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Atlanta Comedy Theater replaces Legends in Norcross

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Friday, October 16, 2015

A new comedy club opened this past weekend in Norcross dubbed Atlanta Comedy Theater, led by the man who opened Uptown Comedy Corner in the 1990s.

Gary Abdo, who has run eight previous comedy clubs, considers this one the nicest one he's ever put together. It replaces the short-lived Legends Comedy Club that was open in the space for about six months earlier this year.

In a non-descript shopping center off Jimmy Carter Blvd. two and a half miles east of I-85 next to a Food Depot, the club looks a lot nicer on the inside than out. It features a lush, red carpeted entry area, chandeliers throughout the space, big screen televisions on every wall, an interactive “social wall," private VIP booths, elegant fabrics draped throughout and a fine art collection all through the space. He also hired a chef Ernesto Salas to ensure quality food.

Abdo will market the club as "mainstream" as opposed to "urban." These are words used in the business to mean he will book comics of all stripes and not simply target black audiences. Indeed, before opening weekend, he advertised on country station Kicks 101.5 and pop station Q100.

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And given the diversity of Gwinnett County, he won't ignore Asians and Latinos. He booked Aida Rodriguez, who appeared on this past season's "Last Comic Standing." She will do mostly English language shows but also one in Spanish on Halloween weekend.

Atlanta Comedy Theater seats 280, about the same as the Punchline Comedy Club which shut down earlier this year. And he plans to be open Wednesday through Sunday, including an open mic night.

Artist Abraham Hernandez painted portraits of famous comics such as Louis CK for Atlanta Comedy Theater. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/

Late last year, Abdo helped out promoter Bryan Gatlin to open Legends Comedy Club in the same space. But the two sides didn't agree on how to market the club and Abdo stepped away.

Gatlin, in an interview, said he sold the club to a Ricardo Briceland a few months later because "it was more time consuming than I thought it would be. I was there all hours of the night. I have kids and a family. It didn't jive. The work I had to put into it didn't add up to the pay I was receiving."

Abdo left Uptown Comedy Corner, now in downtown Atlanta, three years ago, but he got the bug to do run a club again. The fact Gatlin spent a bulk of the upfront money to renovate the club (which had been a Chinese buffet) made it an easier decision for Abdo to jump in. Abdo wouldn't say exactly how much he spent to upgrade the furnishings and sound system but it was less than $100,000.

Abdo himself wanted to be an actor but realized he was a better business person. "I understand the passion and drive of an artist but I don't have it anymore," he said. "But sitting in the back of the room watching a comic slay a room, it's a great feeling."


Atlanta Comedy Theater

4650 Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Norcross


Atlanta Comedy Theater seating chart
The theater in renovated form.
The menu

About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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