Laughs and Legends at The Ice House Comedy Club

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | 8:27 pm

Bob Fisher, Owner - Ice House Comedy Club

Bob Fisher, Owner – Ice House Comedy Club

This is the story of a humble night club located in an alley off a one way street that has grown to become Pasadena’s source of pride, having showcased some of the country’s comedy greats from George Carlin to Robin Williams, from David Letterman to Jimmy Fallon.

This is the story of an intimate club that has welcomed over five million people in the last 55 years—that’s over five million people who dined, drank, and laughed their hearts out.

That club is the Ice House, whose small stages have gained world-wide notoriety.

“This is a club that, even after 55 years, is still at the top of its game,” said Bob Fisher, owner of the Ice House Comedy Club for the past 38 years. “This is our 55th anniversary which makes it the oldest club to continuously feature comedians in the United States, and probably in the world, since standup comedy is an American art form.”

“It’s hard to name a comedian that hasn’t appeared here, from Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, and George Lopez to Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Kevin Hart, and Bill Burr. The list is really endless. I could name 50 more people, big names that have performed in the club,” he added.

The Ice House Comedy Club was founded in 1960 by Bob Stane and Willard Chilcott who welcomed comedians, folk musicians, and artists looking for a place to record their debut albums. The first comedian to appear at the Ice House was Pat Paulsen who was on the Smothers Brothers Television Show.

Soon, the Ice House Comedy Club became the go-to spot for people looking for good food and good laughs. Its small venue—a 200-seat showroom—became its selling point as it fostered an intimate relationship between the comedians and audience. “The Ice House is a kind of special little place. What’s also wonderful is you can never be more than seven rows from the stage,” Fisher beamed.

Over the years, the Ice House Comedy Club grew into a home for budding comedians who clamored for an audience and needed the thrill of being onstage. “We generally know them from the time they’re pretty young and we watch them work their way up. For instance, George Lopez was our $25 a night emcee for a year,” said Fisher.

“One of the first acts that I booked for $100 a week and 11 shows was an opening act named Robin Williams,” he smiled. While Fisher could never predict who among his regular standups would make it big, he never doubted Robin Williams’ star potential. “[There was only once] where I went, ‘Okay. If this guy doesn’t become a star, something is really wrong with the world.’ And that was Robin Williams.”

And this is what Fisher believes to be the best thing about the Club. “The Ice House is a great Club to see these up-and-coming comics where 10 years from now you’ll go, ‘Wow! I saw so and so at The Ice House’ when no one knew who he was.”

The faith that Fisher had put in young comedians definitely propelled The Ice House to where it is today, enjoying its spot in American comedy culture. And even in this age of trendy hot spots, The Ice House Comedy Club retains its intimate, down-to-earth charm, located in “an alley off a one way street.”

The Ice House Comedy Club is located at 24 N Mentor Avenue, Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 577-1894 or visit www.icehousecomedy.com.

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