Arts Desk

Riot Act Comedy Theater’s Second Act: A Bar (With Some Comedy)

Riot Act Comedy Theater is about to shed its comedic side, at least partly. The E Street NW club, which opened last August, will become a bar, but the club’s management wants to preserve as much comedy as possible in addition to featuring other kinds of entertainment.

Penn Social, the new bar, will open on July 9, and a grand opening will be held on the 14th. The remodeling is designed to appeal to more people than just those looking for a laugh, says general manager Peter Bayne. “The business model just hasn’t worked out financially for this space,” he says. “It wasn’t the place where you go out with your buds after work to get a beer.” He says the name Riot Act Comedy Theatre, especially, turned off potential customers who were looking for a less specific nightlife experience. It’s a big space, he says—“we need to fill it with more than comedy.”

The comedy club holds 320 seats, and Bayne says Riot Act has been selling about 200 tickets for each show. Summer is always a slow season for comedy, he explains—people want to be outside—but the club hadn't drawn the crowds  it needed during colder seasons to coast through the hottest months. “For a while there, we were basically treading water,” Bayne says.

Bayne says he talked to comics and their agents about what Riot Act could do to better sell its shows, but they couldn't think of anything that the club was doing wrong—Chinatown is just a tough market for comedy, Bayne says.

Jon Gann, the founder of the D.C. Shorts festival, is disappointed to lose an arts venue. (D.C. Shorts held an event at Riot Act.) The space Riot Act occupies is zoned to contain an arts component. “It’s just upsetting that no one in the city is taking responsibility for keeping up the zoning,” Gann says. But Bayne says the new bar will feature arts—live music, open mic nights, and comedy—and he says he made sure to check that it remains in compliance with the zoning regulations.

The revamped space will feature an outdoor patio, a street level bar, and a large space for games and other entertainment. “We want to be really multipurpose,” Bayne says.

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  • Big Al Goodwin

    Geoff Dawson and Margorie Heiss are the business owners. Peter Bayne is just a manager.

    Geoff Dawson (formerly known as "Capstranaut" to Capitals fans) owns several bars and restaurants in the DC area.

    He wanted this space as one of his new bar/restaurants. He found out he could get a very low-cost lease if the venue had performing arts.

    He then partnered with John Xereas (owner of Riot Act Comedy) to have the performing arts requirement met (with stand-up comedy) and get the low-cost lease.

    Once the low-cost lease was locked-in, he fired John Xereas (and several other people that John had hired) and then 3 months later made this announcement (that they are not going to be doing comedy).

    I doubt they ever have any performing arts in this space after July 9th. Geoff and Margorie know bars and restaurants - not performing arts.

    They used John Xereas's Comedy Club business plan to procure the low-cost lease.

    I hope the building owners and other investors are reading this comment and realize that the current lease should now be re-negotiated to much higher cost (since they are not adhering to the original performing-arts mandate in the original lease contract).

    There are several other unscrupulous things Geoff Dawson and Margorie Heiss have done and they are facing a litany of lawsuits and litigation as a result.

    The tactics used by Geoff Dawson and Margorie Heiss in this ordeal have been beyond shameful and I pray that anyone reading this post will not visit/support the new, "Penn Social", venue.

    I also hope people reading this will FULLY support John Xereas' Riot Act Comedy Club when it re-opens in DC (hopefully sometime soon).

  • Rob Reibold

    Well said Al. Although I don't know all the details, I do know that John X was given a raw deal and we haven't the last from him. Once again, well said Mr Goodwin.

  • The Truth

    While it’s clear Mr. Goodwin’s take on the transition from grandiose comedy club to money maker is in part factual; however it is seasoned with favoritism and over cooked with bias. All this talk of no more comedy is baloney, Geoff Dawson and Margorie Heiss are remarkable and calculating business people who will not take a loss and their track record for producing profitable bars is cemented all around DC.

    From the opening day of Riot Act it was snarled with bad booking practices, habitual repeat performers and a bad game plan over all, what you see now is simply a restructuring and damage control. Mr. Goodwin was one of a select few comedians who bathed in a champagne shower of bookings at the club before management changed hands, who I might add has no real TV credits and is not a A list comedian which the club so greatly needed.

    The DC comedy scene is suffering from a infestation of selfishness and a sweltering fever of opportunistic comics and bookers, the comedy will continue at 801 E Street, NW, Washington, DC even if it's to secure cheap rent, we can only hope that they continue to embrace the DC comedy scene in a fair manor.

