Arts & Entertainment

Allendale Library Presents Film Screening Featuring Director John Davies

The film discussed will document the iconic comedy club All Jokes Aside. Photo Courtesy / Allendale Branch Library

In conjunction with its ongoing “Allendale at the Movies” series and in celebration of Black History Month, the Allendale Branch Library presents a screening and discussion of “Phunny Business: A Black Comedy,” a documentary which utilizes stills, archival performance footage, and interviews to chronicle the rise and fall of All Jokes Aside, Chicago’s first black-owned comedy club, on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, at 2 p.m., at 1130 S. Marengo Ave., Pasadena. Producer, writer and director John Davies will be present to discuss the film. Light refreshments will be served.

All Jokes Aside was a mostly unheralded “star factory” that impacted American pop culture in a huge way, giving early exposure to major talents like Steve Harvey, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, Mo’Nique, and Bernie Mac, to name just a few. The club was the brainchild of Raymond Lambert. With the help of college buddy James Alexander, the two showbiz neophytes opened their club in 1991 on Chicago’s South Side, a traditionally black area. It would soon become the preeminent black comedy club in the country. When Lambert and Alexander decided to move North to a more “diverse,” upscale entertainment district in Chicago, comedy, race, and politics collided, eventually forcing the closure of this cultural gem.

Producer, writer, and director of “Phunny Business: A Black Comedy,” John Davies has produced numerous comedy specials for Comic Relief and was Emmy nominated for producing and writing “A Comedy Salute to Andy Kaufman” for NBC. He also created and executive produced series like “Second City Presents” for the BRAVO network, “Movie Club with John Ridley” for AMC, and the NBC comedy series “The Rerun Show” with his producing partner Jill Soloway. More recently he was the co-creator and executive producer of the hit MTV series “Run’s House,” winner of the NAACP award for “Outstanding Reality Series,” and executive produced its spin-off series “Daddy’s Girls.” Davies is currently developing a mini-series about the life of Johnny Carson based on Bill Zehme’s book.

Please note that the film features adult content. For further information, contact the Allendale Branch Library by phone at (626) 744-7260 or visit

February 14, 2020

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