Burbank for—we’re literally liliputian people. We’re like tiny, tiny people. We go in front of city council. We invited all these comics to come down and speak on our behalf. You’ve never seen a city council meeting like this one. It is on record, it is recorded, my face is on tape going ooh [happy expression] ugh [terrified expression]. You can watch the whole roller coaster ride. What’s great is all these comics came out to support us and talk about what we’d done for them over the years and how we’ve helped them and how Burbank needed this. And we were surprised that Burbank-the heart of the entertainment business, with all of this great talent here, how had they never had a major live entertainment venue. There is no live entertainment venue like this in Burbank. It seemed logical, but it was quite expensive. So with the city’s backing, we ended up being able to do it. At that city council meeting, Michael Rayner, who is one of our dear friends and great performer, actually spun a cheeseburger on an umbrella in a city council meeting. Never been done before, and boy did they grill us, too. We knew our numbers, we knew our business plan, we had great comedians show up to back us up, so we ended up getting the grant. So that was in May. So in January, we started Claremont, we looked and suddenly had a loan to do Burbank in May. It was like-bam, we had twins. We didn’t plan on it, really. Then, by September, we had opened Flappers Burbank, so Dave and I both got our wish. Dave has the little guy [Claremont] and I have the big guy [Burbank]. The big argument was whether or not we needed the exposure of a walk-by traffic area. In Burbank we’re in a downtown area with a lot of visual exposure, and how powerful is that to a business? In Claremont, we’re upstairs, tucked away, so we literally have to draw every person in there. At least in Burbank, 45,000 people drive by every single day. So when there’s something on our marquis, you’re getting 45,000 people. So it worked. Here we are three years later, and we’re renegotiating and re-signing a new lease for ten more years.
Can you give us a little insight into what it is like to run a club?
What is it like to run a comedy club from the inside? Nothing like what I thought it would be. Honestly, we did this because we have a pure passion for comedy. We would not have been able to do this if we didn’t really truly love comedy. Having employees is a very difficult thing to deal with, for anyone out there reading this who owns a business-you understand what I’m saying. With what we do at Flappers, we have so many divisions, that can be positive and a negative. It’s positive because when one area is weak, another area is strong. Before we opened the club, I also had a small comedy management business, so I was able to manage comedians and earn commission and have a small business; eek out a living helping comics manage their careers and booking them at colleges, casinos, corporate events, things like that. So we brought that under the Flappers umbrella, so we still have that management company. Now we can see comics come through the club and work them into our management company. We also have a school called Flappers University, where learning is a “joke,” and we teach classes on stand-up and marketing and promoting, and business aspects of comedy, and emceeing, and all kinds of good stuff. We also sell tickets, and we are a full restaurant. That is a big deal. A lot of comedy clubs do not do that. We took on a huge undertaking with that—just owning a restaurant alone is a lot to deal with. What’s bad about that is that it’s a lot of different businesses to manage. It’s almost like four different businesses. Each one has its own employees, it’s own processes, it’s own management. On a positive note, say we have a bad night at Flappers and we don’t sell a lot of tickets, then maybe we packed out the classes that week. What’s helped us to survive is a diversified business model, where we have a lot of different revenue streams. We don’t have all our eggs in one basket. Same with Claremont. If Claremont is weak, Burbank can help feed money into it to help keep it alive. Now Claremont is thriving again and standing on its own. So having the two clubs-they helped each other. Having the experience of building the Claremont club from the ground up gave us great legs and definitely gave us more ability to manage the Burbank facility way better. If we would have just come in and done Burbank, we would have crashed. It was really nice having a small testing ground. We worked out service operations. In a comedy club, what’s different than having a regular restaurant is that we have timing—we have a show—we have a beginning, a middle, and an end. We have to get people in and out in a certain amount of time. That means that food service also has to be done—when you go to a restaurant, sometimes you can sit around for four hours. That’s not how it is here. You come in, you sit down, you order your food, you watch the show, and then, we have to have all your food—a three course meal out by the time that show is finished. And all with a pleasant, friendly, service style attitude. We do put a lot of emphasis on guest services here. We call our customers “guests” for that very reason. We want them to feel like they are a very special person. We also don’t do VIP seating. We went back and forth on that—there are all of these things you talk about like every comedy club—should we have a two item minimum? Why should we have a two drink minimum? We opted for a two item minimum instead of a two drink minimum because we wanted people to feel like a guest. And we don’t want to force two drinks down someone’s throat. We want people to come in and have a good experience and not feel pressured. However, there are people who take advantage—sometimes we may comp a seat in the comedy club and then if we don’t have any kind of minimum, they’re not buying anything and the business can’t survive. Everyone always wonders about the 2 item minimum in a comedy club. We even had an idea to do a “pay as you go” model where you come in and pay what you think it’s worth. But again, it’s really hard to do that in today’s business world because people will take advantage. This way we have a fine balance of treating our guests like royalty and also having them being able to enjoy good food and good service and good comedy.