  • chris hayes

    I rarely do this i met bi al and have seen hime perform trust me he is funny but to my main point to the person going as the truth even if what you say is factual nobody will believe it because you are posting under an anonymous name do like big al did put yourself out therei will trust a source i can research over one i cant!

  • Carl johnson

    He's not the real The Truth. The real Truth talks about government conspiracies, the number 23, green goo, and flying jet packs.

  • Megirene

    Apparently the truth needs a refresher course in spelling. Unless you plan on taking up residence, it's manner, not manor. And have no doubt that your reputations precede you. Even if Al hadn't spoken up, no doubt someone else would have.

  • Patience

    Unable to weigh in intelligently on Al Goodwin's critique, since it appears that Al's comment was deleted. Which indicates to me that Big Al hit a nerve...

    Fortunately, my husband read me Al's comment before the-powers-that-be decided to disappear it. Now I wonder if the comment was deleted because it was critical of the "owners" (i.e., advertisers?) who booted John X out of his own club, or if the City Paper deleted it because it demonstrated what a lousy job they did of reporting?

  • Elizabeth croydon

    "Tho I am native, and to the manor born, I am too much in the sun ." - Hamlet

    Wowza- Where to begin- Talk about your rage against the machine...

    Let me begin by addressing "The Truth" -

    By your comment and your inability to post a real name, I am guessing that you are a hack-knee'd wanna be jealous of Al Goodwin's accomplishments. We all know the type - a mediocre fence sitter who is the first to look for exits in case he plays for the wrong team...And I am guessing that "The Truth" is new to comedy, because ANY seasoned vet will tell you - John X and his brother Ted are a fixture of integrity, quality, and honor . Further- They bring the funny. Whether John is bringing DC Paul Mooney, Dick Gregory, Eddie Brill, or investing in local talent development- their record of respecting local talents as well as bringing national names is vital to DC art survival, and their brand of entertainment and community outreach are as vital as The Shakespeare Theater- Another DC pillar of local talent mixing with Nationally recognized talent forced to file court motions for their right to stay in the DC arts zone that Riot Act shares/ shared - I understand that it is in question and the hands of the court- Riot Acts destiny- To my mind Geoff Dawson has pre- emptively jumped the guns announcing his entry into show business- oh wait- my Hockey connects explain to me Dawson has been in show business a while- serving as a mascot for the Caps...Well then- He must kno everything there to know about stand- up. I guess that makes him a regular Mitzi Shore.

    I apologize to the readers for any spelling errors in my "testimony". I am on a train for NYC to appear on a political talk show. With social networking and insta- news blogs, spelling went out of style like the mullet and polyester leisure pants.

    Riot Act Entertainment had barely begun to implement its business plan which seems heisted - or rather Marjory heisted- by Dawson-

    The idea that the X-men mismanaged their club seems preposterous to me as Hollywood headliners were paying close attn to Riot Act- It was the X-men's business plan as far as I had been made privy years ago to host not only stand up BUT rock and Roll as well... Go-go...movies... Festivals.. Longstanding charity events etc. The claim that this was not a place to go to have a beer after work with your buddies is invalid- Riot Act sported a splendid upstairs bar and tabling for food and drinks- Much like The World Famous Comedy Store -Home to Mitzi and Pauly shore's vision and comic family. Word reached me thru the comedy gossip trail that Dawson could not sell Bobcat Goldwait- Giving Bob's hard earned talent away free in the streets.

    I could not attend Riot Acts opening. I was in development with what I intend to be the first feature comedy I direct-" Baristo" . Our award winning short is available on YouTube. Prior to that, I was working on aspects of Post- production on my second feature comedy, "Underbelly Blues"- now on its I dunno- 8th 9th award on the festival circuit- supported by our local Flying Dawg beer and directed by Phil Messerer. Go to" . I attained my comic chops fighting up the ranks beginning with John X- who developed my talent in the early days. I have appeared on The Tonight Show", "Last Comic Standing", and I have benn famed a "Master Debater" in the name of Animal Houses 25th anniversary by Natinal Lampoon television. I have appeared with Ed Bagley Jr., opened for Joe Rogan and was carefully selected to perform for MPP honoring Cheech and Chong presenting them with the trail blazing award.there is a chance you have read about me in The Washington Post, The India Times, LA weekly, Life Magazine and NPR's website, heard me supporting the arts on wpfw, seen one of my early shows at the Kennedy Center, or read about my first movie "Washington Interns Gone Bad" in our beloved Washington City Paper. My first movie- a cult classic- is celebrating its tenth anniversary and is available in webisodes on and other sites. I don't call myself a-list. I call myself DD- list. And me and my "guns" want to see the books prior to Dawson's hostile takeover.

