Culture News

Stand Up Live Opens Friday with Comedian Jo Koy

Nightlife options have been pretty scarce at CityScape since the downtown Phoenix development opened last year. Sure, you can grab an after-dark drink at Arrogant Butcher or throw some gutterballs at Lucky Strike, but this weekend, you can welcome comedy club Stand Up Live to your agenda.

The 600-seat venue, which is located next to Lucky Strike, makes its debut on Friday with a two-night performance from Filipino-American comedian (and Chelsea Handler regular) Jo Koy.

Here's the punchline: Not only does the venue bring regular standup comedy to downtown Phoenix (which is a rarity outside of occasional gigs at Comerica Theatre), according to proprietor Joel Bachkoff, its poised to be the biggest comedy club in the Valley.

And that's no joke.

Bachkoff, who also owns and operates comedy clubs in Florida (including Improv locations in the Miami area), says he's confident that joke lovers will flock to Stand Up live based on the marquee-level comics that they will host, as well as the club's upscale amenities.

"I feel like I run the best comedy clubs in the country. So do I feel like I have the best comedy club in town? If it's not, then it will be soon," Bachkoff says. "And that's my opinion."

Backoff's bold prediction feels like the kind of hopeful brag any that new club promoter might make prior to opening, until you take a look at Stand Up Live calendar.

Over the next few months, the venue is scheduled to host numerous superstar jokesters. The list includes acerbic cutups like Kevin Pollak and Carlos Mencia, former Saturday Night Live players Norm MacDonald and Jay Mohr, freakazoid Jackass daredevil (and human trainwreck) Steve-O, and filmmakers The Wayans Brothers.

If any of those names sound like the sort of comics you used to see perform at the Tempe Improv, it's no coincidence. Bachkoff is getting help behind the scenes from Dan Mer, who used to run Tempe venue and is now working with Stand Up Live.

"Dan has some really strong relationships with some big comedians and is bringing that to our club," Bachkoff says.

In addition to a packed calendar, the upscale comedy venue will also feature a full bar and menu, posh amenities like a copper fire pit and stone waterfall, and a high-tech sound system (so you can hear the flop sweat form on a comic's head in perfect clarity.) Bachkoff says that several comics will be recording special for Comedy Central and other cable channels at Stand Up Live in the near future.

Sounds like the Valley's comedy clubs like the Improv (which has hosted such major names as Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K., and Janeane Garofalo) is getting a serious run for it's funny money.

Jo Koy is scheduled to perform Friday and Saturday at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Showtimes vary and admission is $25. Click here for more info.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.