When folks think of a comedy club, they usually picture a dark intimate room in the big city. But fans who may not live in or close to a city have to depend on traveling to see their favorite comics, or settling for TV appearances, podcasts, or recorded albums to satisfy their need for comedy.
As with any business, the ability to expand your customer base and increase the reach of your product is a necessity, and if allowed to stay the “same”, you run the risk of losing customers if you are not refreshing not only your product but the customer’s ability to access the product.
Joel Richardson of Soul Joel Productions has been promoting over 200 comedy shows in 21 states annually in both major cities as well as local venues (half of them charity events). He decided to take a hard look at his customer base and made a decision that made sense – why not bring the comedy to them rather than forcing them to always “travel” to a comedy show. As fans grow older, have families or other responsibilities, the concept of travelling to see a show becomes more cumbersome and those fans will eventually drop off.
Serendity took over. A loyal fan/friend who had been coming to shows for over 10 years approached Joel about the possibility of bringing comedy to Royersford, PA, a small town of about 5,000 people that is taking it’s first steps on a downtown renaissance. The town is about halfway between Philadelphia and Reading and has changed from an industrial area to bedroom communities. The friend introduced him to the president of the town council who threw up a question on Facebook – “would you like a comedy club in Royersford?” Within 24 hours he had hundreds of yes votes, so much so that they took the post down.
The town then jumped in to provide venue possibilities, and soon Joel had a location at 155 Railroad Street along the river and decided to take the plunge – he would open a comedy club in this little town along the banks of the Schuylkill River in addition to continuing to promote comedy shows in 21 states on the East Coast.
The first month of shows is full of great headliners. The club will be opened by Vic Henley (already sold out) and acts in the first couple of months include Kevin Brennan, Joe DeRosa (coming home to Collegeville), Aunt Mary Pat Sabatino and Shuli from the Howard Stern Show. Area reaction has already been full of excitement – “I can’t believe one of my favorite comedians is coming to Royersford!!”
The concept seems to be a good one. Plenty of current customers have attended prior shows live in the area, the venue is easy to get to and has plenty of free parking and is BYOB. So it only costs the price of a ticket, usually around $20. Will the concept take off? Will this be a model of moving or supplementing comedy clubs out of the major cities, or will that create conflicts with comics who would rather stay “local” rather than travel?
Tix are available at souljoelscomedyclub.nightout.com