    I did not get to visit Riot Act until December when I came home for Christmas and pre-production for Maija DiGorgio's feature comedy "Famika vs. The Tea Party" which is now in production. It was then that I witnessed first hand The success of John X's Riotous vision. And after serving 27 years in my hometown , I thought here is the perfect place to have a beer after work with my buddy's...

    I just wrapped production on an internationally distributed romantic comedy "You or I ( reflection)" - view the trailer on I remain in town through the 6th of July, performing my headlining set "The Riot Act" on the National Mall July fourth as part of the43rd annual smoke Inn- Henry Bacon Ballfield. I would LOVE to take my RIOT ACT to a comedy club, but where should I take it now? The Improv? Penn Social? Looks like I will have to investigate booking The Kennedy Center again while The X-men fight for your rights to party.

    The best riot is a laugh riot. Any good revolution begins with any cocktail except Molotov. Boycott Dawson's restaurants. Support the Shakespeare Theater and their motion against their Landlord. Pauly Shore for President.

  • Jonathan L. Fischer

    @Patience: We took down Al's comment after he asked us to do so. But we'll be looking into his claims independently.

  • Elizabeth croydon

    Thank you, patience. Send lawyers, Guns and Roses.

  • Elizabeth croydon

    I understand this case has reached a Federal level of complaint.will you do me a favor, patience- Will you ask the Washington Post to break this story?

  • Elizabeth croydon

    In the meantime- if any artist/musician/ comic/ actor/ patron of the arts wants to join me in my quest to boycott Dawson's pool hall and eatin empire- call and leave me a message on my business cellphone. I did some research and posted the list of Dawson's restaurants on the Washington City Papers Facebook page. Like it. City paper keeps our community alive.

  • Elizabeth croydon

    Oh- my bad- my biz line is 301 655 0997

  • Big Al Goodwin

    As someone who is very informed as to the events that transpired at Riot Act since it opened last August, I wish to respond and refute the comments of Peter Bayne. The public, patrons and even many of the comics do not know the truth and were misled as to why the owner, creator and founder of Riot Act, John Xereas, has been absent from the club since late January. He and his family have and continue to remain silent in this matter.

    First and foremost that particular space has an arts/theater zoning. It sat vacant for a long time until John was introduced to Geoff Dawson who had been looking at that spot. John’s business plan for a comedy club was the perfect fit.

    Contrary to the statements of Bayne, during the first 6 months of operations, and under John’s management, Riot Act enjoyed tremendous success and popularity. Even though the club was new, by all standards it was doing extremely well and was being acclaimed by many comics and agents as “one of the best clubs in the country. It brought big name talents Eddie Griffin, Paul Mooney, Charles Fleischer, Dick Gregory, Josh Blue to sell out shows. The club was also focused on supporting strong local talents such as Mike Brooks, Alycia Cooper, T-Rexx and Jay Phillips.

    More importantly the club offered a diverse schedule of other events such as the LeAnn Rimes Benefit concert, Dick Gregory's 80th birthday celebration, DC Shorts, The Record Fair, Sickle Cell Benefit Show, Toys for Tots event and many other special events, all the brainstorm of John Xereas and his team. That's a pretty eclectic mix, especially for such a short amount of time.

    John was unexpectedly forced out by his two partners simply because they could outvote him. They stripped him of his email account; denied him access to the Riot Act websites/domains he owned. He was removed from all club operations. Anyone trying to reach John at the email he had maintained since 2005, and where I would normally email him, received an automated message that said “he was no longer associated with daily club operations.”

    Along with John they fired the staff he had put in place that had the experience and knowledge to run the club, all for no good reason, including his brother.

    A Complaint has been filed by his attorneys in the US District Court, for the District of Columbia alleging at least 10 different counts. This may well be the reason for the need to “re-brand.”

