Tag Archives: Stand Up Scottsdale

Money TV, WEB

If the Price is Right: Reality TV’s effect on local businesses

An appearance on reality TV can be an effective marketing tool for any business. However, it sometimes comes at a price. There are many considerations for a business to make before exposing itself to public curiosity and scrutiny.

Arizona has seen many of its businesses take the risk of appearing on TV, whether its Amy’s Baking Co. making its now-infamous appearance on Gordon Ramsey’s “Kitchen Nightmares” or the bright-eyed youngsters of MistoBox who successfully pitched their business to Mark Cuban on “Shark Tank.”

While the experiences vary, there is a general consensus that the marketing power of reality TV is unparalleled, as not only does it often offer further reach than at the disposal of most small to medium sized companies, it is also completely free.

“Even if you look bad, you still get exposure,” said Connor Riley, co-founder of MistoBox, a company that distributes a variety of artisan coffees to monthly subscribers.

Riley’s experience with reality TV is unique.  His business, which he co-founded with Samantha Meis, was started as a project for the University of Arizona’s entrepreneurship program. They were offered the opportunity to pitch their business to the investors on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” a show where startups can pitch their ideas to celebrity investors Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Barbara Corcoran, and Kevin O’Leary.
Given that the show offers an opportunity to gain much needed capital, there was much more at stake than just marketing for Riley and Meis.  Nevertheless, he said that the marketing has proven to be significantly more crucial to the company’s success than Mark Cuban’s investment.

According to Riley, when the episode first aired his website crashed after having 100,000 unique visitors, 5 percent of which converted into sales.

“Our business grew 300 percent in a week,” he said.  “We’ve had pretty steady growth since and we haven’t had to spend a ton of money on exposure and advertising.”

Riley said, based on his experience, he would recommend any business to give reality TV a shot.

“You have nothing to lose,” he said.

Some would argue on the contrary, however.  One factor that seems to change the experience of the business appearing on a reality TV show is the nature of the program itself.

Howard Hughes, owner or Stand-Up Scottsdale, had a markedly different experience than Riley.

“It was ridiculous to see what story was told,” he said.  “It was just bogus.”

While he agreed that the exposure was beneficial, he said that there are other factors of a TV appearance that often get overlooked.

Last year Hughes appeared on “Bar Rescue,” a show that renovates struggling bars across the country. While he acknowledged the show did bring the bar exposure, he thinks that the actual changes to his bar might have caused more harm than good.

According to Hughes, the show made a lot of thoughtless alterations, including removing chairs and a grill that had to be replaced.

“We still get five to 10 people who come in each week because they saw the show,” he said.  “But, without fail, every single person who has come in, when I give them a tour of the place, they’re dumbfounded by the reality of the changes.”

He speculated that a lot of the changes made were for TV aesthetics, without concern for the actual benefit of the bar.

“They have a story they want to tell, and they’re going to tell that story,” he said.  “Had they aired my disappointment in the reveal, people would have got a totally different story.”

TV personality Zane Lamprey is on the other side of things.

Host of shows such as “Three Sheets” and “Drinking Made Easy,” he has acted as the medium of exposure for many small bars across the country.

While filming for “Drinking Made Easy,” he visited several bars in Arizona including Four Peaks Brewery, Aunt Chilada’s, and Chuey’s Mini Bar.

When shooting for any of his shows, Lamprey recognizes the unspoken negotiation between the show and the business.  In the ideal “win-win” scenario, the show gets free content and the business gets free exposure.
“We wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t beneficial to them,” he said.

There is a third party involved in this negotiation, however.  While the bar would like the show to highlight it’s amenities as much as possible, the program cannot not do so at expense to the audiences enjoyment.

“Our objective is to feature the brewery, but also have fun,” he said.  “The TV show has to be entertaining.”

Lamprey said that he avoids scenarios like the one faced by Hughes on “Bar Rescue” by being as convenient as possible for the bar.  He makes sure that he only films during off peak hours and does not enter with any kind of agenda.

He said that experiences like the one Hughes faced are frequent with other programs.

