Just for laughs – Partners reopen Ventura Harbor Comedy
With the current state of the economy, nobody seems to be laughing – except Randy Lubas and Andres Fernandez, the new owners of the Ventura Harbor Comedy Club.
“We are going to turn this into the entertainment source not just for the harbor, but everywhere else,” said co-owner Fernandez. He has been performing stand-up comedy for nearly 20 years and had been talking to Lubas about owning their own club since they became friends more than eight years ago.
The club, at 1559 Spinnaker Drive and formerly known as Comedy Esquire, has been under the new ownership of Lubas and Fernandez since the beginning of July, though the grand opening Aug. 8, 9 and 10. The three-day event marks the beginning of a comedic business venture that the new owners said they hope will go far.
“We’re very enthused about it and we have so many exciting ideas about expanding the number of shows to four or five a week, getting some A-list comedians and really expanding the market of the club,” Lubas said. “We’re open and looking to fully utilize the space … The sky is really the limit with this.”
Lubas has been doing stand-up comedy for 30 years. He has made dozens of television appearances and has worked in several Las Vegas casinos.
Shows will run from Friday to Sunday, and Lubas and Fernandez hope to expand the schedule by adding Thursday shows toward the end of August.
With a $15 cover charge, the club will be stocked with a full bar and plans are in the works to build a kitchen, the owners said.
They also may work with one of the restaurants in the harbor to bring food to club patrons.
“We’ve got the know-how to bring all kinds of people from all different places,” Fernandez said. “We stepped on a goldmine. It just needed somebody who really cares about this area, who was willing to put their heart and soul into it.”
Lubas and Fernandez plan to bring national headliners to the club in hopes of drawing comedy fans from all over Southern California.
They said they want to bring in at least one big-name act every month. They have already booked Shawn Wayans, of TV’s “The Wayans Brothers,” for September and Bobby Collins, a stand-up comedian from Queens, New York, for October.
The new owners are using local radio stations to help advertise their club to nearby areas including Santa Barbara, Oxnard and Los Angeles. “We want to expand the market,” Lubas said. “Bring in people from all over, not just Ventura.”
While the owners are bringing in a variety of comedians and shows, they also aim to keep the humor to what they said is an intelligent and personalized level.
They already have two scheduled TV tapings at the club. One for “Stars on Demand” and another for “National Lampoon.”
Lubas hopes to eventually turn the club into a production studio where he and Fernandez can make their own comedy programs.