For the past two years, life as a budding comedian was difficult for Paul Singh. The Fairfax Station resident would have to travel to the District of Columbia to appear in comedy shows, while worrying about parking and the safety of his car.
But with the new opening of a comedy club that he and two others have created, Singh hopes to give local comedians, as well as local audiences, a venue where they can laugh the night away.
"Even people who like comedy don't like to go to D.C. because it's too far, and the parking," Singh said.
Singh, along with comedian and agent Ricki Shakelford and Fairfax entrepreneur Rajesh Kachoria, want to bring comedy into the heart of Fairfax. Using Kachoria's banquet hall as a venue, the three hope to establish a large comedy club attracting national talent.
"We thought it'd be a good concept to offer the community some nice, clean fun," said Kachoria, who has owned the Monsoon Restaurant and Banquet Hall on 10418 Main St. since February 2003.
The club, set to open Thursday, Jan. 29, will feature weekly shows with local and regional talent. With the banquet hall's seating capacity in excess of 500, the club's organizers hope to draw enough crowds while keeping the cover charge low.
The banquet hall is currently rented out for wedding receptions, semi-formal events conducted by George Mason University, bar mitzvahs and business seminars.
Kachoria wanted to expand his business beyond the restaurant, and with his friend Singh, he agreed to the idea of a comedy club.
"I wanted to do something different, I wanted to do something diverse, I wanted to do something fun," Kachoria said.
Kachoria had also been willing to open the club after Singh assured him that as the hall's owner, Kachoria wouldn't have to worry about fights or scuffles breaking out.
"You can never get mad when you're laughing," Singh said.
To help find comedic talent, Singh paired with Shakelford, whom he met at a show in Leesburg. Shakelford, a 20-year veteran of comedy shows, was not only a comedian but runs a production agency that books comedians.
"People can sit back and laugh," said Shakelford, who is based in Baltimore. "Most little towns need a comedy club."
Shakelford would eventually like to book big-name talent to the comedy club, such as Jimmy Walker and comedians who appear on Comedy Central and BET.
"I'm going to bring in some of the hottest talent Fairfax has ever seen," Shakelford said.
The opening night for the club is Thursday, Jan. 29, giving comedy fans another place besides Sterling, Tysons Corner and the District to go to for laughs.
"If the club is successful, it will be the biggest club in the area," Singh said.