“If someone says they don’t want to appear on my show it’ almost always after a bad experience with another show,” he said.  “We make sure we’re the easiest show that could ever some through these places.”

Although Hughes said he wouldn’t go on “Bar Rescue” again, he still acknowledged that the free marketing that correlates with a TV appearance is powerful.

“I wouldn’t do a show where they come in and run things how they want again, but I’d do one that just offers the exposure,” he said, adding that despite the annoyance of fixing the damage caused by Bar Rescue’s renovations, Stand-Up Scottsdale still “benefited a little bit.”

The effect a reality TV appearance can have on a business depends greatly on the nature of the show and the business itself.  The rewards can be massive though, particularly for a startup that lacks the funds to subsidize a serious marketing effort.

“The opportunity to get the 6 million or 7 million live viewers is something we’d have to spend millions of dollars to duplicate,” he said.


Spoil Dad This Father's Day Courtesy of Stand Up Scottsdale and Clean Air Cab

Stand Up Scottsdale and Clean Air Cab have teamed up to help someone spoil their dad this Father’s Day.

PCH2-1Clean Air Cab has created an online raffle on its Facebook page giving any one who “likes” the page the opportunity to win FOUR VIP tickets to Stand Up Scottsdale.

The winner will not only have the opportunity to enjoy a laugh with the old man and two friends, but will also receive a $150 gift card, as well as enjoy free transportation to and from the event courtesy of Clean Air Cab.

If you don’t like the odds, rest assured that 25 runners up will receive two tickets to the event.

Stand Up Scottsdale is located in Old Town, and transportation for the winner can be accommodated from Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and Mesa.

after bar room

Stand Up Scottsdale Featured on "Bar Rescue" Airs April 14

Despite being a small and little-known comedy club, Stand Up Scottsdale features national touring comedians who are talented enough to capture the laughter of comic enthusiasts.

Ever since Owner Howard Hughes took over the mantle of the club last March, the club has been a destination for those seeking laughter and a good time. Unfortunately, being little-known boasts a challenge that Hughes couldn’t overlook.

“Not many people know about it,” Hughes said. “People who came, they loved it, but we just needed more for the marketing, and it’s obvious that this is a very old building.”

Searching for a solution to boost the club’s publicity was a challenge in and of itself, but little did Hughes know that the solution was right in front of him.

One night, Hughes was watching Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue,” one of his favorite TV shows, and when the announcer turned to the audience and asked for a bar in need of help, Hughes didn’t hesitate one second as he crafted an email and sent it to the show.

A month later, he got in touch with people who ran the show. Three months after his email, he shook hands with the ones he talked to on the phone, and 36 hours later Hughes gazed at the changes that were made to the club.

Before "Bar Rescue"

Before “Bar Rescue”


After "Bar Rescue"

After “Bar Rescue”

The upcoming episode of “Bar Rescue” airs on April 14 featuring Stand Up Scottsdale, and Hughes hopes that the bar will get the shot in the arm that it needs to boost publicity and popularity.

“Overall, I think it’s going to be good once the show comes out; I think people will be curious and they want to come in,” Hughes said.

To celebrate the airing of the episode, Stand Up Scottsdale will have a free show beginning at 8 p.m. on April 14, featuring comedians that are on the TV show, followed by the screening of the episode at 10 p.m.

Before "Bar Rescue"

Before “Bar Rescue”

After "Bar Rescue"

After “Bar Rescue”


Q&A With Howard Hughes, Owner Of Stand-Up, Scottsdale!

Howard Hughes, Arizona native and owner of Stand-Up Scottsdale!, sat down with us and talked about how he got into the comedy business, who his inspirations are and what Stand-Up, Scottsdale! is really all about. Hughes was refreshingly honest, referring to his club as a “B” club for its capacity (which seemed cozy) and the headliners they receive (a majority of the Chelsea Lately panel and Comedy Central Presents comedians).

How does it feel sharing a name with the former richest man in the world?

