Rick Bronson is redefining stand-up at Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy at High Street
Rick Bronson is redefining stand-up at Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy at High Street.
By Sondra Barr
For Canadian funny man Rick Bronson, owner of Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy, keeping audiences entertained is the name of the game. His live-entertainment venue in the charming High Street shopping center in Phoenix recently celebrated its year anniversary and by all accounts the laughter keeps flowing. A rotating lineup of the nation’s funniest comics regularly takes to the House of Comedy’s Valley stage to trigger belly laughs of epic proportions. North Valley Magazine sat down Bronson, a comedic impresario, to find out just what makes Arizona audiences crack a smile.
Q: Out of all the places across the country, why open a comedy club in North Phoenix? Would you say we’re in need of some comic relief?
A: My family became Snowbird residents here six years ago. We fell in love with the city, the community, the culture––everything. My wife Tammy recognized how quickly the Valley was expanding (she’s much smarter than me) especially northwardly, and we saw potential for our live comedy venue. We couldn’t be happier that we opened. We feel very fortunate to be a part of this great community.
Everyone is in need of comic relief, it isn’t geographically exclusive. Laughter is after all the best medicine. Mind you, medical marijuana is pretty good too! I mean, I’ve been told. Sorry Sheriff Joe.
Q: Are Phoenicians generally a tough crowd? How do they compare to the audiences you get at your two other comedy clubs in Edmonton, Alberta and Bloomington, Minnesota?
A: I think Phoenicians make great audiences. They are smart, educated, and most importantly they don’t take themselves too seriously. Just try doing a Botox joke–– you’ll see, nobody walks out in a huff. Compared to our other markets this is a much hotter audience. No really it is! Minnesota, Canada––freezing right now! Good weather. Clean living. Phoenicians are already on the comic’s side before the first joke has been told.
Q: Where have you found to be the toughest city in the United States to make people laugh? Easiest? Why do you think that is?
A: I have always found government centers like D.C. to be tough to perform in. I think big government cities tend to be overly PC. Political correctness is every comedian’s Achilles heel. Politics in general aggravates me. I think the late Robin Williams defined the word perfectly––‘Poli’ from the Latin meaning many and ‘tics’ meaning blood sucking parasites.
The easiest city is every comic’s home town. Everybody likes a local boy/girl done good story.
Q: Most memorable Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy High Street memory to date?
A: Helping raise almost $65,000 for The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America through our Comedy for a Cause event nights. We’ve hosted many charity shows, but being a long-time sufferer of Crohns disease, I couldn’t have been more selfishly happier. It was a wildly successful night and I’m looking forward to our second annual event next November. Note to self, stock up on toilet paper.
Q: What’s the key to a successful comedy act?
I’ve always told young comics that they need to write from their heads and their hearts. In other words be passionate about your subject matter. The topic could be incidental to many but your passion and beliefs will come across in your performances. Love what you do and it will love you back. That and don’t suck!
Q: Who’s your all-time favorite comic (besides yourself, of course)?
A: Wow, that is such a hard a question. You may as well have asked me which of my two sons I love more––the youngest one. I’m a fan of so many comics. My personal preferences have always leaned towards high-energy explosive comics who are fearless. Comics who say what they want and how they want.
I was always a big fan of the late Sam Kinison and George Carlin. Two very different styles, but both with incredible vernacular abilities.
Nowadays, I’m inspired by young comics who are so passionate about the art that their enthusiasm is contagious. Like any other job it is easy to get jaded when you’ve done it for so long. It’s invigorating to spend time with young comics who are in the courting stage of their stand-up relationships. Ah, young love. Makes you smile.
Get your laugh on at Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy on High Street
4th–7th Owen Benjamin
11th–14th DC Benny
18th–21st Alice Wetterlund
25th–28th Harland Williams
3rd–6th Orny Adams
9th–13th Jimmy Shubert
16th–20th Ms. Pat
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