The Laugh Factory opened in a tiny storefront on the Sunset Strip in 1979. The Laugh Factory's owner and founder, Jamie Masada, comes in almost every day and attends Tuesday Open Mic Nights to screen possible comedians for the Laugh Factory stage. The Laugh Factory now has only two locations, both located in California: Laugh Factory in Hollywood, California and Long Beach, California.
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A weekly stand-up comedy series originating from the Hollywood location, Comic Strip: Live, aired late Saturday nights on the Fox network from 1989–1994. The series was hosted by John Mulrooney (1989), Gary Kroeger (1990–91) and Wayne Cotter (1991–94). For a seven-month period starting in November 1990, the show was renamed Comic Strip: Late Night to differentiate it from a short-lived Sunday prime-time spinoff, which featured weekly guest hosts and originated from other locations.
Jamie's passion for comedy started from age 6 when his father a cantor and accordion player rewarded him for being good by taking him to see his first moving picture. The two stood outside the window of a local TV repair shop mesmerized by The Three Stooges. Although the TV wasn't getting the best reception and the two couldn't hear the movie through the glass, Jamie's father invented his own clever story to the delight of his young son. Jamie stood with wide-eyed amusement transfixed to the broken television screen and laughed until he cried. His father then said something to him that set the stage for the rest of his life, "making people laugh is the greatest mitzvah of all." Masada also inherited his father's comedic chops. At a wedding, almost a decade later, a Hollywood producer spotted Jamie doing a Three Stooges reenactment and encouraged his father to send the young talent to America. Confident in his son's abilities, Masada's father pawned his beloved accordion to help raise the funds necessary to send his son to The United States.
Barely 14 years old, Masada arrived in America with a big heart and an even bigger dream. He soon found himself sleeping in a garage and working odd jobs to make money to send back to his family. However, none of these obstacles deterred him from his passion for comedy.
His persistence paid off. Although he barely spoke English which he mixed in with Hebrew and Persian, he was soon working with comedians in a comedy club. Such comedic geniuses as Richard Pryor, David Letterman, Jim Carrey, Rodney Dangerfield, Red Foxx and Neal Israel, took Masada under their wings.
A dispute over club owners refusing to pay comedians drove Masada to create The Laugh Factory in Groucho Marx's old building at the age of 16.
With a small loan from Neal Israel, he was able to turn his dream into reality, while simultaneously helping comedians
Recognizing Jamie's passion, Richard Pryor was the first comedian to serenade the Laugh Factory stage in 1979. Masada offered to pay Richard, instead Pryor handed him a hundred dollar bill and wrote on it, "You need this for your rent, boy."
Masada has always been ahead of his time and was called a true visionary by the LA Times. He earned this reputation through brilliant marketing strategies and business ventures- inspired by his passion for comedy.
As the country was gripped with the fear of the AIDS epidemic, The Laugh Factory was the first business in America to provide condoms to its customers. This stroke of marketing genius brought the Laugh Factory national exposure and Masada became a hugely sought after guest on the national press junket. Over the next three decades, Jamie Masada would constantly return to the forefront of national media. In 1985, Masada marched down Pennsylvania Avenue with Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Red Foxx, amongst many others in The Laugh Factory's campaign to send the first comedian into space. The campaign drew so much attention that President Reagan asked Bob Hope to arrange a meeting with Masada.
USA Today called The Laugh Factory the number one comedy club in the country.
Masada seems to always meet great success each time he has put his passion behind a project. In 1983 he launched The Laugh Factory Magazine. After two years of self-publishing, he was approached for national distribution by Warner Publishing. Although he declined to sell his magazine he still possessed a desire to work with Warner Brothers and shared his vision for an all comedy channel and comedy awards.
Masada has enjoyed a lengthy career as a consultant and producer on some of Hollywood¹s most successful comedy film franchises; as well as on numerous network and cable television shows. His knowledge and expertise has made Masada the leading authority on all things comedy and his advice is very highly regarded amongst the entertainment industry's top power brokers. Many in the industry seek his guidance and he remains a huge mentor to countless superstars and industry professionals.
Masada produced the late-night show 'Vibe' with Quincy Jones. Masada's knack for spotting talent and his uncanny business genius is superbly illustrated by his work with 'In Living Color.' He was instrumental in getting the producers to audition two of its biggest break-out stars, Jim Carrey and Jamie Foxx. Masada, along with Bob Israel, were the driving forces to get Ace Ventura: Pet Detective off the ground.
Most recently, Masada produced a film with Damon Wayans "Behind the Smile at The Laugh Factory" with numerous popular comedians.
Masada's passion for comedy is closely matched by his charitable contributions. His work with underprivileged children won him a NAACP Freedom Award, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor for humanitarian efforts, as well as the ACLU Freedom of Speech Award, among many others.
Comedians who have performed in the club include Jim Carrey, Dante, Michael Richards, Bob Saget, Carlos Mencia, Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, Rodney Dangerfield, Jeff Dunham, Jerry Seinfeld, Derrick Cameron, Brad Williams, Damon Wayans, Paul Rodriguez, Dave Chappelle, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, Louis CK, Kathy Griffin, Dane Cook, Nick Cannon, Sunda Croonquist, Stephanie Miller, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Troy Thirdgill, Max Dolcelli and Roseanne Barr.
The Laugh Factory made headlines when Michael Richards went into a racist outburst toward two black men who were heckling him during a November 17, 2006 standup comedy routine at the venue. In response to the Michael Richards incident, The Laugh Factory banned comedians from using the word "nigger" in their acts. The first known incident involving this new rule involved Damon Wayans, who used the word 16 times in a 20 minute show. He was fined $320 ($20 for each offense) and given a 3-month ban from the club.
The Laugh Factory plans to join the ranks of those banks and corporations who are lining up in front of the United States Congress for a bail-out. The Laugh Factory is presently engaging in a petition to fund what owner Jamie Masada calls an "Economic Cheer-Up" where A-list comedians would volunteer to tour around the country to bring laughter and a meal to those struggling during these economic times. All the money received would directly lift the spirits of a burdened people by funding a nationwide comedic tour. Masada stands firm in his beliefs and says that "…I believe that through comedy and laughter, we can help lessen the stresses and tensions that are plaguing our citizens in this economy and in doing so, make the recovery come that much faster." Masada estimates that such a bail-out would require just 700 thousand, less than 0.0001% (1/10,000th of 1 percent) of the currently proposed stimulus package. With the support of Congress, the Laugh Factory and its group of struggling and professional comedians can launch a grass roots movement to get on a bus and revitalize a nation in desperate need of laughter... one joke at a time.
The Laugh Factory keeps track of an endurance record for the comedian who can deliver the longest single set at the prestigious club. The record-holding performances are listed below:
|January 2, 2008||7:34||Dane Cook|
|December 3, 2007||6:12||Dave Chappelle|
|April 15, 2007||6:07||Dave Chappelle|
|April 10, 2007||3:50||Dane Cook|