    If the comedy club has now failed it’s because it has been managed by people who have absolutely no experience in running a comedy club. They don’t know how to market shows and sell tickets. And, they are clueless about what it takes to run a successful comedy club. They also implemented certain policies such as an 18% gratuity on every check which was not well received by the public.

    This is all validated by many Face Book posts made over the past few months begging people to come to shows, giving away tickets to family and friends and more recently a ticket special “buy one get one free. Dawson may enjoy success at his other ventures selling booze and billiards, but to quote “I know nothing about comedy” Biz Journal

    Mr. Bayne can make any public statement he wants to justify the “rebranding” of the club. They are simply not true. Clearly, the forced removal of the one person and his staff best qualified to effectively run a comedy club led to its downturn. It has nothing to do with China Town. I might ask just what credentials Bayne has in running a comedy club or any experience at all in the field of comedy. None!!

    Under the direction of John X the comedy club had great potential – not just for the great talent he had tentatively scheduled for the months to follow but for all the community and special events it sponsored. He was all about supporting local talent and comics and giving back to the community.

    Anyone wishing to see why “Riot Act” is being shed can do so – it’s a matter of public record. As far as comments and allegations Bayne is publicly making, I can only say they feel the need to come out publicly in order to justify the “rebranding” of the club, and perhaps their actions. It has nothing to do the ability of a comedy club to thrive in China Town or anywhere else in this city, especially when the people running it know what they are doing.

    The truth is, once the space was procured, and shortly after the club opened, there was a concerted effort to remove John by his partners. This is not the first time Mr. Dawson has tried to take someone's idea and profit from it, Naples vs. Bedrock

    Footnote: I have been a comic for many years and played a many comedy clubs across the country. I have been friends with John for many years. His integrity, honesty and reputation in the comedy business are known by all who have ever had the pleasure of working with him. I am personally outraged at the lies they have circulated about John to justify what they have done.

  • Elizabeth croydon

    And thank you, Mr. Fischer

  • lucy

    long live john x--- one of the few nice people in show business-- and long live his vision--which was years in the making--and will hopefully continue to be a vital part of the arts scene in dc--despite anyone's plans to undermine it--

  • Big Al Goodwin

    I notice my comment is pending moderation and would like to withdraw the post. John Xereas has expressed his wishes for people to refrain from making any further posts regarding this matter.

    I appreciate it, especially in view of my emotional post last night.

    Al Goodwin

  • Big Al Goodwin

    My last post of 6-23 was intended for the moderator. It was not intended to keep anyone from making any posts on this article or on this subject.

  • captain comedy

    who is peter bayne and what qualifications/experience does he have running a comedy club? i've been in comedy 20 years and have never even heard his name before. i thought riot act was John X? why isn't he being interviewed about all this? maybe baynes' presence and john x's absence are the reasons the business model was failing? anxious to learn the real truth about this story!

  • Comedy Patron

    Riot Act failed when they got rid of the promoters doing shows. I've been to the Riot Act when local promoters packed the house on Monday, Wednesday and Sundays. Riot Act would try to then bring the same Acts on their weekend schedule and would fail miserably. They should have had an in-house promoter who knew about Comedy.

  • C Davis

    I was introduced to Riot Act Comedy Theater in the early fall of 2011. I took in a comedy show with a good friend who happened to know the owner, John Xereas. I was introduced to Mr. Xereas as well. Very nice guy. This Comedy Theater was just that. A comedy THEATER. This was no basic comedy “club.” It was a primo, very upscale venue that was meant to offer consistent A-List entertainment. I also had the opportunity to attend a benefit concert in October at Riot Act Theater with country music star LeAnn Rimes which was nothing short of amazing. I was standing about 15 feet from the stage from LeAnn--and I will never forget it.

    My friend told me about Mr. Xereas’ former Riot Act Comedy Club which was in a different part of DC below a Jazz Club. He had started it back in 2005 but had to close it down because he outgrew the space.

    The new Riot Act Theater was his dream. She explained he had a vision to bring to the DC Metro area a first-rate comedy theater that eventually would expand – and that would also offer a lot more—everything from a comedy school to concerts, and even more large-scale events. From what I saw – Mr. Xereas was off to an amazing start. So what the heck happened?

    I asked about going to another show and gathering a group of friends to go in February of this year, but my friend told me to she wasn’t going because Mr. Xereas was no longer there.

