Zanies comedy comes to Rosemont
Zanies Grand Opening
5437 Park Place, MB Financial Park, Rosemont
8 p.m. July 6-7
Free admission with 2 item food/drink minimum. For further information call (847) 813-0484 or visit www.zanies.com
Updated: July 8, 2012 1:34PM
Laughs are on the house July 6 and 7 when Zanies Comedy Night Club celebrates the opening of its new Rosemont club in MB Financial Park.
“There’s no admission charge for the first weekend,“ said Bert Haas, Zanies executive vice-president.
The opener’s Chicago All-Stars line-up includes Pat McGann, Dobie Maxwell and Larry Reeb, so Haas strongly suggests reservations. “I predict it will be the hottest room in the country,” he said.
It’s the entertainment, not the temperature he’s talking about. Air conditioning in the brand new space will be just fine, thank you.
The celebration kicks off at 6:45 p.m. July 6, when the ribbon is cut with over-sized pair of clown scissors.
“You have to have a special pair of scissors because if you used a regular pair it would look pretty silly,” said Haas. And Zanies is a comedy club, after all.
The new venue marks the end of an odyssey that began about three years ago when the club closed its Vernon Hills location. Haas noted that Zanies was approached at that time by the Village of Rosemont, which was developing its new entertainment zone.
After checking out possible sites in Evanston, Zanies opted for Rosemont. The original Zanies on Wells Street in Chicago’s Old Town has been in business since 1978.
The new club will seat 250. “It’s bit smaller than Vernon Hills but with that intimacy of the downtown club. The furthest seat is about 30 feet from the stage. We’ve tried to design the room so that everyone is facing the stage,” said Haas.
Food offerings Haas said, have been scaled down. “It’s not going to be a big one like we had in Vernon Hills,” he explained. “We have food as an amenity but our focus is on the stage.”
Opening weekend with Reeb, Maxwell and McGann showcases comedians that Haas believes epitomize Chicago stand-up comedy.
“Larry opened the Zanies at Pheasant Run in St. Charles in 1989, and Dobie opened and was our last comedian at Vernon Hills, which closed after 19 years,” Haas noted. He added that Sally Edwards will also do a set and, “I understand there will a lot people dropping in because everyone is curious about the room.”
The following week, July 11-12, Zanies will hold a Rosemont Appreciation Nights, with free admission for village residents.
Haas believes the Rosemont location will attract the suburban audience. For one thing, there’s plenty of parking in an 8,400 car garage or in 400 surface spots — and it’s free.
Plus, making it easier to get to Zanies, is the recently opened Balmoral exit off of I-294. “It literally takes you to the entertainment complex at the MB Financial Park,” said Haas. “We’re trying to make it as easy and fun as possible for everyone.”
Supplying a substantial amount of that fun will be headliner Larry Reeb on opening night. Reeb, who lives in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood, believes that though the world is sick, there’s still plenty funny things happening to make him a happy guy.
For instance, he said, he was recently searched by a one-armed security guard. “The guard said, ‘I’m going to pat you down and this won’t take long.’ And I am thinking, it will take twice as long as it usually does.’ That’s a true story. I look for odd stuff like that.“
Reeb is also happy about the new Rosemont Zanies because he is, in a way, back home. Reeb got his start in stand-up 35 years ago in Rosemont at the Comedy Cottage, the first comedy showcase club in the Midwest.
“I think it closed in 1986 before the big comedy boom. It was on Devon and River across from where the casino is now,” he recalled. “I would do two 15 minute sets a night, four or five nights a week for free to get some stage time. That’s how you learn.”
And what has Reeb learned over the years?
“I just try to be funny and have a good time. I try to get to the punch line as quick as I can.”