How do you feel about alternative comedy compared to more traditional club comedy?
Alternative comedy vs. traditional club comedy. I think at Flappers we probably produce more variety types of shows than a lot of other comedy clubs. We have a Two-Milk Minimum show on Saturday, which is a family-friendly show, and the performers there-they are jugglers, magicians, variety acts. Normally, in a comedy club, it’s hard to book those kind of acts because people do expect a “traditional” club comedy show. Which is straight stand-up comedy. This is an interesting point as well because it’s a fine balance in booking a comedy club because you have you have to take your guest’s tastes in mind. We’re in Burbank. Our general audience is about 35-55. I call them M&M’s (manners and money) because they are older couples, sophisticated-they’re in the heart of the entertainment world, they most likely work at the studios during the day. They have definitely a pickier style and taste for comedy. They’ve seen the best performers in the world here in Burbank. They work on tv shows all day. How are you going to impress them? We really have to have top notch comics in the main room.
I think alternative comedy is smart comedy. Maria Bamford is a female headliner who does quite well here. She’s considered an alternative comic. I don’t know why. I think just because we want to label anything that’s not white male comedy as alternative. I think Maria is an amazing stand-up comedian. She’s not a juggler or a variety performer but she does extremely interesting voices and talks about her family in a very intelligent way. I guess nowadays, being intelligent means being alternative. I guess Flappers is alternative. Very strange.
Good comedy is good comedy to me. We do kind of have to label it with respect that we have to market it to certain people. For example- a hypnotist. Not everyone is wants to come to an interactive show. A hypnotist show would mean that they’re going to be messed with. Not every audience member wants to see that. Would you call a hypnotist alternative? I don’t know.
I think straight stand-up comedy is what we’re talking about where clubs traditionally book-an emcee, a feature, a headliner, and one thing I strive to do here is diversify the shows as much as possible. I don’t label it as “alternative comedy,” so much as I like to have a woman in every show, a man in every show, an Asian, a black person—different voices—a disabled person, having all voices—I like to have all voices represented in a show. That’s what I’m looking for when I’m booking a show.
How would you respond to the controversy surrounding rape jokes and other offensive subject matter in comedy?