    It is clear from reading these posts that this is not an issue with mismanaged bookings at all—from what I experienced in 2011 the guy was slam dunking the shows and getting great reviews. This seems to be an issue of this venue no longer having the key player who knew big name talent, had the resources to bring in such talent and really knew what he was doing. If you looked at the types of shows that were offered after he was not there anymore – it was like a mixup of comedians never heard of before and weird things like exercise classes. What a waste of an amazing space!

    Something obviously does not add up here, and it seems as if there might be some sort of other motive for all this change … why change something that is working so well and that the public is obviously enjoying? —unless this was a planned thing all along maybe?

  • Lindsey Coleman

    There are two sides to this story and only one has been heard. I remember the articles all surrounding the grand opening of this fabulous club being run by the Xereas'. The lead in the cast is missing from this story. Personally I cannot wait to see the Xereas brothers back in action bringing laughter to a city that so desperately needs it and them. What they started many many years ago was being brought to its full potential, but appears to have been brought down by more of the same. Who needs just another bar? No thanks Dawson and Bayne. Find somewhere else.

  • Tony

    WRONG JUST WRONG!!!!! This article is completely false. Riot Act was a GREAT club to attend for a wide variety of events including comedy and music. It will be sad to see it turn into just another bar that will be overrun with thirsty alcoholics looking for love in hopeless places.

  • The Regular

    As someone who is more informed than most, I can tell you the reasons the club failed are not consistent with Bayne's statements. The people who started Riot Act years ago -- I know this because I designed almost all of their media from concept/launch -- were forced out after 2/3 majority brought in their own people just after the club opened just last year.

    Bayne's and Geoff Dawson's own mismanagement of the club once the founding members were forced out, should tell you the truth about what really went on. But, it will all come out in good time, through the proper channels.

    The club was a huge success when it opened, booking the likes of Paul Mooney and Dick Gregory. The same pair who sold out 9:30 Club and Lincoln Theater a few years ago under the promotion of Riot Act Entertainment. Years before these other people ever got involved. Anyone remember the GWU shows with Jeffrey Ross, Judy Gold . . . Bob Saget? Right, the sold out ones. You guessed it. Riot Act Entertainment. I was there.

    You see, Riot Act Comedy Theater failed because the idea man was forced out. The one with all the connections, the contacts, the experience. They tried to run it with no idea how. And, once the word got out, seems a few comedians wouldn't even answer their calls, not that they knew how to get in touch with most of them. Meanwhile, the people he put in place to stall and choke the booking process were unable to take the reigns from the ousted talent, and now they're stuck with a giant room and no business.

    Chinatown embraced Riot Act when it opened its doors. They forced out the rightful owner and creator and are now being sued for it. And now their doors are closed. That's the beginning, middle, and end of the story, folks.

  • Jeff


    The FACTUALLY TRUE REASON why RIOT ACT is closing: Because 2 local CHARLATAN SHYSTERS partnered with an ILLUSTRIOUS local comedy LEGEND & DC COMEDY STAPLE: RIOT ACT ENTERTAINMENT and its FOUNDER JX. WHEN those 2 RAPACIOUS SCAM ARTISTS saw the MA$$IVE revenue potential at stake they NATURALLY let GREED turn them into AMORAL FINKS! IF you'd ever went to RIOT ACT'S countless SOLD OUT SHOWS and saw comic legends like Eddie Griffin, Dick Gregory, & Paul Mooney or country star Leanne Rimes SOLD OUT performance, YOU'd AGREE 110% that this is NOT ABOUT "sustaining rent & revenue".

    THIS is about 2 DEGENERATE AVARICIOUS SHYSTERS thinking they can pull a FAST HOT GRIMY SWINDLE by BREACHING their CONTRACT! NOW that its in the hands of the DC COURT, they're S.O.L! Nothing else then OPENING a BOOMING business under an ESTABLISHED REPUTATION & NAME, CONSPIRING to DEFRAUD by way of A BOTCHED CON, and when that CON doesn't work, putting a SLAPDASH WEASEL SPIN on changing and defaming an ESTABLISHED & HIGHLY RESPECTED 'RIOT ACT' trademark to HEIST a CA$H WINDFALL under A NEW SHAM BUSINESS MODEL RUSE! GET YOU FACTS RIGHT!

  • woah

    ...everyone on this comment section needs to calm down.

    I think "Jeff" right here might be twelve.

  • Ron

    These owners have a history of doing this. Same thing they did with Buffalo Billards. Take someone ideas then after it gets started they cut them off.

