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Tuesday, Feb 7, 2023

New Club to Bring the Laughs to Downtown Burbank

Downtown Burbank is about to become a funnier place. Barbara Holliday and David Reinitz are taking a former restaurant space and converting it into Flappers, the second location of their fledgling comedy club chain. A comedy venue is a welcome addition to the entertainment offerings in downtown and strengthens its position as a destination for locals and visitors alike that city officials envision for the area. A $190,000 economic development loan from the city was a key part for the duo to get the Burbank Flappers off the ground. Although they had saved up their own money it still wasn’t enough to make the needed renovations to turn the former Macaroni Grill into a comedy club. “The money is much needed but what is so awesome is the support of the city in general,” said Holliday, who has been a Burbank resident for going on nearly 20 years. Holliday and Reinitz have independently produced comedy events for a number of years, including in North Hollywood and the Ice House in Pasadena. Opening in August The couple have longed wanted to have their own club but were unable to find the right location. In May they opened an 85-seat Flappers in Claremont, which Holliday described as the test site for the larger location in Burbank, which will have a soft opening in August followed by a grand opening in September. When Reinitz saw that the Macaroni Grill site in downtown was available the duo jumped at the chance. They obtained a lease affordable for a small business, as well as purchasing the liquor license and all the furnishings. Even with the money the couple socked away they still fell short of what was needed to renovate the interior to make it more suitable for comedy. The ideal venue size, Holliday explained, is between 200 and 300 seats so that audience members can hear and interact with the performers. It is that sense of hanging out with a comedian that makes comedy a unique performance, she added. The main room at Flappers will have 225 seats, with the smaller Yoohoo room seating 50 people. Few clubs in area By comparison, the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club at City Walk at Universal Studios has a seating capacity of 400. Other than Lovitz’s club and a smaller venue or two in North Hollywood, there is a lack of comedy clubs in the Valley region. The well-known clubs, such as the Laugh Factory, the Comedy Store and Improv, are in Hollywood or West Hollywood. Into that void step Reinitz and Holliday with Flappers. Burbank officials are hopeful that the pair will make a better go at that corner than Macaroni Grill had. The corner is problematic as there is not a lot of foot traffic as is found on nearby San Fernando Road. The advantage of Flappers is that it is a destination spot, one in which people need to make plans to visit, said Mary Hamzoian, economic development manager for the City of Burbank “People just don’t walk off the street,” Hamzoian said. And as a destination spot, the venue will have other revenue streams other than the meal tabs. Ticket sales for the shows are expected to generate most of the sales. Prices will be set between $10 and $15 to be cost effective and meet the unofficial motto of presenting an upscale experience at an every man’s price, Holliday said. The club is looking to raise additional revenue by offering the Lifetime of Laughter pass for $1,000. The pass is good for two tickets to most shows on any day of the week.“There are going to be regulars so why not give them a deal,” Holliday said.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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