Monday, January 04, 2016

Baltimore Club In The Comedians

Kliph Nesteroff's book The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels And The History of American Comedy is a fascinating, comprehensive and rich history of comedy from the vaudeville days all the way up through the media-driven comedy world today.

Baltimore club Eddie Leonard's Spa makes an appearance in the "Nightclubs" chapter, which explains how the Mob controlled the comedy scene for a significant portion of the 20th century.
Journeymen comedians like Dick Curtis spent half their careers working the smaller Mob clubs. "I worked a strip joint in Baltimore called Eddie Leonard's Spa. Eddie Leonard was an ex-boxer. When he retired from the ring, the Mob owned him. They gave him a nightclub and some slot machines around town as his retirement. I opened at Eddie Leonard's Spa in Baltimore on Christmas Eve. Can you imagine who would go to a Baltimore strip joint on Christmas Eve in 1952?"

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