Dave Robich takes comedy seriously.
As owner of the Funny Farm Comedy Club – a mainstay in the Mahoning Valley for decades – he has to.
Robich has moved the location of his club numerous times in recent years, and usually to be where the demographics dictate.
Two months ago, the club moved to its latest location on the third floor of the Knox Building at 110 W. Federal St. in downtown Youngstown. It’s the same building that houses The Federal bar and grill, and is smack dab in the middle of the nightlife district.
Although Robich was leery at first, moving downtown was a no-brainer, and the new location has been a hit from day one.
“We could not ask for a better start,” said Robich.
Almost every show has been sold out or close to it, he said, and audiences love it for the most part.
“The comedians and the patrons seem to like the character of the room, and the old-building charm,” said Robich.
Some of the region’s top comedians have already played the Knox Building space, plus a national act in Kevin Farley.
Another national act will arrive this weekend when local favorite Basile returns to the Mahoning Valley.
Basile will do two shows Friday night and two more Saturday night. Tickets are $27.50 and can be reserved by phone at 330-759-4242 or online at funnyfarmcomedyclub.com.
Looking ahead, the schedule includes Greg Warren, Mark Price, Tammy Pescatelli and Matthew Broussard.
Robich will also continue to work with The Federal and other downtown restaurants to create dinner-show packages, and an overnight package is in the works that would include a room at the new Doubletree Hotel.
HOPEWELL THEATRE TO USE NEW SEATING FOR ‘SNOOPY’
The Hopewell Theatre will unveil its new tiered seating Friday, when its production of “Snoopy, the Musical” opens a two-weekend run.
The risers, which were donated by Youngstown State University, will be set up on three sides of the performance space, which will be in the middle of the room.
“It will be more personal and intimate, since the audience is so close to the action,” said Tracie Balentine, director of the show.
Seating capacity for “Snoopy” will only be about 60. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. Call 330-746-5455 for reservations.
The risers will not be used for all future shows – only those with small casts and that would be improved by a different format.
The theater, which is at 702 Mahoning Ave. in Youngstown, will continue to use its stage, and will arrange seats in a variety of ways based on what makes sense for each show.
Balentine says the donation of the seating risers is just another example of the supportive and cooperative environment of the Youngstown theater community.
The Hopewell, by the way, has donated its old church pew seats to Dublin Grange Theater in Canfield.
As for “Snoopy” – it will appeal to all ages, said Balentine.
“Everyone has grown up with these characters,” she said. “The performance is replete with dad-like jokes and well-known skits that are sure to make your inner child chuckle. These characters are naive and innocent at times, and wise and introspective at other times.”
Guy D’Astolfo covers entertainment for The Vindicator. Follow him on Twitter at @VindyVibe.