  • J. Morris

    Hmmmmmmm.....i don't know about all this. All these defenders of the "real owners" sound like they have an axe to grind. Look at the posting by this Jeff guy. All those caps? And referring to the supposed two sides of this argument as "charlatan shysters" vs "local comedy legend and comedy staple." Sounds like one of those right wing pundits who call Obama a socialist, when he's arguably more conservative than Ronald Reagan! This has got to be someone who's got a serious dog in this fight (or a hard-on for this JX guy).

    There might be more to this story than the article lets on about, but i'm sure the waves of love that several posters show is not the truth either. I don't think anyone on this forum knows all the details, and i don't think we're going to get it all by reading an article in the CP and a bunch of flames from some freakshows about the "real owners."

  • C Davis

    Ok so this explains it. Wow. How to people get away with crap like this?

    What a loss to the local community in the area. It really seemed that DC was going to have another wonderful arts and entertainment venue and it seemed so promising. Very sad. Hopefully the John Xereas can eventually start something else. He obviously knows what he is doing. The talent he brought in in the first 6 months of operating says it all. The talent that was there recently was obviously not a draw. Probably someone who doesn't have real established connections was trying to fill his shoes and could not.

    What I found interesting was using the space for exercise classes! That was like putting aerobics in the Warner Theater. What the heck were they thinking?

    this is such sad news.

  • manoj mick aildasani

    I worked at Riot Act from 1 week before opening in aug until i was forced to resign in Feb 2 2012 for reasons that would put a baffling face on anyone. In my experience the club was consitently packed & sold out when John X was in charge. We had numerous unique special events happenning all of the time & we had great moral among the staff. After John X was forced out the place lost its momentum. Shows hardly sold out & the "management" implemented lots of policies that turned off many patrons, event planners & employees. Whats happnening at Riot Act is wrong. I WOULD WORK FOR JOHN X ANY TIME, ANY DAY, ANY WHERE, ANY PLACE. JOHN X KNOWS COMEDY.

  • Starbuck

    The exercise classes were set up by the Xereas brothers. instead of money they agreed to do it in exchange for gym memberships.

  • C Davis

    City Paper will probably be just the start of this story breaking. I'm sure it will go national at some point. If there is a Federal lawsuit in place that is public record any journalist worth their salt has probably downloaded it by now. Get the truth out there.

    Bait and switch? Sounds more like Bait and bend over.

  • Joe Deeley

    Sad to see a new venue abandon i's niche before it had a chance to fly. Oh. I think I'll cut down the rosebush since it hasn't bloomed yet! The DC IMPROV is celebrating its twentieth anniversary because they kept at it. A showroom needs a chance to grow and get the word out to become an anchor for the arts. Show business is NOT a get rich quick business. I'm very saddened that the last comedy club I performed in before my stroke is closing. I really am grateful for their benefit show to help with my medical bills ( um...still haven't gotten a check yet guys!, just a friendly reminder, I'm still racking up bills here in rehab!) It seems as though the game plan was dropped pretty early. Too bad the baby is being thrown out with the bathwater. Hell, eEven the Redskins keep trying instead of giving up and switching to hockey!! Damn shame.

  • Will Haza

    Riot Act would not even exist if it were not for John X. He built it from nothing and made it into a great place that had the potential to be an entertainment juggernaut, and now the entire thing is being put in jeopardy because of some short sighted businessmen that did not come up with the idea and only joined in so they could take advantage of someone's concept and the hard work it took to achieve it as a reality.

  • C Davis

    It seems from everything written here and from what I've now discovered in the public record US District Court federal case (which can be downloaded for a minimal fee at, there is a much larger story here. The launching of yet just one more skee ball and billiards spot in Penn Quarter has absolutely nothing to do with a failing comedy venue, or a lack of expertise and skill of the people who were attempting to make this comedy venue flourish. From is read in the complaint, it is amazing that comedy and theater did so well at this place for the first six months it was in business...

  • Curt Shackelford

    good point Joe--live standup comedy is not the cash-cow everyone thinks/thought it was(myself included).
    I'm doing it the leanest way possible with weekly "pop-up" shows--very little overhead and i still ain't gettin rich. The sad truth is people simply don't wanna consume live standup comedy 7 nights a week(even when it's done well). Even the DC Improv does not do public shows on Mon-Tues and they are 20 years into this game. You have to diversify or die

  • The Regular

    @ Ron. I'd heard that for years about Buffalo Billiards. Thanks for the link.

