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Issue Date: September 2007 Issue

Roast Buster

Tori Woods, Photograph by Jesse Kramer
veryone knows of Nick Kostis, even if they don’t know they know of Nick Kostis. Anyone who has ever swung by Little Bar in the Warehouse District, taken in a comedy show at Hilarities 4th Street Theatre or enjoyed dinner at Pickwick & 
Frolic has him to thank for it.

So, in honor of Pickwick’s fifth anniversary and 21 years of laughs at Hilarities, a raft of national comedians, friends and at least one politician are joining forces to roast Kostis Sept. 6.

There’s just one problem. When we asked a handful of those scheduled to take the dais if they’d try out some of their material on us by sharing their best (translation: funny or embarrassing) Kostis stories, all we got was one great big love fest. Hey, at least those writing the jokes realize it won’t be easy.

“It’s going to be hard to actually roast him,” says comedian Greg Fitzsimmons. “He’s way too nice of a guy.”

Mike Veneman

Credentials: Nationally touring comedian who has headlined every major comedy club in the United States
“I basically owe [Nick] my career. He turned the Warehouse District into what it is today. There was almost nothing there when he opened the club on West Sixth. I remember he had Steve Harvey and I on stage, in the corner, on dust-covered floors, with metal folding chairs, in the afternoon — trying to get people to look at the [place].”

Greg Fitzsimmons

Credentials: Nationally touring comedian; VH1’s “Best Week Ever”
“I’ve only met Nick once — I worked there for one week — but I think I had the same experience that everybody has: You feel like part of his family, like almost immediately. This old Greek mafia guy … I think he hugged me the first time he met me, and then, each person that he bumped into, he introduced me.

Tammy Pescatelli

Credentials: Nationally touring comedian; NBC’s “Last Comic Standing”
“One time I was a half hour late at the old Hilarities. … Nick was not happy with me, but he didn’t scream at me, he didn’t yell at me. He got mad, but then, like a father, he took me aside and said, ‘You know you can’t do this, this is why it doesn’t look professional.’ … I never did it again. Ever. In my entire career, I’ve never been late again.”

Tim Hagan

Credentials: Cuyahoga County commissioner
“My father was a stand-up comedian, and Nick treated him like a brother. … He was so kind to him, and, over the years, I’ve had a special bond with him. … When my father died, Nick truly extended himself to all of us. It’s revealing about the guy — he’s running a business, but he never, ever has deviated from the sense of relationships and what they mean to him.”

Tickets are $25 (general) and $35 (preferred) with a portion of each sale benefiting Rainbow Babies and 
Children’s Hospital. For more information, visit

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