As proprietors of one of the oldest comedy clubs in the country, the Glazer family has experience negotiating economic minefields that have destroyed lesser characters in the entertainment industry over the past 35 years. While a number of other Kansas City clubs has altered format or simply shut down recently, Stanford and Sons has endured by adopting a creative new business model--a change that owner Craig Glazer suggests is marking a new era in the comedic profession and entertainment culture.
Before I meet Craig, one of the comedians on the night's roster tells me he could be described of as "more 'L.A.' than anyone in L.A." That had me confused until the 50-something club owner made an appearance in the blue "Green Room." Constantly on the move and talking non-stop in his cigarette-scarred rasp, Craig projects the kind of voluble hyperactivity of a real operator. His semi-pompidour hair, scruffy goatee, and heavy dark-framed glasses complete the portrait of a unique character--one somewhat crazy, very possibly shady, and inarguably brilliant. One of my favorite types of people.
Craig regales me with tales about his past as a college student turned con artist ripping off drug dealers turned undercover cop--a life story chronicled in his memoir The King of Sting, now under development as a feature film. With digressions so interesting, I have to keep reminding myself to ask about how comedy is surviving the recession.