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updated: 7/7/2011 2:34 PM

Comedy Shrine opens two stages in Aurora

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  • Dave Sinker, owner of The Comedy Shrine, says his new venue will have a true theater feel when it reopens today in Aurora.

       Dave Sinker, owner of The Comedy Shrine, says his new venue will have a true theater feel when it reopens today in Aurora.
    PAUL MICHNA | Staff Photographer

  • The Comedy Shrine is taking over space formerly occupied by Enchanted Castle Fox Valley. By the time the theater reopens tonight, this room will be the stand-up theater.

       The Comedy Shrine is taking over space formerly occupied by Enchanted Castle Fox Valley. By the time the theater reopens tonight, this room will be the stand-up theater.
    PAUL MICHNA | Staff Photographer

  • John McCulloush paints the box office at The Comedy Shrine in Aurora. Crews also painted over a unicorn to give one of the theaters its black box appearance.

       John McCulloush paints the box office at The Comedy Shrine in Aurora. Crews also painted over a unicorn to give one of the theaters its black box appearance.
    PAUL MICHNA | Staff Photographer

 
 

In comedy, the stand-up crowd and the improv crowd rarely mix.

But when The Comedy Shrine reopens Friday in Aurora, both brands of comedy will have a stage at the same venue.

The new theater, 4034 Fox Valley Center Drive, is an upgrade over the shrine's previous Naperville location for several reasons, said owner Dave Sinker, adding that the ability to showcase both improv and stand-up is probably the most significant.

"I think we're the only theater around that will offer improv and stand-up," Sinker said.

And what does that mean for anyone in the suburbs who likes to laugh?

"We go from pimps to nuns, and everything in between," Sinker said.

Shows start Friday, July 8, so here's a rundown of the new features visitors will find as The Comedy Shrine reopens in Aurora seven months after closing its Naperville location in January. It wouldn't be complete without Sinker's occasional comedic interjections on the improvements.

• Two stages -- one for improv shows and one for stand-up comedy, even though the two brands of funny don't normally jive.

"A fight may break out in the lobby. We're going to have to separate the two groups," Sinker joked. "I'm trying to be the peacemaker. I'm the Gandhi of comedy. I'm bringing these two forces of good together."

The new venue also has:

• A first-floor location accessible without any stairs.

• A larger parking lot.

• More space to display the comedy memorabilia that gives the shrine its name and six tables where patrons can sit and "enjoy the museum."

• A full bar "with mixed drinks and all that real stuff grown-ups drink," Sinker said, because "the more you drink, the funnier we seem."

• A location in a strip mall not used for offices.

The Comedy Shrine is next to Enchanted Castle Fox Valley and occupies space that formerly belonged to Enchanted Castle. Crews had to paint over a unicorn while renovating the space to give the stand-up theater its black box appearance.

Yup, a unicorn.

With renovations complete, Sinker says his venue will be "elegant."

"I think the thing (patrons are) going to be impressed with is how comfortable the place is going to be," Sinker said. "It's going from a theater space that was built to try to fit into a strip mall, to a theater space, to a real theater experience."

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