I like funny comedy-let’s be clear about that. We get asked this question all the time about racial comedy. Comedy that crosses a hurt line is not funny. That’s all. It’s just that simple. I’ve heard some comics take topics that you would say were off limits and make them really funny. Jim Jeffries did a bit on gun control right after the school shooting, and it was amazing. It was really spectacular because his angle on it wasn’t for pro or con, it was a different point of view on gun control. You’ll have to go watch Jim Jeffries—I don’t want to give it away. It was an intelligent point of view that represented both sides in a silly, playful way. I think you can address any issue if you do it in that way. A lot of new comics think that shock value is what’s funny. Because comics get a reaction from the pure shock value of a joke. They misinterpret that as being a funny reaction—that’s the big mistake when you’re starting out in comedy. When I say a dirty word, everyone laughs. When I say a dirty joke, everybody laughs. Again, what’s happening there—it’s shock value. It’s a shock value reaction. It’s not necessarily a funny reaction. You just have to learn the balance in that. I really think that topics are about the writing—Jimmy Dore does a very interesting bit on rape. He spins it around to the victim’s side, in a way, without going into the joke—any topic can be written well. The greats, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, they addressed all kinds of those types of issues, and they were hugely successful and very funny. I don’t think that a white male comic can do black comedy and I don’t think a black comic can do white comedy or a girl—you should talk about what you know. That’s the secret of comedy—your point of view on something. If you don’t have a disability, you can’t really talk about someone with a disability. If you’re not black, you can’t really understand life from a black perspective. If you’re a female, you have to talk about what it’s like to be a female. You have to talk about what you know. That’s, at least, the honest perspective.
What’s your perspective on people still claiming that women are not funny?
That is not true. Unfunny women are not funny. Here’s my argument about being funny. Women in general—(this is my favorite question, I love answering this question)—there a bigger majority of white male comics in the stand up comedy business. I think I know why. It doesn’t mean that women aren’t as funny, it means that that there just aren’t as many women in comedy. Here’s why: women are taught to apologize, as young women. It’s always “I’m sorry, I apologize,” they’re taught to take a back seat to a male opinion. Well, comedy is about opinions. Comedy is about expressing how you feel about something. And men are taught to be strong in their opinions-“say what you think.” Women, again “I’m sorry, I’m not sure.” It’s a big undertaking to get a woman to express honest opinions that aren’t about their but or their boobs or their weight, or something physical—looks.  When women do start expressing their opinions, then they’re generally called “bitches” or assertive, controlling women. It’s kind of an odd thing. But when men do it onstage, it’s funny. There are some great female headliners. To name a few, Maria Bamford, Kira Soltanovich, Karen Rontowski, Jackie Kashin, just a few of my contemporary favorites, and they’re all equally as funny as the men around them, and I highly encourage you checking out their acts—they have as much to say about their lives and their opinions as men do. Hopefully, someday, we’ll have more women in comedy because they feel empowered. It’s such a great teaching for young women—to take stand-up comedy. I really encourage it, because it’s a great confidence builder.
Do you think comedy is a male-dominated industry and why?
Comedy IS a male dominated industry. It’s purely what I was saying earlier. There happens to be more men in comedy. And why that is—I think that—a lot of people think they can do stand-up, even if they’re actors—it’s an easy artform to think it’s a simple artform. You just stand in front of a microphone and start talking—that’s what people think. Obviously, they don’t know how much goes into writing a joke, and the psychology of what’s being delivered onstage—ask anyone who’s been successful in comedy how much work goes into that—it’s a lot of work. It doesn’t happen overnight. It also happens with experience—the more life experience you have, the better a comic you’ll be because you have more to complain about. You have more to talk about. You have more life to connect with people about.
It definitely is a male-dominated field, though. Even me, I’m co-owner of a business, my partner is a man. If I’m strong and getting things done, I’m controlling and bitchy. That’s just the way we view women who are powerful. I hope that perception will change at some point. There’s a woman who works at Facebook, she just wrote a book called Lean In, and she’s talking about—this very topic—how women should lean in, not lean out. Instead of saying I’m sorry and backing up, jumping in and getting involved. It’s true that when women do that, they are labeled as bitchy, controlling, assertive. I don’t mind being called those things, because I know I can get shit done as quickly or as well as any guy. And I know I’m funny, too. Funny comes from confidence. Women, in general, are taught not to be the up-front “opinionators” and the confident speakers. That’s just how our society has treated people. That explains why fat is funny—to be honest. Fat women—fat people in general—there’s no hiding who they are on stage. They can’t be like “oh yes, I just ate a salad for lunch.” They have to talk about being that physical thing. That’s why people with disabilities or people from different races or any gender—those are the obvious or the easy things to start talking about in comedy. Even though it is a male-dominated field, I think white males have it pretty hard because they have to really find a unique way to express their voice and make sure that they are talking about things that are unique and individualized to them.
