A Day in the Life of Les McCurdy of McCurdy's Comedy Theatre

One day with Les McCurdy of McCurdy's Comedy Theatre and Humor Institute.

By Pam Daniel November 2, 2015 Published in the November 2015 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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Photography by Robert Castro


Les McCurdy was in his 30s when he began chasing a career in comedy. He was soon headlining around the country, but in 1988, he and his wife Pam, an FSU/Asolo Conservatory grad, decided to start a club in Sarasota. They started out in a hotel banquet room, then moved to an old theater on the North Trail. Last year they made the leap into a spacious downtown building that includes a bar and kitchen. An “A” club with a national reputation, McCurdy’s now presents more than 400 shows a year, from charity events to big-name comics. The ever-enthusiastic McCurdy says he’s “excited that at 60, when many people are slowing down,” he’s in full creative mode, planning new projects from corporate seminars to an Internet comedy channel.


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8:14 a.m. “Me and our headliner tonight, Harry Anderson, doing the Jones and Crane morning show on 107.9. We’ve been featuring comedians on that show for almost 25 years. Even the major celebrities say it’s one of the best and most professional radio interviews they’ve ever done.”


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10:05 a.m. “Pam and I get in and start dealing with everything from performance evaluations to food and beverage, inventory, sales, promotions, charitable requests, theater rentals—we put in about 40 hours getting ready for the 25 hours we’re actually open to the public.”


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12:11 p.m. “Most comics don’t rehearse before the show, but Harry does—he has magic tricks, props and sound cues. We were thrilled to book him—but you know what? A lot of comics want to come here; it’s hard even for celebrities to get booked into this club.”


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1:29 p.m. “I’m taking a lesson from Matt Auen.  I love everything about golf, especially the cursing. I have a 9 handicap, 3 holes in one and my low score is 75. My goal is to shoot under par one day at my favorite course—Laurel Oak. Matt says that’s ambitious.”


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3:30 p.m. “I pay attention to my health and do something physical almost every day. My goal age is 155, and if I make it, I will have sex in the morning, play golf, host the show and at midnight, while doing a shot of whiskey with [loved ones], drop dead.”


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5:12 p.m. “Siesta Key Beach is the reason we’re here. We live very close and never take that special place for granted. I often ask people to tell me a better tropical city to live in than Sarasota. Name it! They can’t.”


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6:30 p.m. “Pam and I with Harry in the green room before the show. He’s telling us a story about working on the streets with Robin Williams in San Francisco.”


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9:46 p.m. “I’m doing the opening warm-up for the second show. We have the best audiences—and that’s not just me saying that. The national headliners say it all the time.”


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11:15 p.m. “I try to go out after each show and talk to the patrons. Tonight my fun, funny and very outgoing daughter, Taylor, [center] is here, with her friend, Suzanna. One of my greatest joys is being a dad.”


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