Class Clowns

Tony Vicich (at microphone), an instructor for, has been teaching a group of Valley residents to do stand-up comedy. They will "graduate" by giving performances at the Tempe Improv.

Mike Sakal

Although the Tempe Improv may have had its last laugh after closing its doors on Friday, is going to continue generating the laughter at another venue.

Tony Vicich, director of, announced on Monday that he will continue hosting the six-week course for those interested in learning stand-up comedy at the Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, beginning with a free orientation at 7 p.m. on June 18.

From there, an opening course for advanced comedians will be on June 19 and a class for beginners on June 20, both at 7 p.m. The cost of the class is $325, but there’s a $50 discount for those who register the night of the orientation. ComedySchools concludes with a “Class Clown” night of the “students” performing their comedy routine.

Vicich said he was glad to pin down a new venue in time for the school’s summer session.

“We’re sad to see the Improv closing, but couldn’t be more excited about our new partnership with the Tempe Center for the Arts,” Vicich said. “They welcomed us with open arms, and we couldn’t be happier. We believe in being in Tempe and the Greater Phoenix area. We’re definitely looking forward to being in one of the state-of-the-art theaters and providing affordable events.”

Owners of the Tempe Improv announced early last month that the club would be closing on June 1, citing competition from Standup Live in downtown Phoenix, a newer club that is luring all of the major national acts.

Mark Wilson Anderson, the longtime co-owner of the Tempe Improv, was found dead in a Buckeye hotel room Wednesday. The Maricopa County Medical Examiner confirmed Anderson’s death.

Sources say Anderson checked into the Days Inn hotel May 21, six days after his family reported him missing.

Anderson, 60, was reported missing by his family on May 15, three days after he left Oklahoma City to travel to Phoenix or Dallas to do business, according to a private investigator hired by his family.

Vicich, who is interested in buying the Tempe Improv, said on Monday that he had been talking with officials at the Tempe Center for the Arts for about the last two weeks in hopes of having the school there. He also is planning other comedy acts to appear at the Tempe Center for the Arts in the future.

Tempe Center for the Arts, which also is reviving the live music scene in the city, prides itself on the diversity of the performances it features and is glad that comedy is being added to the venue, said Mary Fowler, a spokeswoman for the center.

“It’s nice for our community to be exposed to so many art forms, and comedy rolls right into that,” Fowler said. “I think it adds to the fun we can have here.”

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