3175 N. Broadway (map) 773.327.3175
Opening its doors in 1979, the World Famous Laugh Factory has been recognized as “the #1 comedy club in the country” by such high-profile media as USA Today. With southern California locations in Hollywood (its original Sunset Boulevard locale) and Long Beach (opened in 2008), comedy’s top stars, as well as today’s brightest emerging talent, shine on its legendary stage.
Founder Jamie Masada, the driving force behind the Laugh Factory, is revered as a pioneer and innovator and is an iconic name on the comedy scene. He was and continues to be instrumental in launching the careers of many of today’s biggest comics. The New York Daily News called him the “Real King of Comedy.” His knowledge and expertise have made him the leading authority on all things comedy and his advice is highly regarded by the entertainment industry’s top power brokers.
Among the comedians who have performed at the club are Tim Allen, Louie Anderson, Roseanne Barr, Milton Berle, David Brenner, Nick Cannon, Drew Carey, George Carlin, Jim Carrey,Dave Chappelle, Dane Cook, Rodney Dangerfield, Ellen DeGeneres, Phyliss Diller, Jeff Dunham, Jeff Foxworthy, Redd Foxx, Brad Garrett, Eddie Griffin, Kathy Griffin, Buddy Hackett, Bob Hope, Andy Kaufman, Sam Kinison, Martin Lawrence, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Richard Lewis, Goerge Lopez, Bernie Mac, Bill Maher, Howie Mandel, Carlos Mencia, Larry Miller, Mo’Nique,Paul Mooney, Eddie Murphy, Kevin Pollack, Richard Pryor, Paul_Reiser, Chris Rock, Paul Rodriguez, Ray Romano, Bob Saget, Mort Sahl, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Garry Shandling, Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, Wanda Sykes, Chris Tucker, Damon Wayans, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Flip Wilson, Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters, Steven Wright, Henry Youngman and many, many more.
In 2006, the Laugh Factory made headlines when Michael Richards launched into an unfortunate racist outburst toward two African American men heckling him during a routine. In response, the club banned comedians from using the “n-word” in their acts. Less than a month later, the first incident under the new rule occurred with Damon Wayans dropping the word 16 times in a 20 minute set. He was fined $320 ($20 for each offense) and banned from performing at the venue for three months.
A former stand up himself, Masada is a sought-after consultant and successful producer of comedy franchises for both film and television. He served as a producer for Damon Wayan’s film,Behind the Smile, which was shot on location at the Laugh Factory’s Hollywood location, and Disney’s RocketMan. Currently in development are the feature films Blackxican, in association with Paul Rodriguez and Paul Mooney, and with Dom Irrera, Goombas of Comedy.
Masada created and is theexecutive producer of Supreme Court of Comedy, a half-hour, unscripted series he developed which is currently entering its fourth season on DirecTV. Filmed at the Hollywood Club, real-life complaints are heard before comedian and “Chief Justice” Dom Irrera, who hands out hilarious (and surprisingly just) rulings. Guest starring as “Court Counselors” is a who’s who of today’s top comics.
L’Chaim Hollywood, which debuted on The Jewish Channel (TJC) in September 2010, is a comedy series showcasing Judaism’s top talent with comedy, music, and talk. Currently in development is Laugh Factory Open Mic for DirecTV and GI Comedy Throwdown, a contemporary take on the traditional USO Comedy Specials.
Masada was also a casting consultant for Fox’s In Living Color, a ground-breaking and sometimes controversial series which showcased African American humor, music, and culture. Masada was instrumental in championing the casting of both Jim Carrey (one of the few white cast members) and Jamie Foxx, not only helping to ensure the success of the show, but fast-tracking the two aspiring, young comedians’ careers.
Other notable shows Masada helped bring to the small screen include:
- Showtime’s Full Frontal Comedy, a Cable Ace Award-winning, late night stand up comedy show hosted by Dom Irrera.
- UPN’s late-night talk show VIBE, a spin-off based on the successful African American magazine of the same name. Produced by Quincy Jones and hosted by Chris Spencer, the show, which appealed to a young, urban audience, welcomed former President Bill Clinton as a guest on its debut program.
- Comic Strip Live, which introduced live comedy to television, aired late night on the then-fledgling Fox Network from 1989-1994.
On radio, Masada launched Laugh Factory Joke of the Day in 1987. Syndicated on Premiere Radio, it reached over 29 million listeners a day during an 18 year run.
Masada has also gained widespread notoriety as a producer of such live events as the 1985’s Comedy March on Washington. Campaigning for the president to launch a comedian into space, Masada, joined by Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Redd Foxx, and others, marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation’s capital. He drew so much media attention that President Regan asked Hope to arrange a meeting.
Among events currently hosted by the Laugh Factory is the annual Laugh Bowl search for young talent, a competition held each November on the campuses of southern California’s UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans. The Laugh Factory camera crew captures students’ comedy routines, posts the footage online and opens several rounds of voting. The top five finalists from each school compete onstage at the club before a panel of professional comedians, with the winner receiving a gig at the Laugh Factory, their name and school name up on the Sunset Boulevard marquee, and $5,000 in Laugh Factory gift certificates. The winner’s school receives the Laugh Bowl trophy and bragging rights for the year as the college with the best sense of humor.
A true comedy renaissance man, Masada also enjoyed a successful run as a magazine publisher, launching the Laugh Factory Magazine in 1983. Self-published for the first two years, Warner Publishing then began distributing the magazine nationally until 1996. Masada later suggested the concept of a dedicated comedy channel to Warner Bros., which the studio launched as The Comedy Channel in 1989. The following year, Viacom launched the Ha! Channel. Two years later, the two merged to become Comedy Central.
Masada’s marketing savvy has always merged good causes with promotion. As the country was gripped with the fear of the AIDS epidemic, the Laugh Factory was the first business in America to provide condoms to its customers. Further innovations included inaugurating Latino-, African-, and Asian-American themed club nights as well as women-themed club nights.
Masada comes to the club every day, happy to give a tour of his extensive collection of comedy memorabilia, and attends Open Mic each Tuesday to screen talent for potential comedians for the Laugh Factory stage.
Although he barely spoke English (Fasi mixed with a little Hebrew), Masada soon began performing at a local comedy venue and was taken under the wings of such comedic geniuses as Richard Pryor, Paul Mooney, and Tom Dreesen.
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