Smile When You’re Losing (Data)

Watertown Police Department

If a comedy-club owner can't laugh at losing 1,500 hours of video of the earliest shows from stand-ups like Dave Chapelle and Rodney Dangerfield (and to a lesser extent, Dane Cook, a guy who definitely can't get no respect), then what business does he have working in comedy? The answer, of course, is none.

This is exactly what recently happened Jamie Masada, the man behind the west coast's vaunted Laugh Factory clubs. A third location is slated to open in the space formerly occupied by the Lakeshore Theater in Lakeview by the end of the year.

And if the way Masada handled the loss is any indication, it bodes particularly well for how he'll manage the Chicago Laugh Factory -- especially compared to the Lakeshore Theater's sad and dragged out demise. In a New York Times profile published Tuesday, Masada reflects on the irreversible loss of all that raw funny data, which he was paying a high-end professional backup service $1,200 a month to safeguard. Masada, ever a classy guy, wouldn't name what service it was, since he makes a point of not badmouthing anyone. That's a rarity in the real world, but especially so in the cutthroat comedy world.

And whereas the Lakeshore Theater didn't even have air conditioning, it sounds like Masada is primed to take that space into the 21st century. The NY Times profile explains how he hired some "Disney wizards" to build up an impressive infrastructure so he can not only manage but keep close tabs on his clubs. Remotely, he can track how drinks are selling in his clubs (which allowed him to put an end to staff stealing drinks) and how the comedians are doing (which can allow him to tweak lineups for the next time around and "be able to tell who's sweating.")

Read the full NY Times piece here, which delves even deeper into Masada's visions for the Chicago club and his proactive management style.

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