The legendary Ice House Comedy Club, which has been closed since 2019 for renovations, will be opening next year on February 9, the owner of the club confirmed.
“First of all, we’re shooting for a grand opening, a public grand opening of February 9th. The reason for that is we want to make sure that everything is finished. We should actually be finished with the building the first week in January. However, we also have to train our staff and make sure that everything works. And so we’re basically spending that time until February 9th to make sure everything’s okay and ready to go for the public,” owner Johnny Buss said.
One of the oldest comedy clubs in the United States, Ice House Comedy Club closed in 2019 after Los Angeles Lakers co-owner Johnny Buss, son of Dr. Jerry Buss bought it for an undisclosed amount from longtime owner Bob Fisher.
Speaking to Pasadena Now, Johnny said he purchased the Ice House Comedy Club to fulfill the dream of his father who passed away in 2013.
“When you’re almost the pinnacle of sports ownership, what do you do? And my dad and I used to sit around and say, what we need to do is buy a variety club and have comics and magicians and maybe a singer, come out and just really have a really great evening. And we used to talk about that literally for the last 40 years,” he recounted.
“In 2013, my dad sadly passed away. And I just felt like I wanted to fulfill that dream.”
Ice House Comedy Club opened in 1960. Legendary comics who have walked through its doors include Bob Newhart, George Carlin, Robin Williams, David Letterman, Jim Carrey, Jay Leno, Dennis Miller, Howie Mandel, Jerry Seinfeld and Billy Crystal.
When Johnny learned that the club was for sale in 2019, Fisher was already negotiating with someone else.
Believing that the sale of the club was the “perfect opportunity” to fulfill his father’s dream, Johnny offered to pay 50% more than whatever the other buyer offered, ensuring the sale went through.
Renovations at Ice House Comedy Club
Since the pandemic hit and the club could not operate due to restrictions, Johnny decided to have it renovated.
“What I’m really proud of is that the Ice House had three bathrooms prior to this [renovation]. We now have 12. So anybody who knew the Ice House knew that they should hit the toilet prior to coming or because it was always a long line. But no more.”
There will be two stages at the Ice House Comedy Club. Stage 1, the main showroom, can accommodate up to 165 people while the second showroom can accommodate up to 100 people.
The VIP room, which can also view the main showroom, can hold up to 20 people.
“Just because you’re playing in stage 2 doesn’t mean you’re any less of a comic or anything like that. It’s a smaller venue, but it is absolutely beautiful now.”
“I truly remodeled this one to have the young comics in there where they can really hone their craft,” said Johnny.
While some facilities underwent upgrades, Johnny said he tried to keep the club looking like the old Ice House, that’s why he did not touch some parts of the building including the floor and the fireplace.
The bar has the same design but it was extended to serve more people. The kitchen also has the same design but now has new equipment.
“I think we’re going to be serving some very, very good food coming up. I’m very excited about the new menu,” Johnny remarked.
The patio, which sits between the two showrooms, has been enlarged. A French cafe is being built there, Johnny added.
Aside from the club’s new look and the new food items on the menu, the management is also planning to do open mics to showcase the talents of new and aspiring comics once the club reopens.
“I think people who’ve enjoyed the Ice House before are going to really love this new renovation. And people who’ve never been there before I think they’re just going to be very pleasantly pleased at how nice of a club this is. And standup comedy deserves a club like this.”
“It’s a beautiful club and it needs to last another 60 years, it really does.”
For more information about the Ice House Comedy Club, visit: https://icehousecomedy.com