Van Wert native Kyle Lane, founder of the Comedy Bar in Chicago, has announced a partnership with comedian Jim Belushi for the club’s re-launch. (Photo courtesy of Heather Scholl)
BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
VAN WERT - Kyle Lane has spent ten years in Chicago, trying to find his way in the entertainment business. The Van Wert native has tried standup comedy, acting, movie producing, and most recently owning The Comedy Bar in the heart of Chicago. Now the 28-year-old Lane has found a partner who shares an even larger vision. This partner is none other than actor, comedian, and musician Jim Belushi."Jim and I have been friends for about five years. I've filmed a movie with his son Robert, and done several shows with Robert, and even brought Robert back to [Van Wert]," shared Lane. "When I originally opened my club, Jim congratulated me, sent me a letter, and after a while he was interested in hearing more about it. I flew out to L.A., wrote up a business proposal for him as an investor, and he loved it. He loved it so much, he's not just coming on as an investor, he's partnering straight up with me."
The Comedy Bar opened in the summer of 2011 with the idea of bringing quality, affordable stand-up comedy to Chicago's downtown area. Although successful, the partnership with Belushi calls for a relaunch Oct. 18-20. Belushi is also excited about the idea.
"The Comedy Bar is filled with magic: those special and intimate moments of recognition and laughter between the comedians and the audience that only live performance provides," Belushi said. "I am excited to chase and witness the magic that happens at The Comedy Bar on a nightly basis. It's fun, it's funny and it will kill! The Comedy Bar will become one of the stars and a highlight in Chicago's rich tapestry of comedy life. We're going to have a ball!"
Lane is also excited about the teaming with Belushi. "He's great for Chicago. He's great for Chicago comedy. He's a Chicagoan himself. He's kind of like the Mike Ditka of comedy for Chicago!" Lane joked. "Since I've been in Chicago, it seems I've always known Jim, and it's been nice. He's always supported me in whatever I've done. He loves what we're doing at The Comedy Bar and wants to be a part of it."
But the Chicago club may well be only the beginning.
"We're going to build a bunch of these, hopefully," Lane revealed. We're going to try to build a chain of comedy bars across the United States. So that's the big picture, and why I want to bring him on. It's a great move on my part for my club to bring him on as a partner and go from there. It's a match made in heaven. We're both happy about it."
The Comedy Bar is open Thursday-Saturday at 1157 E. Ontario St. "We're located right by the rock n' roll McDonalds, and the Sports Authority, and the Hard Rock Cafe. We're really in the 'Times Square' of Chicago," Lane declared. "It's pretty awesome what we've accomplished and what we are going to continue to do with this comedy club."
Lane also made it a point to invite folks from his home town to come see The Comedy Bar during a trip to Chicago to see what it is all about.