    @ J. Morris. Why does sharing the truth with it's being misrepresented publicly translate into people having a hard-on for the guy who got the raw deal? For someone who admits to not knowing anything about the case, how would you know whether or not any of this is true or false? So far we've heard from people who were there when Riot Act was conceived, people who worked at the club, and comedians. I think this group all coming forward with different pieces/perspectives that absolutely contradict the spin Bayne is putting on his failures as a GM points to a truth, a truth that some of us know all about. And that we come forward to show some support for the regular guy when he's getting squeezed by people with deep pockets, and a history of shady business practices, you chastise us? You know nothing and have made that clear to all of us, which puts you at a clear disadvantage when trying to represent yourself as anything other than a jackass. Let me guess, you also thing BP got a bad rap when the completely skull-fucked the Earth. Your comments are speculative, at best, and provide zero insight into anything other than your true nature as a human being.

  • Joe Deeley

    My apologies! I got the check a few weeks ago and just like the brain damaged literally) idiot I am, forgot about it. My sincere apologies to the wonderful staff at Riot Act for such an unfair insult about their generosity. I'm really out of it here, as I have to rely on my elderly mother to take care of my finances, so I got confused about the banking from the last few months of my life. I am very sorry that impugned the integrity ofmy kind friends at Riot Act.I hope they will please forgive my mistake.


    p.s.--i went to one of Riot Acts shows on a Friday night when X was running it--place was packed and the comics were great- service was good, food was good--no complaints. They were doing everything right. But try packing it on a Monday night...forget it

  • the truth jr.

    this clip is from monday, january 17, 2012. looks pretty packed to me!

  • the truth jr.

    *monday, january 16th, 2012*

  • C Davis

    I may be speaking from a lack of knowledge here, but what comedy club or theater "packs the room" on most Monday nights? If they do comedy at all, the room isn't usually packed. Monday nights are usually not a night to go out and drink and party any way. I went to a comedy show a long time ago at the DC Improv on an early weeknight and there were only about 70 people in the audience, and it was for a fairly well-known comic. I suppose the financial data of the Riot Act will eventually be disclosed...I bet the numbers will reflect positive results from August 2011 to January 2012.

  • the truth jr.

    @Curt - So I Googled who you are in Comedy. Looks like you manage shows in a Bethesda hotel and some very low-key type shows at a few other venues. Your level of comedy management isn't anywhere near the level or magnitude of what Riot Act Theater was offering AND what was actually in their business plan to offer in the future.

    It is clear from reading the Complaint (just downloaded and read it and if you have not--you should) -- that it was very difficult for the people who knew what they were doing during the first 6 months of operations at Riot Act to effectively run the business. It seems barriers were put up just about everywhere because their actual intent was to see the club and John X fail so they would have a reason to remove him. When the club was successful despite all their backhanded efforts they took action and removed John and all his staff (an attempt that actually started back in the 2nd month of operations!) Go read comments being posted and emailed by comics about how bad the club was mismanaged after John was gone. There’s a reason it’s being reformatted that has nothing to do with success of club under John’s management. They could not even sell out major acts like Eddie Griffin - shows that John sold out. The list goes on.

    Wake up people. If anyone thinks this was a failure on the part of the team of Xereas staff they are sorely mistaken. This was a serious case of bait and switch and it has been done before by the very same person who brings you the new "Penn Social" Skee Ball emporium.

    Prediction: The comedy that is supposed to now be offered in Penn Social's downstairs theater area will seemingly "fail" in the next few months and it will become a new ESPN-Zone basement look-a-like -- just a few blocks up from the one that closed down before Riot Act opened. Oh, and let's not forget to mention that the reason it won't work -- it will be "bad business model." Good luck comedians performing with the noise from all those games and TV Screens.

  • manoj mick aildasani

    hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the truth jr.

  • The Truth Sr

    Who hired the weasel Paul Schorsch????

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  • Jamal

    I was there that night of the link posted. Not only was it packed as seen in the video but there were 2 Shows and it was on a Monday. Whoever was running the club at that time knew what they were doing. Was John X still running the club then?

  • Jamal

    Just read the other article. Riot Act made $220,000 in just January alone. It would be interesting to see how much the club generated in March - June. Riot act will try their hardest to not release their info.