2009-01-21 / Front Page
Years-inthe making comedy club opens
Prime Time launches with five shows by Jim Breuer
Alocal couple is enjoying the fruits of years of planning and hard work, with the grand opening of their latest business venture, the Primetime Comedy Club & Theatre on Route 9 in Sayreville.
The grand opening is a special occasion, not only because popular comedian Jim Breuer is headlining the five shows from Jan. 15-17. It is the culmination of three years of designing, securing approvals and renovating the building, which cost owner Kevin Seltzer and his wife Eva Doukas-Seltzer $1.2 million to complete.
"This is our baby," Eva Doukas-Seltzer said. "We figured, if we are going to go through with this, we're going to go all the way. We didn't hold out on anything."
The comedy club, located in Sayreville Plaza, is a dream come true for the Seltzers, and it shows in the attention to detail they put into the nearly 10,000-square-foot structure. The building was formerly home to the Cinema 9 adult movie theater, where the floor was slanted so that viewers could see over the patrons in front of them. Kevin Seltzer, who is a professional builder, decided to go with a three-tiered design instead, but he noted that the facility is handicap accessible.
"There is not a bad seat in the house," he said. Kevin Seltzer grew up in East Brunswick with his brothers, Butch and Adam, and now resides in South Brunswick with his wife and children, Ethan, 7, and Gavin, 5. In 2003, he opened the adjacent Primetime Sports Bar & Billiards Café, which he will continue to operate alongside the new comedy club.
Eva Doukas-Seltzer noted that patrons will be able to arrive early for a comedy show and play a game of pool or get a drink beforehand, since the comedy club and the bar and billiards hall are connected. She said the menu of the comedy club includes shrimp cocktail, sushi and filet mignon. The club is 18 and over; 21 to drink.
The comedy club was originally intended to be a New York-style venue; however, the Seltzers decided to make the venue upscale and design it for multiple uses, so that the facility could host plays and other events in addition to comedic performances. The owners said they would book a variety of corporate and family-oriented events, including birthday parties and bar mitzvahs.
Kevin Seltzer noted that the club just hosted a New Year's Eve event with comedians Joe Vega, Craig Carmean and Goumba Johnny. He said patrons went to the adjacent bar after the show and watched an Ultimate Fighting Championship game on the flat- screen television screens mounted on the walls of the bar.
Butch Seltzer said the comedy club has 320 seats, plus 80 luxury skybox seats, along with full audio and visual capabilities, so that corporate guests holding a private event can use a large computer screen for presentations. He said the venue will also hold open-mike nights so that area comedians can showcase their talents in front of Roger Paul, a New York-based comedy agent who will be there periodically to evaluate performers.
"This has become an entertainment complex," Butch Seltzer said of the Primetime complex. "There's really nothing like this in New Jersey, where you can go and spend an entire night and do a varied amount of things."
Paul, who Butch Seltzer met during his five-year stint as a comedian, helped the club draw several big-name performers, including DC Benny, Eddie Clark and Al Lubel.
"I eat, sleep and breathe comedy," Paul said. "I like to do research and watch up-andcoming acts."
Paul complemented the Seltzers on the comedy club, which he said is an exceptional venue for comedians and is also conducive to holding youth and theatrical events.
"That's the way a comedy club should be, because as much as it is a comedy club, it's also a theater," Paul said. "Sayreville needs something like that."
The tile floors, individual bathroom stalls, green rooms and hand-painted murals on the wall are some of the comedy club's more distinctive features. Special attention even went into the iron and wood railings, which the owners noted were custom made.
Kevin Seltzer said one of the most timeconsuming elements of the renovation process was the expansion of the facility to a two-story structure. This allowed the owner to build the skybox seating, a feature that he noted is not normally found in comedy clubs.
Kevin said the venue was designed so performances could be filmed. A film crew would get the best view of the stage from the rear center owner's box, which is also going to be used for celebrity guests and dignitaries.
Butch said the comedy club had a soft opening in November in preparation for this week's grand opening.
"We opened officially the night before Thanksgiving," he said. "They got the temporaryC. O. [certificate of occupancy] that morning and they opened that night."
Kevin said the soft opening in November allowed the owners to work out any kinks before the appearances by major performers. The roughly 50 employees of the club, includingwaitresses, cooks and hosts, are ready to go, he said.
The owners expect to hold a benefit for the Brothers Helping Brothers Relief Fund, a charity that provides financial assistance to the families of firefighters killed or injured in the line of duty. Radio personality Goumba Johnny is going to host the show, which will include a comedian who is a current firefighter in New York City and another one who is retired.
"We're hoping to raise a lot of money for the firefighters," Butch Seltzer said.
For more information on the comedy club call 732-721-6555 or visit www.primetimecomedyonline. com/ on the Web.