Comedy Club Heaven


Friday December 23rd, 2011 – Springfield, IL

O Springfield, dear Springfield – where have ye been all my life? Wow, what a fantastic experience all the way around. I’d heard good things about Donnie B’s Comedy Club, but it wasn’t done justice. This is comedy club heaven, and I hope I can come back regularly.

Actually, Springfield had little to do with the experience. That just happens to be where the club is located. It could be done like this in any city in America, but unfortunately it’s not. The one reason it’s so great boils down to two words – Don Bassford, aka Donnie B.

That guy is a world class entrepreneur, and after seeing how he runs his business I have nothing but respect and admiration for how he handles himself. This was a total clinic on how a comedy club and a business in general should be run. He knows what he’s doing.

What was so great about it? Everything. The room itself was done perfectly. The sound and lights were excellent, and as strange as it sounds that’s not always the case. There are a lot of comedy clubs that don’t care, even though it absolutely affects the final product.

Not only were the sound and lights on point, there was an atmosphere created. There are candles on each table and large mural type paintings of comedians on the walls. It gets an audience in the mood for comedy as soon as they walk in the room. It establishes a vibe.

There’s upbeat theme music before the show starts, and a light show that would make a disco jealous. It’s a SHOW, and the energy was built perfectly. Then, Donnie B. hosts the shows himself. He welcomes the audience personally, and lays down the rules of what to expect and how to act. He makes it clear that heckling isn‘t accepted, but does it politely.

Then, he gives away birthday prizes and tells about what’s coming up in future weeks. I have to believe most comedians probably think he’s an egomaniac for doing that, but as a student of the entrepreneurial game I can see why he does it. Who else could promote any business better than the owner? He’ll have passion that some greenhorn newbie will not.

I thought he did a hell of a job getting the crowd warmed up for both shows. He’s not a comedian per se, but he’s a fantastic host. He’s a big guy with a big smile, and he cuts an imposing but likeable figure on stage. He wears a suit and tie, and sets the scene up front.

There was a sign on stage that had my name written in large letters, so people could tell who they were seeing. That’s smart business, so if they like a comic they can ask for him or her by name. I’m telling you, Donnie B. knows how to market. I was totally impressed.

All the details were covered. He puts the comics in a nice hotel just a few minutes from the club, and when I got there I was blown away to find a stack of posters with my picture on it promoting the shows. Why doesn’t every club do all these little details? I wish I had an answer, but I don’t. Top to bottom, this was one of the best experiences I’ve had since I’ve been a comedian. Both shows were red hot, and I had a blast. I hope I get asked back.

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