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Is Disney's Hollywood Studios thinking of turning PI's "Comedy Warehouse" show into this theme park's seasonal safety valve?

Jim Hill

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Is Disney's Hollywood Studios thinking of turning PI's "Comedy Warehouse" show into this theme park's seasonal safety valve?

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I know, I know. It's the holidays. So hearing people go "Ho-Ho-Ho" this time of year isn't all that unusual.

But that steady wave of laughter which has been rolling out of the ABC Sound Studio at Disney's Hollywood Studios since this past Sunday, that IS kind of unusual. Especially since WDW Guests have been howling at a show that's supposedly permanently disappeared when all of the clubs on Pleasure Island were officially closed down back on September 27, 2008.

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So what should we make of the success of "The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special," which has been doing turn-away business ever since this resurrected improv comedy show began presenting six performances daily on December 25th?  While it's way too early to start talking about this old PI favorite possibly becoming a permanent fixture at the Studios, there is a rumor making the rounds that DHS Entertainment is looking to make "Comedy Warehouse" this theme park's seasonal safety valve show.

"And what do you mean by 'safety valve show?," you ask. Well, have you noticed that - during the busiest time of the year for the Resort - Disney's Hollywood Studios' old "Hunchback of Notre Dame" theatre is sometimes pressed into service as a movie theater which shows Disney & Pixar shorts? This is done so that Guests who visit WDW on days when this theme park is expected to be filled to capacity will then have something additional to do. Which -- in theory, anyway - helps shorten the lines and/or takes some of the heat off of this park's most popular rides, shows and attractions.

This is what DHS Entertainment is thinking of doing with "Comedy Warehouse." Presenting the 22-minute-long version of this old PI show inside of the ABC Sound Studio during those times of year when the Walt Disney World Resort is typically insanely busy (i.e. the weeks around Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, Spring Break, etc). Which would then give this theme park a flexible & affordable way to entertain and accommodate more visitors during these periods.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Mind you, the downside of this plan is that "The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special" is a kind-of-expensive live show to produce. To pull off a proper performance of this improv comedy show, you need five Equity-trained actors. Not to mention a stage manager, a pianist, someone to handle the sound & someone else to work the lights. And then when you factor in the Cast Members necessary to manage the crowds in the queue, you're talking a pretty pricey piece of live entertainment. Especially when you consider that DHS's reincarnated "Comedy Warehouse" can't recover its production costs in the way that the old PI version of this show used to (i.e. by selling alcoholic beverages to the patrons who were watching that particular performance).

Another complicating factor here is that - in order to have the ABC Sound Studio open & available for seasonal presentations of Disney's Hollywood Studios' version of the "Comedy Warehouse" -- this building then has to stand empty for much of the year.  Which means no permanent replacement for "Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey."  

Which I know is going to upset a certain group of Imagineers. Given that - for several years now - they've been campaigning to transform "Sounds Dangerous" into the new indoor home of DHS's "Star Wars: Jedi Training Academy." Which would then eliminate the need to regularly cancel presentations of this hugely popular, 30-minute-long interactive outdoor show due to Central Florida's changeable weather.

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But that said ... Let's remember that there are other areas at WDW theme parks (EX: The old Wonders of Life pavilion as well as the Odyssey restaurant at Epcot, Tomorrowland Terrace and the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon at the Magic Kingdom) that are kept locked-up-tight / deliberately under-utilized much of the time so that they can be then used during the busiest time of the year. So keeping ABC Sound Studio empty for 40 weeks out of the year so that this venue could then be pressed into service during Disney World's busiest times to present a seasonal theme park version of PI's old "Comedy Warehouse" show would fit that pattern.

Of course, none of this is going to happen if WDW management doesn't get behind this idea. Which is why - as audiences have been streaming out of this DHS theater, raving about the improv comedy show they've just seen  - the stage manager of "The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special" has reportedly been standing by the exit, loudly proclaiming that " ... if you like what you just saw, please drop by Guest Relations and let them know."

And given that I know that there are Equity members in the Central Florida area - many of whom are Comedy Warehouse & Adventurers Club veterans - who would dearly love to have a venue on Disney World property where they could once again perform family-friendly improv ... Well, I'd like to echo what the stage manager of "The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special" has supposedly been saying. That - if you'd really like to see this sort of show continue at Disney's Hollywood Studios (even if it's just on a seasonal basis) - please make a point of dropping by that theme park's Guest Relations office and then let the Cast Members who work there know how you feel this show.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Otherwise, after the last performance of "The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special" is presented on January 1st, 2012, those Ho-Ho-Hos may Go-Go-Go and never return.

So let's not let this resurrected piece of Pleasure Island slip away forever, folks. If you're headed to Disney's Hollywood Studios between now and Sunday, be sure & stop by Guest Relations and make your voice be heard, okay?  

And with New Year's Eve now just a day away, 2011 is rapidly drawing to a close. If you'd like to show how much you've enjoyed the past year's worth of stories here on JHM, please feel free to place something green in this site's new tip jar.

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  • I'm glad to see the Comedy Warehouse come back, even if it's temporarily. And if it knocks out "Sounds Dangerous for a while, so much the better; that show seems more like an excuse to get into air conditioning and take a nap more than anything else these days.  

    As far as the cost, here's a open suggestion to Disney management: Couldn't you offset the cost by having a drink and snack cart of some kind in the lobby of the attraction? Granted, it's not going to make as much money as a nightclub selling booze, but it's something. You can thank me later. :)

  • Frankly, my hope is that if Comedy Warehouse is a success, SOMEONE will wake up and think about resurrecting both the Comedy Warehouse and the Adventurers Club in a new location.  My vote would be on the Seven Seas Lagoon adjacent to the TTC.  That would make it easy to capture guests from the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, and all the Magic Kingdom hotels.  Another location could be the Boardwalk.

    Sounds Dangerous was an OK show, it's just OLD.  SIXTEEN YEARS!!  It's time to replace it with another sound show.

  • We saw four of their shows on the 27th.  They did a great job and the crowd was really into it.  It would be a great high traffic option for the current location or somewhere in EPCOT.

  • It seems like they could have put this in the Superstar Television theatre and packed all the seats, and moved the sad, tired American Idol Experience to the ABC Sound Studio.

  • Bummer - we were in the Studios on the 2nd, and commented on how odd it was that Sounds Dangerous was still sitting empty.  Guess we just missed it. (And the previous night we were walking along Pleasure Island, and I was grousing about its demise as well.)

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