That's Not Funny: Comedy Club Owners Trade Putdowns in Email Exchange

Categories: WTFlorida
PerrySak.jpg
Perry Sak: Which club will he choose?
Last week, we heard from Pete O'Neil, the newcomer to Fort Lauderdale who decided to speak out about the FDA's antiquated ban on blood donations by homosexual men. That's not the only issue he's going to battle for -- it appears he's taking to the bullhorn in his business as well as his personal life.

O'Neil was eager to tell us about his new business venture, the Fort Lauderdale Comedy Club, an upcoming outpost of his Sebastian Comedy Society. A couple of days later, he forwarded an email he had sent to the United States Department of Justice, alleging anticompetitive practices by an established club, the New York Comedy Club in Boca Raton.

Inside, see O'Neil's missive and rival club owner Donald Siegel's "crap"-filled response.
Here's O'Neil's May 5 letter to the Department of Justice, copied to his lawyer and Siegel:

US Department of Justice
Citizen Complaint Center
Antitrust Division
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Room 3322
Washington, DC 20530
 
My name is Pete O'Neil. I am the Managing Partner of Sebastian Comedy Society, LLC
Our firm is in the process of opening a new comedy club venue in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Our goal is to have a traditional club that showcases performers committed to the art form of stand-up comedy.
Today we were informed by a comic performer, Perry Sak, that he was just contacted by the owners of The New York Comedy Club in Boca Raton, Florida and told that if he performs once at our new venue we will be "black listed" at their venue and will never be able to perform at their venue again.
Mind you, Perry is paid as an independent contractor and there is no written formal contract covering restrictions on his services to competing local clubs.
We just got word this morning that a large comedy club firm operating out of indian reservations will also be telling comics that they cannot perform at our venue or they will not be able to ever work at their club again.
Unfortunately having worked in this industry for over 22 years this is not a new practice. It goes on nationwide every day.  This illegal policy makes it harder for young upcoming comics to make a living at their trade.
We respectfully ask for your office to look into this matter since it's believed that this conduct by club owners and managers violates federal antitrust and labor laws.
 
Sincerely,
Pete O'Neil
Managing Director of Sebastian Comedy Society
Owners of Fort Lauderdale Comedy Club
pete@comic.com

And Siegel's response, less than an hour later:

-----Original Message-----
From: drspa2@aol.com
To: pete@comic.com; nycomedyclub@aol.com
Sent: Thu, May 5, 2011 5:28 pm
Subject: Re: Letter to US DOJ regarding complaint in comedy clubs


Hey Schmuck:
 
Why don't you lie a little bit more about the fact that you have been in this business for more than 22 years. You have been in this business for probably less than a year when you decided to get inside information from me about "buying a comedy club in South Florida". That was just a guise to try to learn as much as possible as well as to get contact information about local comedians that you would otherwise have not been able to get on your own. I guess you decided to try to open in Fort Lauderdale because you were totally unsuccessful in your are of Sebastian and Vero Beach. I will assume based upon the crap that you put together on your own that you called comedy shows, that you were thrown out of the venues that you were doing shows at. Now I guess your plan is to try to bring your crappy shows to Fort Lauderdale where your quality of show will not be any more successful than it was where you just left.
 
Let me also inform you of the totally legal and justifiable way of producing a show. If we are trying to sell tickets to our shows and someone else uses the same names before we have the performers it will interfere with our ticket sales. Therefore, we never tell anyone that they cannot perform at your new temporary venue. We simply have a policy that states that any performer that performs at another venue in our area will not be booked by us six months before or after they work at the other venue, Including your venue. We never tell them that they cannot perform at your venue. We simply inform them of our policy and they can make up their own mind as to where they would prefer to perform.
 
I don't think that the Hard Rock Hotel that hires Louis Black in May is going to want him performing a month before he is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars at your venue without some restrictions on the time frame he is allowed to perform in this are at another venue. That is totally justifiable and legal. And if you were really in this business for more than 22 minutes and had any professional courtesy you would not try to book comics that are already booked elsewhere anyway. Bring in your own crappy performers. You know, the ones that got you kicked out of Sebastian and Vero Beach.
 
Since your record in this business is that you will probably not be in business for very long, that is a choice that those performers have to make on their own.
 
Donald Siegel
New York Comedy Club, Inc.
We called Sak, the alleged "blacklisted" comic. He says that Siegel's club does in fact impose a six-month ban on its performers appearing at other venues in the area. "The New York Comedy Club has been my home club since I got into comedy," he says. So he's likely to stay put, even though "Pete's a good guy and he's going to open a nice club."

In March, Tim Durham, president and CEO of National Lampoon, which runs another comedy club on Fort Lauderdale beach, was arrested and charged with running a $200 million Ponzi scheme. As far as we know, Siegel and O'Neil are not engaged in similar antics.


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19 comments
Pete
Pete

Today is May 9th 2012 and Fort Lauderdale Comedy club is opened and making $ local crowds love the place..Also today New York Comedy Club is closed? I guess good guys win in the end!

Businesspro
Businesspro

I had the unfortunate displeasure of meeting Seagulls wife today.  I've never met a more obnoxious full of themselves business owner in my life.  Not only is she annoying loud, she is the worst possible representation you could ever have for a business.  I can speak for the husband but if he puts up with and sleeps next to that, I pity him.  Did I mention that she isn't much to look at either?

