No More Laughing

Funny Bone closes, but new club will rise from the ashes


On New Year's Day, the Funny Bone, located in BoDo, was suddenly no longer a destination for locals looking for a little funny and a two-drink minimum.

Instead, the roughly 22-person staff quit in what ex-Funny Bone manager Pat Mac called a "planned, orchestrated" walkout.

Mac said keeping the scheme from the owners wasn't difficult. One, they're in St. Louis, Mo., and two, Mac said they never cared about the Boise club anyway.

"All they cared about was that there was money in the account and they could keep taking all the money out and using it for whatever purposes," Mac said in an interview with BW. "We went through a whole payroll period before Christmas without paying employees."

The employees did eventually get paid, just not in a conventional way, Mac said.

"We told [patrons] the credit card machines were down and that everyone needed to pay cash. That way, there was no money going into [the owners'] account. We took that money and paid all the employees their back pay," he said.

That's all well and good for the employees, but what about the talent?

"A couple of comedians still never got paid from our club that we were hoping [the owners] would take care of it. But they're not going to, so the odds are pretty good Brian (Lee, the other ex-Funny Bone manager) and me will make it up. We'll make it up when we open our new club."

The new club will be called Crack-n-Me Up and plans are that it will open where a longtime Boise institution is currently housed. Mac said renovations to the new site—he's not ready to say exactly where, pending negotiations—will be minimal, so he plans for a mid-February opening date.

He said they'll hire employees from the new site, as well as the majority of the Funny Bone employees. "The [Funny Bone] employees have been so supportive of Brian and I ... they saw the hell the owners put us through."

Mark Rivers of BoDo Partners, the company that holds the lease on the old Funny Bone building, said he's disappointed the club closed.

"My experience with [Mac and Lee] was always positive," Rivers said. "I'm disappointed for the impact [it will have]. I acquired that property in 2002, and one of the first things we did was move the Funny Bone from an upstairs location [in the old 8th St. Marketplace] and put them down on the alley. We thought that was a really good vibe with the restaurants and the Big Easy."

But, Rivers said, he's confident that downtown can support a new comedy club; maybe even two.

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