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New comedy club hopes to lure big-time laughs to Rose City

by: GROSSMAN,

Laughs are coming to Portland, as owner Marc Grossman plans to open the Helium Comedy Club in late July, promising to routinely bring national headliners to the Rose City.

It'll be located on the second floor of a building at 1510 S.E. Ninth Ave. - the intersection of Southeast Ninth and Hawthorne Street.

Grossman owns a Helium Comedy Club in Philadelphia and he had been looking for a couple years to find the right city to open a second location.

'Portland, being a top-30 city, is without a good comedy club … and it's a city that really enjoys comedy as evidenced by viewership of Comedy Central and theater attendees,' says Grossman, 36, who lives in the Philadelphia area. 'We're going to bring in headliners that you see on movies and TV.

'Portland is a young, hip major metropolitan city that loves comedy and doesn't get to see it that much.'

Told that Harvey's Comedy Club and Restaurant has been open for years, Grossman says his club will attract more national headliners, and Harvey's also focuses on restaurant cuisine. Helium will have food, but not to the extent that Harvey's does.

Grossman says the club will have 275 seats in 10,000 square feet of space and 'there's not a pole in the showroom - sight lines are amazing, and it'll be two-tiered. The ceiling will be dropped to nine feet and it'll feel like a comedy club should feel.'

Portland comic Auggie Smith, who was on NBC's 'Last Comic Standing,' gets things going, July 29 to 31, with tickets $15 to $25. They can be purchased at www.heliumcomedy.com.

Other shows lined up: Natasha Leggero, Aug. 5 to 7; Maria Bamford, Aug. 12 to 14; Bill Burr, Aug. 19 to 21; Jimmy Pardo, Aug. 26 to 28. Go to www.heliumcomedy.com for tickets and information.

Grossman says the club is booked through December and is likely to attract such notable comedians as Greg Giraldo, Norm MacDonald, Doug Benson, John Heffron and Hal Sparks. He also hopes to book Kevin Nealon and Craig Robinson.

He plans to have the club open Wednesdays through Saturdays initially, with an open-mic night Tuesdays.

Grossman says he traded stock and options for a large company for 14 years, but left to focus on his comedy clubs.

He says ticket prices will vary. Parking at Southeast Ninth and Hawthorne 'is actually pretty good, it's basically free everywhere and tons of spots, there's not a lot of nighttime business around there other than the Lucky Lab,' he says.