A month ago, the new Dynasty Typewriter venue welcomed a surprise drop-in guest for its fifth show ever.
Adam Sandler performed for 90 minutes, new stand-up material interspersed amid several songs with an accompanist on piano, and a camera crew in tow — not only workshopping material for his upcoming Netflix special, but also filming it just in case. That Saturday night was only Dynasty Typewriter’s fifth live show. They were still working out the kinks behind the bar and in the booth. They ordered pizzas to sell slices during an intermission between a stand-up showcase and Sandler’s set.
But the SNL, movie and Netflix star already was sold on the place.
“I think everyone’s going to love it here,” Sandler said that night.
Jamie Flam, former booker for the Hollywood Improv, and Vanessa Ragland, actress/comedian and co-host of the Pop My Culture podcast, renovated and reopened the old Hayworth Theatre, which first opened in 1926 in LA’s Westlake neighborhood near MacArthur Park.
At 200 seats, Dynasty Typewriter isn’t looking to compete with larger pre-existing spaces for comedy in Los Angeles such as Largo, but provide a smaller, more intimate venue with a variety of potential experiences.
Flam and Ragland kicked things off over the winter with a successful Kickstarter campaign, aided by lots of funny friends. Broad City‘s Ilana Glazer the first to establish a residency show there. Ron Lynch brought his long-running Tomorrow! show. Other shows and A-list acts have followed. Among the comedians who’ve already graced the new stage: Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis, Margaret Cho, Kevin Pollak and Whitney Cummings.
“The soft opening has been anything but soft,” Flam said last week. “We are flabbergasted by the response we’ve gotten from LA’s creative community and its fans. Never in my wildest dreams did so much could happen so quickly.”
This video tour shows how the place looked in November:
Ragland told me they plan on experimenting with different shows through April, and will launch with seasonal programming, changing up three times each year.
“Seasonal programming gives us the unique (for a comedy venue) opportunity to really curate a cohesive few months, have artist-residencies, and create/maintain excitement for limited shows. We also get to have a healthy turn-over, so our schedule doesn’t stay stagnant and so other amazing shows and events can be featured,” Ragland said.
What do you see as Dyansty Typewriter’s niche in LA comedy?
“As far as our ‘niche’ goes, we shall see!” Ragland replied. “We are trying to embrace how comedy has evolved — with podcasting, internet content, and beyond, a comedy audience is now far savvier than ever before. We want shows to be an experience — and to have the Dynasty name be guarantee enough for a great night, without relying on the old model of just headliners all the time. The experience should start at the box office — and we truly care about every detail. Lighting, music, mood, the vibe and personality of every staff member. We are already starting to weave variety into our weekend shows, so yes you will see huge headliners, but you will also see storytellers, magicians, dancers, and more. The programming we will create (and that is already being pitched to us) will consist of well-produced shows with strong points of view — but that can range from variety, to live podcasts, music, screenings, panels, et cetera. Understanding that now a ‘comedy’ audience already loves and consumes all those things.
“We are endeavoring to create a truly special experience for both audience and performers,” she told me.
So far, so good!