House of Comedy Brings Laughs to the Valley
By Dave Ficere
“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” – Jerry Seinfeld
Apparently someone forgot to tell Rick Bronson about the fear of getting up in front of people and trying to make them laugh. The owner of The House of Comedy got his start performing before audiences at the tender age of 15 and has honed his craft for more than 30 years. Now, as owner of one of the Valley’s newest entertainment venues, his goal is to bring high quality entertainment – and lots of laughs – to people throughout the greater Phoenix area.
Bronson says he’s been thrilled by the response at their High Street location in trendy CityNorth since they opened in September of 2014. “It’s a huge growth area, with a lot of new tenants and great restaurants coming in,” Bronson says. “We saw a great opportunity here especially with all the growth in the north Valley.”
Bronson should know. After years of performing, he opened the first of four comedy clubs in Edmonton, Alberta Canada and has since then added clubs in New Jersey and Minnesota, in addition to the Phoenix location.
So, what’s the secret to making people laugh? Bronson says the stereotype of the comedian being the sad clown are somewhat true. “Typically, the comedy club is comedians doing therapy live,” he laughs. “A lot of them suffer from ADHD or other maladies, such as being overweight and used comedy [as a way] to cope.”
While Bronson may not have suffered from some of the maladies that fueled others, that’s not to say he hasn’t paid his dues, hitting the road in the U.S. and Canada at the age of 18. “I lived the hard life of going from club to club and learning my craft,” he says. “For almost 10 years straight, 40 weeks a year, I was on the road,” he remembers, “but I did have a teacher in sixth grade, I think, that critiqued and red-penned an essay I had to do. Maybe that fueled my drive to succeed.”
While getting audiences to laugh may look easy Bronson says it’s hard and time-consuming work. “Comedians put a tremendous amount of time into their routines,” he says. “You work on this great joke and these days if it goes viral, it goes out the window, meaning you now have to come up with new material.”
While the club calls itself “the future of funny” where up and coming talent showcase their craft, that doesn’t mean you won’t see familiar faces at the House of Comedy. Well-known talents such as D.L. Hughly, Norm McDonald and Kevin Nealon have all played the Phoenix location along with newer talents such as Harland Williams (Dumb & Dumber), Sarah Tiana (911 Reno) and Owen Benjamin (Sullivan & Son).
“We really like to showcase new and upcoming talent,” Bronson says. “With so many comedy clubs now there is a ton of new talent out there and these new talents are showing up on TV and in movies.”
Bronson also prides himself on giving customers good food as part of their experience, rather than what people might think of as typical “comedy club food.” “Why sour the experience with a lousy plate of nachos?” he asks. “We try to keep our menus simple – feed everyone in a timely manner and give them great food as well as terrific entertainment. We really aim to please on every level.
And, that’s no joke!
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy
5350 E. High Street, Suite # 105