Bobby Lee finds humor in his escape from the middle class
By Carl Kozlowski 08/07/2014
Growing up in San Diego as the son of Korean immigrants, Bobby Lee was expected to take over the family business. His parents owned a five-store chain of clothing stores known as Fashion Gal, and while he appreciated the comfortable life their hard work afforded, he felt certain that working for them would eventually kill him.
“The stores catered to fat ethnic women, like an ethnic Lane Bryant,” he recalls, a mix of anguish and laughter still mingled in his voice 20 years later. “Just being trapped inside all day and having to deal with that. Standup comedy saved my life.”
Indeed, Lee found salvation in developing his own fearlessly energetic and brash form of comedy at the Comedy Store in La Jolla. And after two decades filled with successes including “Tonight Show” appearances and a long-running stint on FOX’s late and lamented “MAD TV,” the 41-year-old jokester will be bringing his high-energy hilarity to Pasadena’s Ice House Comedy Club this weekend.
His appearance comes at a prime moment in the club’s history. Famous for being the nation’s oldest continuously running comedy club and heralded as the location where more comedy CDs have been recorded than any other location on earth, the Ice House has also been named one of the five best comedy clubs in the nation (the only California club on the list) by the new book “The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny.”
With four shows coming up on Friday and Saturday, Lee will be enjoying the intimate energy the club offers between its compact crowds and performers. While he’s also a frequent performer at the Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, Lee holds a special place in his heart for Pasadena’s comedy jewel.
“The Ice House is a historic comedy club, much like the Comedy Store,” says Lee. “The owner is an amazing man and I’m privileged to play there.” n
Bobby Lee will perform at 8:30 and 10:30 Friday and 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday at the Ice House, 24 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena. Tickets are $24 for general admission and $31 for VIP seating. Call (626) 577-1894 or visit icehousecomedy.com.