This day in history: The Ice House celebrates 50 years in the comedy club business in Pasadena, Calif.
How many comedy clubs can you count that were open for business on Sept. 23, 1960, and remain in business putting stand-up comedians onstage today? Not many. But in Pasadena, Calif., in the shadow of the Rose Bowl, the Ice House celebrates its 50th anniversary tonight. Actually, the anniversary bash itself will not be held until Oct. 10, 2010, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, with an all-star cast of comedians. I had the chance to sit down today at the Ice House with club owner Bob Fisher, who has been running the show there since 1978. In the beginning, comedy and folk music acts shared nightly billings, and Pat Paulsen was the first stand-up to take the Ice House stage. Comedians who recorded live albums there in the early days included Lily Tomlin, The Smothers Brothers and Bob Newhart. One wall leading toward the main showroom features very early headshots of the likes of George Carlin and Steve Martin. On another wall, Fisher showed off some of the other old photos and memorabilia, which includes weekly contracts for David Letterman and Garry Shandling. Roll the clip: Fisher told me that taking over the reins in 1978, when the Hollywood comedy clubs were embroiled in the turmoil of strikes and unionization, was not necessarily an opportune nor auspicious time to get in the game. "We thought it was an OK...Read More