Funny is Back 

Comedy club to open during depression

A little more than a year after Boise's only comedy club, the Funny Bone, was closed, a wise-cracking phoenix is set to rise from its ashes. A yet-to-be-named comedy club will open downtown with two familiar faces as managers.

Boise comedy veterans Pat Mac and Brian Lee will helm the new club on the second floor of the Mode Building on the corner of Ninth and Idaho streets. According to Mac, he and Lee are gunning for an opening date during the first week of March, though construction work is still ongoing.

Future home of no-name Boise comedy club. - NATHANIEL HOFFMAN

The name for the new club? That's still up for debate.

"Imagine any name with the words 'Comedy Club' in it," Mac said, an only-joking-but-kinda-not lilt in his voice. He and Lee are still researching possible trademark infringement issues.

Mac and Lee, who both managed the now-defunct Funny Bone, will manage the new club and both will be part owners as well. Colby Smith and Karl Pence are majority owners of the club.

Mac and Lee both have small ownership stakes in the new club, an important distinction from their stints as Funny Bone managers. The owners of the previous club were based in St. Louis, Mo. According to Mac, the owners made a habit of withdrawing money from the club's account, leaving them short on bills and payroll.

So the two managers turned the Funny Bone into an all-cash operation, paid the employees and the talent as best they could, and "put the keys in an envelope, sent them to [the owners], shut the doors and walked away," said Mac.

This time, the only people involved in the new club are locals.

"There's no hiding behind other states," Mac said. "But a couple of the comedians who had bad checks [from the Funny Bone], they were good friends of ours. They know they'll be working the new club, and they will be taken care of while they're here."

Although Mac and Lee took the brunt of the of bad publicity from the shuttering of the Funny Bone, Mac said they'll have no trouble lining up acts.

They've already booked comic Ian Bagg. According to Mac, they are in talks with big-name comedians with hopes of securing the likes of Eddie Griffin, Jim Gaffigan and Cedric the Entertainer.

"We're bringing in some big guns," Mac said.

Mac and Lee are still working on setting ticket prices. The club—which seats around 85 patrons—will have a separate bar with happy-hour and nightly drink specials. During off-nights, they'll run bands, open mics and a burlesque show. But gone is that old comedy-club standard, the two-drink minimum.

"That's a tough one to impose in this economy," said Mac.

Aw, yes ... the economy. With Idaho unemployment rising to 6.6 percent in December and personal income dropping for two straight quarters, opening a new club in the heart of downtown is a gamble.

"This is the time that people need to laugh," said Mac. "People have been telling me left and right, 'You're crazy for going into business in this economy.' No, I'm not. This is the time that people need a real form of entertainment.

"When the economy's bad like this, people need to be lifted up."

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