Stand Up Scottsdale / The Laugh Factory Scotsdale - Bar Rescue Update - Open or Closed?

Stand Up, Scottsdale Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Standup Scottsdale Comedy Club in Scotsdale, Arizona.

Standup Scottsdale is owned by Howard Hughes.

He has a background in comedy and opened the club after a divorce.

He teamed up with Nathan, an investment banker to open the club.

Nathan put up $180,000 and Howard was the manager but they lost $19,000 in the first month after opening.

Howard focused on performing every night and left staff without a leader and as a result the business is falling apart.

Now the club has a bad reputation with both customers and comedians for badly run shows and bad service.

They have lost $50,000.

Jon recons the bar with expert mixologist Franky Marshall and career comedian Gianluca Rizza.

They see the exterior of the bar and there is no marquee to show who is performing that night.

Jon lets his companions know about the ownership and dynamics of the club.

Franky is asked to go in and find out what was going on.

The bartender is talking to people and ignores Franky who tries to get his attention for about ten minutes.

Franky gives up on getting a drink and is taken to sit in the VIP area where a server finally gets a drink for her.

Howard gets on stage and makes so many awkward jokes including about wasting Nathan’s money.

Twenty minutes in, other comedians get on stage and Franky still has not got her drink.

They grill food by the front bar and it all gets smoky in the club.

Franky gets her drink and it is bad.

Jon calls Franky on the phone and no one stopped her from picking up during the show.

Jon goes in to confront Howard and he has excuses for everything that is wrong, including the smoky room.

Jon checks behind the bar and sees that it is messy and dirty.

Jon hits him with some honesty and he is humbled.

Jon asks to see some paperwork and the office is a disorganised mess with unopened bills.

The next morning, Jon comes back and meets Nathan and all of the staff.

The staff say the club is not being run well.

They point out some obvious things Jon noticed the day before and they had told Howard about previously.

Howard says he is more concerned about being the face of the business.

Jon points out Nathan is writing checks but Howard has no skin in the game so behaves inappropriately.

Jon introduces his experts to the staff and they begin training.

Franky trains them on making cocktails quickly and quietly so the focus can be on the stage.

They should make more of stirred drinks and she uses a decibel meter to make sure they keep the noise down.

Gianluca asks Howard and the staff to treat him like a guest and points out and corrects the service.

They soon get into an argument about what comedy is about.

There is a two-drink minimum but Gianluca corrects them saying they should have a two-item minimum.

When they order food, they will likely order more drinks.

Jon has created a quick and easy basket food menu for the stress test.

They open for the stress test.

It is thirty minutes before the show and the plan is to have drinks with the customers before the show starts.

The bartenders make mistakes and make one drink at a time.

They fail at the first goal of serving everyone before the show.

Jon has comedians come to perform but the green room is not hospitable with an odd smell.

Soon customers are seated for the show but the front seats are left empty.

Howard does not take responsibility for the mistake.

The kitchen is having some problems as they have twenty tickets waiting.

Customers are seated, the show is twenty minutes late and the customers mostly do not have food and drinks.

The show starts and there is a heckler in the audience.

Howard does not take care of it and bar staff can be heard chatting over the show.

A mic blows in the middle of the set and customers start walking out.

Jon and Nathan point out all that went wrong.

Howard is still in denial and goes into his office to hide.

The night is allowed to end even though the test was a failure.

The next day, Jon introduces Owen Benjamin, a well known Comedian to give some perspective.

They inspect the green room and he sees it is too small as it is supposed to be for family as well.

The booth is too strip club-like, the stage decor is not nice and there is dead space.

Franky trains them on making sophisticated cocktails.

Jon decides to get Shannon, Howard’s sister and Nathan to talk to Howard about how he has been operating.

They manage to get through to him.

Jon sends Howard and Nathan to Hollywood’s Laugh Factory.

Jamie the owner is willing to help and they strike a deal.

Thirty six hours later, the club has been renovated and the staff are gathered at night to unveil it.

The bar has been renamed and is now called The Laugh Factory, Scotsdale.

There is a marquee that is visible from afar and the franchise brand will be beneficial for them.

The interior has been modernised and made classier.

The kitchen area has been walled off with fryers, a prep table and a refrigerator.

Their show room is warmer, the green room is bigger and there is red carpet leading to the stage.

The stage has been redesigned for more room and seating is closer.

The bar has a new POS system and a lit backbar.

Owen Benjamin will be performing for the relaunch and they spend time setting up before letting customers in.

On relaunch, the bartenders start very well working fast to get drinks in everyone’s hands before the show.

They make quality drinks and the customers are taken into the showroom and seated up front.

As the food and drinks came out early, they can sell more during the show.

Owen loves the green room and he comes out to perform to the applause of customers.

What Happened Next at Stand Up Scottsdale?

Six weeks later, it is revealed Howard and Nathan are still in negotiations with Laugh Factory to retain their brand.

Howard is now an attentive manager.

He still performs his comedy but only on open mic nights.

Owner Howard undid a number of the changes made including those to the green room as they lost seats in the club during the change.

They also reverted to their previous name and are no longer part of the Laugh Factory brand.

Bar Rescue had to return to repaint the exterior due to breaching local policy with the colour.

In a Back to the Bar episode things got heated between Howard and Jon.

Stand Up Scottsdale moved locations in 2016.

Stand Up Scottsdale closed in April 2017 with plans to reopen in 2018, however this didn't happen.

This post was last updated in February 2022.

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