What is Flappers’ relationship with Bill Burr?
Well, we are very lucky to have had Bill Burr come and perform for us on several occasions. Every single time, he sells out. He lives somewhat in the area, which is convenient. He can come and perform and go home and sleep in his own bed at night. What comic doesn’t want that, when they’re touring on the road all over the country for awhile? Bill supports small business. He’s a true comedy voice. He’s a real comic’s comic. He is serious about his craft—serious about the writing, serious about the delivery, serious about the marketing, and serious about his fans, and he delivers 100%. He’s welcome here any time, and I’m sure he will be back very soon. That’s an odd question. We hate Bill Burr.

What advice do you have for young comedians?
Do you mean young as in age or young as in “first timers?”
Let’s start with first timers.
First timers. First of all, my first bit of advice is to educate yourselves on comedy history. Literally read about the progression of comedy, the ebbs and flows over the 80’s, the different comedians who’ve been successful, both on club stages and on Television. They’re very different types of comedy. Once you’ve got that in your head, when you get on stage for the first time, you will have the respect that’s required to put on a performance for an audience. A bit of advice for first time comics: WRITE SOME JOKES! What I mean by that is—take classes, get educated. This is a business and it is an art form, and any art form requires study. And practice. Specifically with comedy, you have to practice a lot. The more you practice, the better you get. And that means stage time. You want to be getting on stage as much as you possibly can. Take a class. Get in a writing group. Find a way to write down some jokes. DO NOT STEAL JOKES. That is a big no no. I have seen comics get up and do George Carlin’s routine or Bill Cosby’s routine and you can do that on a cruise ship…I’m kidding—WRITE YOUR OWN JOKES! And get on stage as much as possible
Advice for young (age) comics: comedy is about what’s wrong with us, not about what’s right with us. So it’s very hard for a young person to actually have a lot of troubles. Believe it or not. You think you have a lot of troubles at 21 or under 21, but you have no idea what’s about to be in front of you. So, it’s a lot easier for older comics to be more successful because they have a lot more to complain about. So when you’re young, try not to do an impression of what you think a stand-up comic is. That’s the biggest problem I’ve seen with young comics—I’ve seen a 9-year-old wearing a suit and tie and going “well, my wife was… take my wife, please!” It’s a disconnect. He’s 9 years old. He should talk about 9 year old things, like his parents and cleaning his room. You have to talk about what you know. So if you’re a young comic, first of all have some life experience. Also, a great bit of advice for young comic to be to write out complaints and confessions. Write out what you have problems with, or what you think are problems, and that will be the fodder for your set and your material. Don’t hide anything. Tell the truth. That’s important.
What can we expect to see out of Flappers in the future?
Flappers in the future—we’ll have space ships, and aliens will come. No. we’ve made it three years. We’ve signed a lease to extend our stay in Burbank for another ten years. We still have some clean up to do. It’s still a little dirty. There’s a French fry over there—no. We would potentially like to open additional Flappers. Maybe, in another couple of years, we’ll have our legs strong enough that we can possibly open a franchise and put some more Flappers around other parts of the country. We always say how hard it is to have a comedy club in LA because our audience is so fickle here. They want the best of the best. Can you imagine if we went to Hoboken, Wisconsin-it would be so easy. We could do it anywhere. If we can do it in LA, we can do it anywhere.

Any specific places?
I don’t want to give those away. For other people who might be looking. When you’re looking to start a comedy club, you’re looking for free parking—that’s huge. Both our locations have free parking. Too many comedy clubs do not have free parking. Got to have an unobstructed big rectangular box you can keep simple and bring people in and out of, and walk-by traffic. You want to be in an area where people are walking by, stopping in, taking a peak. Easy access.

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