Back in business: Tempe Improv reopens - KMSP-TV

Back in business: Tempe Improv reopens

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TEMPE, Ariz. -

It was the place where all the big named comedians performed in the valley, but the iconic Tempe Improv shut down last year after money problems.

Now it's being reopened with new owners who hope to revive the one time destination for laughs.

The final touches were being made at the Tempe Improv Thursday night -- the comedy club is set to reveal its brand new makeover opening day.

The club is less than 24 hours awa from opening its door and there are some very big changes here.

"We changed the seating, the tabletops, we built a beautiful bar upstairs -- a VIP bar upstairs so people can come in and if they want to just relax at the bar," said Joel Bachkoff.

Bachkoff is one of the new owners and says it was more like a rebuild than a remodel.

"There's a lot of changes that we did, but I feel we kept the integrity of the club," he said.

Before his death, former owner Mark Anderson accused Bachkoff of stealing comics away from his club an driving him out of business.

Bachkoff also owns Stand Up Live in Phoenix.

"Unfortunately like everything in this world, there's always one to two.. three sides to every story.  Unfortunately it was a sad ending, but yet his wife is now involved with us," he said.

Bachkoff says Anderson's wife, who also owns part of the club, was the one who approached him to revive it.

Matt Komen, another owner, admits the situation is unique.

"It's a tough answer because the honest answer is something we didn't want to get into.  We didn't steal.  It's tough to get into because there's obviously some sadness behind it," he said.

Bachkoff hopes to put the controversy behind him.  He says Anderson's legacy lives on here.  The club now has a new look and a fresh start.

"I feel good about it.  I feel like we did the right thing by reopening and if you look at what we built here, we built something incredible."

Tempe Improv
930 E. University Dr.
Tempe, AZ 85281
(480) 921-9877
tempeimprov.com

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