For more than a dozen years, there was a New York Comedy Club in Boca Raton. Now there’s a New York Comedy Club in Deerfield Beach.
It took just three months in late spring and early summer for the NYCC, a staple on Glades Road, to migrate southward to its new home inside the Deerfield Country Club. Furniture and cooking, sound and lighting equipment were carried over from the old space, along with the boisterous personalities of the club’s owners, Don and Stephanie Siegel. For the touring comedians who make an effort to stop by the 250-seat space, business has resumed as usual; Brooklyn comic Gil T, who has been featured on HBO and BET, performs tonight and Saturday.
“When you want something, and when you know you have a product that you’re proud of and you enjoy giving out to the public, then you’re motivation is all the more feverish,” says Stephanie. “You move right in and you take it like Grant took Richmond.”
The Siegels’ new paint jobs, both literal and proverbial, haven’t dried yet on their new location. Scrappy homemade signs have taken the place of flashy marquees, and the small performance stage is accented by elegant curtains, not comedy-club bricks. All that will change in the weeks to come, as the reminted New York Comedy Club at the Deerfield Country Club leads up to a grand opening with a big-name comedian, possibly in November.
Don Siegel knows a thing or two about booking big names – and discovering them before they were big names. He’s been a comedy guru for more than 30 years, starting in the late 1970s, when he opened a number of pioneering comedy venues around the Washington, D.C. metro area. He gave starts to young unknowns like Dave Chappelle, Martin Lawrence, Chris Rock, Rosie O’Donnell, Ray Romano, Wanda Sykes and others.
“The list is endless,” Stephanie recalls. “He used to have lines waiting around corners for people to come into comedy shows. If anybody said, ‘Hey, I want to sit in that seat,’ they got bumped, and the next person sat there, because those were the days.”
A partnership with Al Martin, owner of the New York Comedy Club on Broadway, led to development of a secondary location for the NYCC brand in Boca Raton. The business alliance has since dissolved, but the Siegels kept the name anyway.
“Let me count how many New Yorkers are in Florida: one, two, three, four, five, six, a million, a trillion!” says Stephanie. “It’s like bringing a little slice of New York home-style cooking and cheesecake; we’ve got New York-style comedy.”
But, with the NYCC’s space now occupying a country-club atmosphere overlooking a rolling golf course just east of I-95 off Hillsborough Boulevard, the multi-purpose space will be utilized for more than just comedy. The Siegels made the move from the dark, windowless Boca space to the light, airy Deerfield Beach space for the possibility of private and afternoon events, from luncheons, book readings and poetry readings to a myriad of social functions.
It’s just one of the ways this mom-and-pop operation distinguishes itself from the three Improv comedy clubs in South Florida, the NYCC’s main competition for bookings.
“We’re giving you a different side of the mountain,” Stephanie says. “I bless [The Improvs], I love them, I think we have a very amicable relationship, but I have a different clientele than they do. I have different acts, different customers, and I think there’s enough to go around for everybody. It’s the greedy that lose out in life, and it’s the giving and the sharing that prosper.”
The New York Comedy Club at the Deerfield Country Club is at 50 Fairway Drive, Deerfield Beach. For information, call 561/470-2720 or visit nyccboca.com.