No high resolution image exists...
The Sacramento Comedy Spot’s lease for the MARRS Building at 20th and J streets is up in September, and owner Brian Crall said he wants to stay in the building, but that might not be possible if the rent is raised.
The comedy club has been in the MARRS Building for two years, and Crall said the business has done well there, looking to expand to having shows seven nights per week as well as beginning to offer beer, but the expiration of the lease might mean being “priced out” of the building.
“(Building owner Michael Heller) is a good guy, and he gave us an opportunity to be in Midtown,” Crall said. “We want to stay here, but he is in business too, and we get that.”
Crall said that “nobody is out to get anybody,” and Heller is working with Crall to find a solution that works for both landlord and tenant.
One of the ideas to come out of the talks was a potential partnership between The Sacramento Comedy Spot and the B Street Theatre, though it came to naught.
“We decided the two concepts just wouldn’t mesh,” Crall said.
B Street Theatre Managing Director Bill Blake said the MARRS Building is a good spot for comedy and, noting The Comedy Spot’s success in the space, said it made sense to have the conversation.
Though the partnership didn’t work out – and each side stressed that there is no animosity toward the other – Blake said that the theater saw success with a string of improvisational and sketch comedy events at the Cosmopolitan Cabaret last summer and is looking to offer similar events this spring.
“We are looking around for a space that will work for us,” Blake said. “We also have some time available at our own space, but we’ve got a lot on our plate with 19 productions and the work we do anyway.”
He said the theater, though holding its own financially, lacks the capital needed to get into a space like the MARRS Building, especially as it works toward constructing a new theater.
The positive response from the community to last summer’s comedy shows was encouraging, Blake said, adding that it’s not a direct competition to The Sacramento Comedy Spot.
“Our general feeling is that Sacramento is a great market for this stuff, and there’s room for multiple players for improv or sketch comedy.”
Crall said that The Sacramento Comedy Spot has a rich history of sketch comedy, and he wants to bring in San Francisco- or Los Angeles-based sketch comedy groups as well as bigger-name standup comedians in the future.
“This year, we’re doing a lot of new stuff we’ve never done, and adding beer sales is good,” he said. “The economy was slow for so long, but everything is starting to really move forward now.”
Crall said he has not explored other places in the city, preferring to stay in the MARRS Building if at all possible, but if it does come down to having to move, he said he wants to stay in the grid.
“If we had to move, I’d probably look to something like the R Street corridor or K Street near Pizza Rock,” he said. “We haven’t looked into it, but if I had to pick my second-favorite spot, it would be one of those two places.”
Crall said he will know by the end of the month whether he will be able to stay in the MARRS Building. Heller was not available for comment Tuesday.
Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.