Comedy club to host Jo Koy at grand opening

Downtown Phoenix comedy theater Stand Up Live will open its doors on the second floor of CityScape on Friday with an act by famed comedian Jo Koy. (Kristin Fankhauser/DD)

Comedy club Stand Up Live will hold its grand opening on Friday featuring stand-up comedian Jo Koy, a regular on the late-night talk show “Chelsea Lately.”

David Roderique, CEO of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, said the comedy club will be “one more piece to add to the mix” and will help downtown grow.

“For downtown, we think it’s going to be a great addition,” Roderique said.

The comedy theater is on the second floor of CityScape, with a mix of wood and stone wall paneling giving it a new-vintage feel. The background of the stage will be an image of downtown Phoenix from the 1950s.

Matt Komen, one of the owners of Stand Up Live, said the atmosphere of the club is “going back to the way things used to be.”

“We want to embrace the downtown vibe,” Komen said.

Right now, there are no venues specifically for comedy in the downtown area. Big acts, like Conan O’Brien, have appeared at larger stadium venues like Comerica Theatre in Phoenix.

Stand Up Live will only have 600 seats, giving it a more intimate feel than an arena, Komen said.

Koy, who just finished recording the pilot episode for “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,” the show based on Chelsea Handler’s book of the same name, said in an interview that he was honored to be asked to be the opener at Stand Up Live and that he was looking forward to it.

“It’s going to be fun,” he said. “It’s the first time for me opening this size of a comedy club.”

Koy said having a comedy club in a downtown setting “makes it kind of a hip area.”

He added that all his material would be new in preparation for the Comedy Central special he is filming in June.

Nathan McWhorter, a broadcast sophomore and stand-up comedian, said he was excited for Stand Up Live to open because of its ability to attract bigger acts.

“It could bring life to downtown, make stand-up a bigger deal in Phoenix,” McWhorter said in a phone interview.

Having performed at local venues around the valley and the state, McWhorter added that he hoped Stand Up Live would “feature good local talent.”

Komen said getting local comedians to the venue is part of the plan.

“We definitely want to embrace the local comics and get them to the next level,” he said.

Some of the shows in the works are open-mic nights, theme nights, charity events and possibly a college comedy night.

Attached by an open walkway to Stand Up Live will be Copper Blues, a restaurant and bar. While it will not be opening on the same day as Stand Up Live, Komen said it will be part of the experience.

Komen said that after performing, comedians would hopefully come to the bar’s VIP area to do meet-and-greets and just enjoy themselves.

“We want to give people an experience to come downtown,” he said. “We want to get people down here and keep them down here.”

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