It was due to open on Thursday, but a leak on the 6th floor of the Palladium caused by the early monsoon showers, led to water dripping onto the brand new floor of The Comedy Store’s auditorium on Wednesday night.
So, although the international comics have arrived, India’s first dedicated comedy club will now open a day late, on Friday.
It is, in fact, opening six months late and just before the monsoon is scheduled to hit Mumbai. But founder and CEO of The Comedy Store, Don Ward, is unfazed: “The show must go on. I’ve opened up eight clubs and not one has opened on time.”
The 300-seater auditorium of India’s first dedicated comedy club on the third floor of the Palladium will be readied today for the opening show. The dining outlets and bar will open later.
“Some equipment was stuck in customs and this along with missing builders and electricians and long lunch breaks contributed to the delay. So the grand opening has been pushed ahead to July 3. We don’t want to party in overalls,” Ward jokes, who admits he has his fingers and toes firmly crossed.
The cost, that he is splitting with his JV partner Amar Agrawal, managing director of The Spa Group, has shot up to Rs 20 crore. Ward says that setting up a business in India has been more difficult than expected because he was dealing with suppliers who were thousands of kilometres away.
The Comedy Store will open on Friday night with two free shows and continue till Sunday. “This is my present to Mumbaikars, but I warn you, no more free shows so you’d better make the most of it,” chuckles Ward, adding that for the first time the city will get to watch comedy sitting in a ‘black box’ (an intimate dark auditorium) that is far superior to school halls.
India’s first dedicated comedy space
Each week three professional comics will come to Mumbai to perform observational comedy according to the international format of one MC and two stand-ups putting on shows that last between 30 to 45 minutes each, with a 15 to 20 minute interval in between.
The shows will run for just over two hours and take place from Thursday to Sunday. Tickets are priced between Rs 500 to Rs 700. For the rest of the week, the venue will be hired out for private parties, conferences and also ‘live’ music and film screenings.
The 24,000 square feet Comedy Store has:
Tiered-seating dark auditorium that seats 300 around a semi-circular stage, with state-of-the art sound and lighting.
Pictures of comics that have graced Comedy Store stages line the walls.
A Comedy Store Diner serves Tapas, there’s an adjacent bar.
A Comedy Store Café serves coffee and pastries baked in the in-house bakery.
There’s also Canvas, a multi-cuisine restaurant, with a separate bar and lounge area, and a 50-feet canvas, for visual projections.
The restaurants, bar and cafe will open seven days a week to everyone and not just those visiting The Comedy Store.