It was tough as a kid because all throughout school all the teachers would be taking role, and they’d always laugh when they came to my name.  All the teachers would be in the same room, with no walls, so they’d always come to my name, look at the other teachers and say, “Who? Which one of you is Howard Hughes?” I never knew why they laughed, but now that I’m older, nobody even knows who he is. Everyone thought he was a weatherman until Aviator came out, and it all came back.

Who would you want to play you in a biopic if you had one?

Daniel Radcliffe because he has to be younger — a lot younger.

Who are your biggest comedic inspirations?

Bill Cosby when I was a little kid. When I was in talent shows, I’d reenact his albums. I love Ron White, Lewis Black and Louis C.K. I don’t like the “silliness” comedy where they’re just saying dumb things. I like for people to be engaged and listening. A lot of people think that laughter is the only response to comedy, but it’s not. You can have a whole range of emotions. I was 35 when I ended up in Hollywood and comedy was always something I wanted to do, so I took a class.

So this started late in your life?

Yeah, super late. The classes are all about teaching you how to be funny. There is a way to write a joke if you want to do that, but you can’t teach somebody how to be a great comedian. It’s so individual to you that nobody can teach you how to do that, so if you start speaking or writing the way you’ve developed in some class, people immediately know when it’s fake and that doesn’t sell.

Tell me your best joke.

There’s a specific time, place and opportunity where people are really ready for a joke and that’s the great thing about a comedy club. It’s got to be tight, it’s got to be dark, it’s got to be cold; it’s got to be a little unsafe where people are just sitting next to strangers because then they’re uneasy, and they’re open to anything that’s comforting. I do a lot of comedy about being older but not having anything that people my age generally have. I’m still acting like the 22-year-old kid that didn’t have any responsibilities.

So you’re a bachelor?

Yeah, I’m a bachelor. It’s a lot about things like that — getting married, getting divorced, and drugs and things that everybody’s been through on one level or another but no one ever talks about. If someone in the audience can come up with your punch line, then that’s not comedy worth paying for.

Do you feel like you have a steady crowd that comes here?

Yeah, without a doubt. We haven’t done a whole lot of advertising, but it’s really word of mouth that’s been building us. We just got a new investment group, so we have a large group that is bought in; that will happen this week. The marketing is going to look a lot different, a lot more aggressive.

Do you perform weekly here, too?

Yes, every single week.

What advice would you have for people trying to get into stand up comedy?

Just to go out and do it. You’re never going to be ready, and no matter how much time you put into preparing yourself, everything you do in your first year you’re probably not going to be doing in your second. It’s one of those things where there’s a lot of ego involved.

When a joke bombs, how do you deal with it?

It depends on where you’re at in comedy. A lot of guys who have been doing it for 10 years don’t even acknowledge it because they know the joke works, it just didn’t work right now so — boom – on to the next one.

That’s a good attitude!

It’s a hard attitude; it’s like being a hot chick and having someone not think you’re pretty. At the stage where I’m at, five years in, if something bombs, I generally call it out. It’s a technique in comedy where you don’t pretend like something didn’t happen. Everyone heard the plate break, so it’s a split decision to just roll through it or bring it in to your act.

Do you feel like you do a lot of improv on stage?

Yeah, that’s kind of the stage I’m at now. The problem with improv is to make it fresh, original and relevant every time you do it. A lot of people do improv, and it’s the same “improv” every time they do it. That’s where the integrity in what kind of comedian you are comes in because you instantly have to tell your brain, “Don’t say that again!” Comedy is a lot like being a clown, and I don’t like that, and I don’t let that come here. You have to be a super original clown to be like, “Man, I’m really glad I saw that clown.”

So like a Cirque Du Soleil clown?

A good comedian is more like a matador though, it looks like somebody is just stabbing a bull but that’s not just what’s happening – that’s the least of what’s happening. There’s a whole lot of artistry and tradition that goes in there and until you train your eye to really see it and recognize it you don’t know it, you just perceive it on an under your skin level.

For more information about Howard Hughes and Stand-Up, Scottsdale!, visit standupscottsdale.com.