Of all the things that can make people laugh, smells are not often at the top of the list. Westside Comedy Theater is on a mission to change that. The theater, located just off of the Third Street Promenade, is debuting a new perfume, dubbed L’Humor, this weekend as part of its 14th anniversary party, which happens to be on April Fools Day.
“We actually signed the lease on April first 2009,” said one of Westside Comedy’s founders and General Manager Chris Gorbos. “We thought that was a pretty good omen for a comedy club.”
Every year since, Gorbos said the club has commemorated the day with some sort of public celebration. For the seventh anniversary it was a seven-year-old’s birthday party theme complete with a ball pit and candy filled gift bags. Another year, they brought in “a literal tonne of sand” and turned the theater’s stage into a beach.
This year, it’s a launch party for L’Humor that is free and open to the public. Gorbos said the idea to create a perfume arose from a conversation about how to incorporate more senses into the comedy experience, which has generally been limited to sight and sound.
“You see the comedian, you hear the comic’s words…and you laugh,” he said. “So we thought, how do we engage other senses? We didn’t want to engage feel, obviously, so we decided to go with the sense of smell.”
He added that smells are one of the senses that most commonly trigger memories and can be used to form strong associations.
“A lot of people kind of link smell with their strongest memories. I know whenever I smell a cigar, I think my grandfather is about to walk around the corner and say hi to me,” he said. “So we thought, what better way to kind of have a touch point with our audience than to engage another one of their senses, in this case smell.”
“Also, comedy clubs kind of have a reputation for smelling like beer and chicken wings so we wanted to associate a different smell with our alley comedy club,” he added, referencing the theater’s location on a narrow street behind the Promenade.
Gorbos described the smell of L’Humor as “light,” just enough that “you can have it be in the room but not the topic of the room.” The fragrance’s tag-line, which was developed in consultation with the advertising agency Hanson Dodge, is “something smells funny in here.”
Samples of L’Humor will be available at the April 1 party and, depending on its reception, possibly into the future as well.
“We’re going to see how this one will impact the market and if it goes great, we’ll pivot the whole business away from comedy and we’ll just do perfume going forward,” he joked, adding, “we don’t have plans to sell the perfume right now, but if there is interest expressed, we do have the means and the ability to start production and start fulfilling orders.”
Samples will also be passed out at upcoming shows as long as supplies last.
Westside Comedy produces 60 shows a month and hosts approximately 25-35,000 guests a year. The anniversary party begins at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 1.
For more information about the club and to purchase tickets to shows visit: https://www.westsidecomedy.com/?_ga=2.35486626.2012340138.1680020514-674953372.1679505307