The Long Island City comedy club is offering classic B movies and comedy cult classics during weekend brunch and special Wednesday screenings in addition to its regular schedule of live standup comedy performances.
The new offering is part of an upgrade at the club, at 47-38 Vernon Blvd., that was nearly shuttered and sold during the summer.
“We got hurt by Hurricane Sandy,” said one of the owners, Steve Hofstetter. “Hunters Point was like a ghost town, nobody was on the streets during the six busiest weeks of the year.”
The business suffered more losses during the winter when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority shut down subway service to Long Island City for 13 straight weekends. The ownership group began to drift apart as Hofstetter moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Hollywood, writing and developing comedy projects for television, while building on his own standup career. Another owner, Jacob Morvay, gave up his part of the ownership after the birth of his child.
“I was OK selling if it stayed a comedy club,” said Hofstetter. “We had a good offer, but the guy got cold feet and backed out. The next best offer wanted to turn the club into a hair salon.”
The ownership group devised a new business model and gave the club’s general manager, Steve Sharp, a 5 percent piece of the action.
“I spoke with the other investors and it was either put more into it or let it die,” Hofstetter recalled, “and letting it die wasn’t an option for me because we put so much into it over the last two years.”
Sharp came up with the movie scheme, installing a 99-inch screen and a new projection system. Tickets to the weekend brunch is $7 with food available from El Ay Si, the restaurant next door. Wednesday showings are $3 a ticket.
“We’re also working on a film festival for next year and special kids events and sports nights,” said Sharp. “Anything to use the space when we don’t have live comedians performing.”
This weekend “Goonies” is scheduled for Saturday and on Sunday The Laughing Devil will screen a Three Stooges marathon.
“I think it’s really starting to catch on with our customers,” Sharp said. “We’re starting to see familiar faces return several times a month now.”