By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Monday, November 2, 2015
The Punchline Comedy Club, more than seven months after shutting down in Sandy Springs after 33 years, has found a new home in Buckhead at the Landmark Diner.
It will officially open Tuesday, November 10 with an amateur night, followed by the first headliner that weekend featuring Ben Creed, followed by Debra Digiovanni the next weekend. (You can buy tickets here.)
The Punchline, the longest-running comedy club in Atlanta, has hosted everyone from Jay Leno to Jerry Seinfeld to Louis CK. It left its original home in April in Sandy Springs.
In a room in the diner that has been used for entertainment for many years, the Punchline will seat about 200 people, smaller than the original site, which seated around 270.
“It’s gorgeous,” said Jerry Farber, a veteran stand-up comic who ran his Jerry Farber’s Side Bar at Landmark for five years until September and has seen the upgraded space. “It’s going to be the hippest thing ever. I’m knocked out.”
Jamie Bendall, the majority owner, didn’t comment Tuesday about the deal.
Tommy Landros, owner of the 24-hour Landmark, said the space has been used for more than 20 years for parties, rehearsal dinners and music, as well as comedy. He noted that parking is free and plentiful. “It’s something new,” he said Tuesday at the diner. “We’re looking forward. They’re nice people.”
In August, when I first reported the negotiations, former Punchline manager and Bendall’s business partner Chris DiPetta said he would have preferred a larger space but they were unable to find a suitable one in a timely fashion.
This Punchline is less than a mile from rival the Atlanta Improv, which opened in 2012 in the Buckhead area.
DiPetta in August said he was fine with that. “I don’t care,” he said. “They encroached on my territory first. They didn’t care being three miles from us. It won’t bother me to be four blocks from them.”
“All the Atlanta clubs have different business models,” said Gary Abdo, who opened Atlanta Comedy Theater and has run eight other comedy clubs in the past, including Uptown Comedy Corner. “Having a club inside someone else’s space is not an easy model to run. I certainly wish them the best. Getting an audience to come out five nights a week is never easy. It’s a lot of work whether you are just the comedy portion or the club and restaurant.”
Marshall Chiles, owner of the Laughing Skull Lounge in Midtown, said its location will make it easier for -in-town comics to get more stage time but doubts being so close to the Atlanta Improv will help.
“I think they are going to have a serious struggle being that close to the Improv, which is bringing in so many big great comedians,” Chiles said, noting that the local comic scene has grown stronger and “can help them make great shows without having to bring in comedians from out of town.”
The Atlanta Improv’s lineup in coming weeks include Kevin Nealon (November 12-14), Steve-O (December 3-5) and Norm MacDonald (December 10-12).
Metro Atlanta now has five clubs focused on stand-up comedy: Uptown Comedy Corner (mostly black artists), Laughing Skull Lounge (smaller, hipster crowd), the Atlanta Improv, the Punchline and the Atlanta Comedy Theater, the only one outside the Perimeter.
The Punchline Comedy Club
3652 Roswell Road, NE Atlanta,