Sarasota comedy club celebrates 25 years on the Suncoast

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SARASOTA - McCurdy's Comedy Theatre has been the place to go to get a good laugh here on the Suncoast. But owners Les and Pam McCurdy do more than entertain, they also step in to help out the community in any way they can. So tonight we'd like to wish them Happy Anniversary with a look back at their amazing journey.

Pam was an aspiring actress, Les a recent theatre graduate who stopped to visit old friend Ken Sons on his way to Hollywood and discovered comedy. "We started writing comedy pieces, went down to Comedy Works to try them out on open mike night, and that's what got us started in the world of stand-up comedy,” says Les.

Ken and Les came to Sarasota to break into comedy and to be near the beach. "I wasn't even a touring professional; I was trying to get there. Pam was here with the Asolo getting her Masters; we waited tables together, and that's how we met."

And on their first date: “He took me to the Beach Club...I just laughed so hard and fell in love," says Pam.

After Pam graduated, they went separate ways. But they came back together, helping their friend Ken Sons when he opened a comedy club in Tennessee. "After we got married, we wanted to live in Sarasota. We had no money, we were waiting tables…I wasn’t on the road…I think we had $1,000 saved up maybe."

Despite dire warnings, in 1988 they opened McCurdy's Comedy Theatre. It was a huge success.

Pam used her theatrical training to handle the business end. “Because of the training I've had in art school, I've always been interested in because of the training I had you always had to do the techy roll, make flats, do lights, and I loved that."

Les handles the up-front duties. "Les calling his gift is being on this stage."

A lot of the most famous comedians in the world have graced their stage. And their 19 year old daughter is now following in her dad's footsteps. The McCurdy’s say their theatre has succeeded because they are true to their mission. "This audience walks into the room for one reason, and one reason only: to laugh. And they want to walk in there and have a mini-vacation. When they're laughing, they are unable to think about their other problems."

So Happy Anniversary Pam and Les.