Tom Simes admits he’s a bit of a control freak.
But it’s with the help of his staff and his partners that Stir Crazy Comedy Club in the Westgate Entertainment District was born.
“It’s really about trusting people who know what they’re doing,” Simes said.
Stir Crazy Comedy Club, which celebrated its grand opening October 5, is an intimate venue, Simes said.
“I’m a big fan of small comedy clubs,” said Simes, who is also a comedian. “We have three great clubs in town—Tempe Improv, Stand Up Live and House of Comedy. They’re all big clubs with big names.
“My wife and I go to The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. The original room seats about 100 people. I think that’s just the best environment for stand-up comedy. I like small rooms in which the energy fills it. We wanted to open a small room with national talent.”
When he was searching for a space, he was impressed by Westgate.
“Westgate has a great energy to it,” said Simes, who lives in North Central Phoenix. “The West Valley is starved for stand-up comedy. As I started to familiarize myself with the area, we found Westgate. I didn’t realize there was such a big nightlife out here.”
Stir Crazy Comedy Club doesn’t have a minimum drink requirement, and it offers a handful of dishes ranging from teriyaki steak skewers and spicy Asian slaw to personal pizzas.
“We put quite a bit of thought into the menu,” he says. “We have full entrees, but we wanted to do interesting things like gourmet popcorns that we make here, with flavors like caramel and bacon, and Jamaican jerk.
He relied on his team to help him create the menu.
“I know comedy and I know how to produce comedy shows,” Simes said. “I don’t know anything about the food industry, or construction, dealing with the city, etc. I’m a control freak. I’ll admit it. It was tough for me to let go and trust people.”