Timk2000
Timk2000

Siegel is part of the problem here. Luis Black will only perform at Siegels club for the right price and at this stage of his career Siegel cannot afford him. Black plays the Hard Rock Live which seats 2000 people at $75 dollar a ticket. Siegel has a room that seast 220 and has no way to book Black there. Maybe when Mr. Black is in his eightees and not yelling quit as much siegel will lift his 6 month ban on working competing rooms. Customers are not driving from Boca to Wilton Manors to watch a one night a month show, and if they are, they obviously like the acts and will probably go to their show in Boca also. Siegel and his many club owners play an under the table game of "book him, don't book him". I myself started stand up in 1982 Mr. Siegel and have met dozens of owners like you. Deep down you don't care who works where and when as long as you can make a buck off it. TK

Willie
Willie

Perry Sak, Doug Almeida, & Lenny Travis, do stuff together, a riot!!

Wfp1935
Wfp1935

Perry Sak is the Greatest !! 

Dave E
Dave E

Doesn't anyone remember the Pyramid schemes heard tell of in the Galleria Mall circa 1983 that started the real estate "flipping" phenomenon in Victoria Park?

parkland man
parkland man

Found this at Christie's site. Cleveland, Ohio - April 10, 2004 A Cleveland lawyer who specializes in debt collections admitted Friday that he helped the head of a Columbus-based collection agency defraud his creditors of millions of dollars. Martin W. Elson, 44, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court here to a felony count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Judge Algenon Marbley did not set a sentencing date. Elson was the last of 11 defendants who have pleaded guilty since 2001 to conspiracy, money-laundering or tax fraud charges in an elaborate swindle masterminded by Richard D. Schultz, the former CEO of National Revenue Corp. Court papers show that Schultz conceived the scheme in 1994 after a federal judge in California awarded $5 million in legal fees and interest to three creditors who had won a civil lawsuit against Schultz in the 1980s. In an attempt to evade payment of the debt, Schultz hired Elson and several other corrupt lawyers and accountants to buy the civil judgment against him at a discount by purporting to be adversaries when they actually worked for him. Mark Yost, a U.S. Department of Justice prosecutor in Washington, D.C., said Elson and lawyers from Columbus, Canada, Florida and London, England, assisted Schultz by filing bogus legal documents and staging a phony "controlled" deposition at which Schultz perjured himself. Court documents show that the lawyers also helped Schultz hide assets from his $11.3 million sale of National Revenue Corp. by having the money transferred to offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, Luxembourg and elsewhere. IRS agent Dennis Hanzel testified that Elson continued the charade even after learning in 1998 that a federal grand jury was investigating the scheme, filing documents in a federal appeals court that were designed to make it appear that he was Schultz's adversary when he was actually on Schultz's payroll. Schultz, his brother, Thomas, and disbarred Columbus lawyer Larry Carnahan are all serving prison sentences. Seven other defendants await sentencing. The 11th defendant, Clearwater, Fla., attorney Warren A. Wilson III, committed suicide after being indicted in 2002. Elson was fired as a partner in the Cleveland law firm of Keevican & Weiss after he was indicted. He declined to comment after his guilty plea and was allowed to return to Cleveland pending the completion of a pre-sentence report

parkland man
parkland man

A well-known Miami-Dade County lawyer who pleaded guilty to selling tens of millions in pharmaceutical drugs without prescriptions on an Internet site serving buyers across the country was sentenced to 40 months by a federal judge in California on Thursday.Robert Smoley, a former mayor of North Bay Village who has represented numerous high-profile clients during his career, admitted he and others distributed in excess of $48 million worth of drugs through his company, United Mail Pharmacy Services.Federal agents say the 59-year-old attorney set up an elaborate distribution network from a warehouse in Florida, where he and others shipped drugs after taking orders over the Internet and call centers in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. Smoley admitted to selling more than seven million pills through more than 17 online pharmacy sites – with most of the orders between 2001 and 2008."The Smoley drug trafficking organization fed the habits of drug seekers while its members chose profits over the health and well-being of those customers," said DEA Special Agent Anthony Williams after Smoley's guilty plea.

parkland man
parkland man

Some good things about a comedy club is when they talk about lawyers and what scumbags they really are,and people can really relate to it,because they are the fn scum of the earth and its pretty funny,that's the only funny thing about a lawyer.Other then that most of them look like snake oil salesman there fat,ugly,bald and they stink,they wear the same cheap suite 5 days a week,and then have it cleaned and probably threaten the dry cleaner on some bullshit to sew them to get free dry cleaning.what a fn pac of dirtbags lawyers are.

Guest
Guest

I don't see anything on Ch 10 by Bob Norman. No blog no nothing.

BlacktipShark
BlacktipShark

Who cares? I sure do miss Bob Norman already.

Marymiami237
Marymiami237

Run don't walk to see this guy before HBO grabs him!!! He is an absolute riot!!!!! 

Joe6
Joe6

typical shitbird lawyer

unowho
unowho

I think Bob starts on the 16th

Joe6
Joe6

Blogs are neglected and a low low low priority at Channel 10. For continuities sake and to retain readers (us) he should have demanded that 10 have his blog up and running for him. Then again...maybe Bob is taking a well deserved vacation before starting at 10

Intuitively Obvious
Intuitively Obvious

Trying CraigsList Rants and Raves. Appropriate venue for this crowd.

jhanson45
jhanson45

 I think he's pretty damn funny ! 

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