Bob Perkell and Jeff Capri, the masterminds of Surf City Comedy Club, clowned around last week inside the venue with hard hats, a drill and a saw.
The comedians may not have actually been part of the construction crew at work building the Fuzion entertainment complex, but, as Perkell explained, they sought to provide a fix of a different kind.
"This town, this community needs laughter," he said. "Everybody needs laughter because life is very tough. It gives them an opportunity where they can come out and get out of their head for an hour and a half and laugh their butt off and wake up in the morning with sore abs. And people say, 'Hey, did you go to the gym?' 'No, I went to a comedy show last night.'"
If comedy indeed tightens abdomens, then Perkell and Capri may do the portly a great favor when the two take the stage on Valentine's Day for the reopening of their endeavor. Nearly a year ago, Surf City Comedy Club went on hiatus when Endless Food and Fun, the venue that housed it, closed its doors. Now, with Fuzion taking Endless Food's place, the comedy club — one of the few parts of the facility that will remain more or less intact — is set to target the funny bone again.
On Feb. 14, Perkell and Capri will share the spotlight with headliner Tom McGillen on a foot-high stage surrounded by posters of comedy greats: Rodney Dangerfield, George Carlin, Richard Pryor. It's a tough level of comedic talent to live up to, but the Huntington Beach mavens have had more than a little time to work their comedic chops during the break.
After Endless Food, well, ended last year, Perkell and Capri both hit the road — the former on a tour of other states ("In Georgia, you can tell them a joke and they'll laugh, and you tell them the same joke right after and they laugh even harder") and the latter entertaining troops overseas, as he's done over the years.
Performing for those audiences in Afghanistan, Kurdistan and elsewhere helps put humor in perspective, according to Capri.
"They are just so happy to get a little piece of light," he said. "We're thinking about offering some sort of a military deal here at the club. They find the same things funny [as civilians do]. They want a break from what their day-to-day is. We break up their Groundhog Day for them."
Speaking of recurring days: Following the Valentine's show, the revamped Surf City Comedy Club will expand from one night a week to three. The venue plans to host performances Thursdays through Saturdays, and Perkell said he and Capri hope to eventually add three other nights as well.
The comedy club reopening will provide a preview of sorts for Fuzion, which was still humming with construction last week and is set to open to the public March 3, according to Chief Executive Keeli Scott Lisack. The new venue will feature a restaurant, arcade, laser tag and banquet rooms, among other amenities, with the intent of luring a more adult crowd than the Endless Food patrons.
"We're going for more of a Dave and Buster's-type format versus a Chuck E. Cheese's-type format," Lisack said.
There's got to be a punchline somewhere in that.
If You Go
What: Surf City Comedy Club reopening with Bob Perkell, Jeff Capri and Tom McGillen
Where: Fuzion, 7227 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 14 (doors open for dinner at 7 p.m.)
Information: (949) 287-3161 or http://www.surfcitycomedyclub.comhttp://www.surfcitycomedyclub.com