ASU alumnus brings unique comedy club experience to Stand-Up, Scottsdale!
Stand-Up, Scottsdale!, a comedy club near Old Town, opened its doors in March and offers an alternative to large Valley comedy theaters.
Owner Howard Hughes is an ASU alumnus and has been in the comedy business since 2006. He got his start in comedy at age 35, while living in Los Angeles.
“I just took a class, and that is how it started,” Hughes said. “The natural desire to want to do it just kind of stuck.”
Hughes had been a regular performer at other Phoenix comedy clubs before producing shows for Anderson’s Fifth Estate, which recruited him in an attempt to keep the club in business.
He produced shows for the club for a year and a half before partnering with investors to buy the venue and rename it Stand-Up, Scottsdale!
Stand-Up, Scottsdale! has two performance rooms. The smaller room accommodates 80 people while a large room holds 180.
The club has a growing menu with standard American food and a full bar.
Hughes said Stand-Up, Scottsdale! is different from other comedy clubs in the Phoenix area because it does not charge premium ticket prices.
The club books headlining acts from shows such as Chelsea Handler, Last Comic Standing and Comedy Central Presents and allows the audience to see them in a smaller, intimate setting.
“There is a real kind of play that happens with the audience and the performer here,” Hughes said.
Hughes said the closing of Tempe Improv in June has not had an effect on his club’s business.
“We started at the very end of the season,” Hughes said. “We made it through the summer and are building shows in a very organic way.”
Jim Vigil, manager and chef at Stand-Up, Scottsdale!, has been working at the club since opening day.
Vigil said he enjoys meeting the comedians that perform at the club.
“What makes this a real comedy club is that we have 20-25 comedians just hanging out,” Vigil said. “There is no atmosphere like this anywhere else.”
Vigil said the club strives to book comedians known on a national level.
“We don’t skimp on talent,” Vigil said. “We are bringing in comedians that are younger and nationally recognized.”
Hughes said he chooses comedians by looking at the videos they have available, or headliners he already knows.
“I like storytellers, I like people that have a strong point of view on things,” Hughes said. “That’s how I book people.”
Hughes said he also books local comedians and performs at the club himself on weekends.
The club offers an open mic night for local performers at 7 p.m. each Wednesday.
Open mic night host Nicholas Paul said he has been performing for a year and eight months.
Paul said they generally get anywhere from 17 to more than 100 people on open mic nights.
Paul said his favorite thing about being a comedian is when the comedy is truthful and honest.
“You get people shedding their emotions out in a hilarious way,” Paul said.
Hughes agrees there is a lot of emotion in comedy.
“Laughter is not the only response to comedy,” Hughes said. “There are a lot of highs, lows that culminate in the moment of it.”
Headlining shows at Stand Up, Scottsdale! are Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Ticket prices are $15, with a $5 discount for students.
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