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Ie Amy Masada, Founder of Laughter Factory

Ie Amy Masada, Founder of Laughter Factory

Photo by Thomas Vasper

The money made in comedy business these days is not funny.

Revenue for the Comedy Club industry has grown by almost 17% between 2013 and 2018, according to Forbes, which estimates that the industry will continue to grow until at least 2023.

But ugh Amy Masada, the founder and chief executive of Laugh Factory Inc., won't want to discuss the dollars until he boasts of the generosity of comedy stars who have been supporting the club's annual toy gifts and dinners for decades.

Masada, who emigrated from Iran as an aspiring comic, started the Laughing Factory on Sunset Boulevard in 1979 with a $ 10,000 loan from comic writer and producer Neil Israel.

In a building owned by Groucho Marx, located in a 300-room hotel in the Laughing Factory, it has hosted almost all the comedians of the past 40 years. They include the highest-paid stand-up comedians of 2019, according to Forbes, Kevin Hart ($ 59 million) and Jerry Erie Seinfeld ($ 41 million).

Masada attributes the longevity of the Laughter Factory to the call for live performance and, well, fun stuff.

"The great thing about live performance (it) unites people," Masada said. “We sit and laugh together. it's like blowing bread together. Comedians are the least breed in the world. What I call them is a soul doctor. "

Masada combined his passion for laughter in a comedy empire that includes clubs in Hollywood, Long Beach, Las Vegas, Reno, Chicago, and one planned in Washington. D.C. The location in San Diego is scheduled to reopen in January. Masada is also the producer of a number of Laugh Factory franchises for film and television.

Laugh Factory's $ 10 million Long Beach club, which opened in 2008, has 600 seats, making it one of the largest comedy clubs in the world, even though standard comedians play in much larger audiences.

"We wanted to compete with the size of the Blues House," Masada said.

In New York, Laughing Factory closed due to a financial dispute between Masada and a business partner.

Starting strong

Initially, while many comedians performed in the local area for free to simply obey, Masada insisted that the door be divided between the club and comedians.

On the opening night of the club, head coach Paul Moon surprised Masada by coming up with comedy legend Richard Pryor.

Masada said he tried to cut Prairie off, but Prair wouldn't have fun. "He took that big money, all the $ 100 books and said, 'This is for your pay, boy,'" Masada said.

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