The Atlanta Improv comes to the East Andrews Complex and serves the entire Atlanta area with the top pedigree and name of its big brother in New York City, The Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theatre . Founded in 1963 by Budd Friedman, the Improv has hosted acts all over the country including Billy Crystal, Eddie Murphy and more. I fully expect them to bring in top tier comedians with their spacious layout, wonderful food, and engaging acts.
The Atlanta Improv has already exceeded my expectations with a night of food, fun, cocktails, and comedy all in one place. At the club, we tried the Buffalo Kettle Chips and they were so good my husband, John, kept picking them off my plate and I had to slap his hand. For dinner, the Southwest Chicken salad was one of the best I have had in a while, with fresh chicken and a refreshing dressing. Drink wise, all over the club were fun concoctions of liquor, mimosas, beers of all types, and wines. They all looked so good but I opted for wine since I was having a light salad. If you have ever been to the East Andrews complex, you know that all the restaurants are so good and that Stout’s burger is one of the best in the city. Yum. Make this your dinner destination before the show and try anything you may want from high end fare like lamb or steak to salads, sandwiches and quesadillas.
Not only were the food and drinks good, but so was the comedy. Budd Friedman, the founder of The Improv, showed up and welcomed us to the opening night. It was awesome to get to see him in person and know what great strides he has gone through to make his clubs famous. We then were treated to Gene Pompa, who was a hilarious opener to Owen Benjamin. I wasn’t familiar with Gene until this show; he has been on Conan and had his own Comedy Central Special. Not impressed? He was on In Living Color for two years and appeared on Scrubs on ABC. Now that I saw that, I do remember him on Scrubs! Cool!
Owen Benjamin has made his way onto the stage and your screen staring or appearing in several shows of note: Jay Leno and TBS’ Sullivan & Son. He has also been in moves, such as The House Bunny, with Anna Faris. I didn’t know what to expect from him since I had never heard of him or seen him on stage before, but I was impressed with him. First off, right away he got heckled by a member of the audience named Rodney with was so fabulous and fun that we all got a good laugh. He went on to mention that he has pretty much done every Improv in the country and that this was just another notch on his list and then went on to heckle my husband, John. I honestly don’t remember what he said but it was pretty funny. Another part of his act is playing the keyboard, singing, and making fun of rappers. He grew up playing the piano and showed off his skills at playing Beethoven, while grimacing, then moving on to an Irish ditty, followed by some country. My favorite part of his keyboard bit was when he made fun of the producer, Timbaland but saying all he adds to his tracks is “uuuhhh,” which is so true if you have ever listened to a Timbaland produced song. I rolled on the floor laughing! He was a nice gentleman and even was gracious enough to take a picture with me. Side note: he is really tall!
Finally, a real treat for the audience was the unannounced guest that showed up: George Wallace! A native Atlantan, George Wallace is well-known in the comedian community and was a regular at The Comedy Store with Rosanne Bar and Jay Leno. He not only does comedy but films: Batman Returns, Punchline, and Postcards from the Edge to name a few. He came out and made a few jabs and let us preview a few minutes of his show that he currently does live at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. After the show, I got to talk to him and told him we were going to Vegas soon and he told us to come by and check him out. We didn’t get a chance to but he was a nice and talkative guy who just loves a good time. It was a real treat to see and talk to the legend.
It was a great “Evening at the Improv!” The East Andrews Complex is in a great location with plenty of parking and enjoyable food. You can park, eat, drink, and make a whole night of it here! I also would like to thank Eskimo Advertising for giving me the chance to experience this place and to have a great time!
PS: Side Hint: Prohibition is a well-known secret of East Andrews. Entering through a phone booth with a phone number, it’s a gem in Atlanta with drinks you won’t find anywhere else! Go there after a show!