Rocky Osborn is ready to bring the funny to the Inland Empire.
The 22-year comedian and 32-year magician is anchoring his humor hub in a town that city employees admit could use an entertainment boost.
“There’s nothing to do in this town,” Osborn said without mincing words. “It’s about getting some entertainment out there. I really felt like we needed a good local comedy club.”
ACES Comedy Club is set to open Feb. 9 in the furniture shopping center off Interstate 215 and Los Alamos in Murrieta. The 5,400-square-foot venue is located between what is now Linder’s and Sit ‘n Sleep.
Scheduled acts include comedians Vince Harper, Bruce Jingles, Erik Knowles and Claude Stewart.
Osborn, a 42-year-old Menifee resident, will open the venue with co-owner Kim May, of Temecula. Osborn and May currently co-own “He Said…She Said” in Old Town Temecula. The company provides matchmaking and life coaching services, offering both a man’s and woman’s perspectives for clients.
However, after working and saving enough money over the years doing various jobs, Osborn is ready to pursue his comedy dream.
“It’s just time,” Osborn said. “We need the entertainment. We need something great.”
The Chicago native moved to Alaska at age 9 or 10 and later joined the military, which ultimately sent him to Omaha. From there, Osborn moved to Las Vegas to see if he could make a name for himself as a comedian and magician specializing in cards, although he spent a lot of his time as a casino dealer at the Hard Rock.
Osborn describes himself as a “new aged Don Rickles” when it comes to comedy.
“I’m that comic (who) says what everyone’s thinking, but they’re too scared to say,” he said.
In 2002/’03, he moved to California to join Valley View Casino’s table games department. In 2008, a corporate job brought him to Menifee.
Osborn has performed three times at Pechanga Resort & Casino over the last two years and headlines shows at San Diego’s Mad House Comedy club and The Comedy Palace.
ACES Comedy Club
When: Opening Feb. 9, with shows at 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays, and 7 and 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Where: 39809 Avenida Acacias, Murrieta
Tickets: $15 or $25
More info: laughyouraceoff.com
Now, he hopes to reel comedy back into its original form, showcasing only three comics a night at ACES.
“I want to get back to the basics,” Osborn said. “Get comedy back to where it used to be.”
He hopes to showcase comedians of the ‘80s and ‘90s, as well as the industry’s top stand-up comics.
ACES will be an all-ages venue until Osborn can secure a liquor license, which he anticipates getting in March. Osborn stressed that the addition of the license does not mean that venue is just another bar masquerading as a comedy club.
Seating 150 to 175 patrons, the showroom is 3,000 square feet, with additional space left for a lobby to house attendees waiting for the second show on a Friday or Saturday.
Osborn said he initially looked into opening the venue in Temecula but received more interest from Murrieta.
“They said ‘We want you here.’ Murrieta really wanted to work with me and help me get this open,” he said.
Murrieta City Planner Cynthia Kinser said there is a need for more entertainment venues like Osborn’s.
“There’s a need for entertainment of different types in the city,” she said. “It’s not an entertainment venue that we currently have. It’s another venue … that I think the community will appreciate.”
ACES will be a nice around-the-corner stop for not only the city but surrounding areas, she said.
“Hopefully they’ll be very successful, and we’re looking forward to having them,” she said.
Bruce Coleman, Murrieta’s economic development director, said ACES is the first venue in what should be a series of new tenants inside the shopping center location.
“It’s a very positive opportunity for the shopping center and for the community. There’s a lot of vacancy in the center. This is a tremendous opportunity to attract business to the shopping center,” he said.
The addition of a comedy club to the city is yet another step in growing their town, he added.
“That means you have lots of different kinds of businesses as you grow the city,” he said. “And this is a business that is very welcomed in Murrieta.”
For Osborn, ACES is the start of what could be a new entertainment hub for the area.
Ask him to describe his excitement for the comedy club and for the city, and Osborn struggles.
“I don’t know that I could express in words how excited I am for this,” he said. “Every step we take gets me more and more excited.
“The entire town is talking about it. City Hall is excited. And I’m excited.”