SANTA ANA HEIGHTS : Club Must End Adult Entertainment Show

A Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that a comedy club turned topless dancing venue must end its nightly adult entertainment show.

The Laff Stop, in an unincorporated area near John Wayne Airport, began featuring female topless dancing in February after the stand-up comedy business turned sour.

Laff Stop officials made the switch without applying for an adult entertainment permit from the county.

In July, the court issued a temporary injunction to stop the "Newport Fantasy" show. A three-day trial was held last week in Superior Court, with Judge Ragnar R. Engebretson issuing a permanent injunction Wednesday.

"We are not trying to put them out of business," said county Deputy Counsel David Chaffee, who argued in court that the club is violating the county's adult entertainment ordinance because it is within 500 feet of a residential area. "They can go back to being a comedy club."

The club can still feature female dancers as long as their breasts are covered, Chaffee said.

Laff Stop attorney Paul Mast asserted in court that the club, which has had semi-nude male dancing since 1979, was exercising its free expression rights by including female dancers.

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