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Meet Marshall Chiles of Laughing Skull Lounge in Midtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marshall Chiles.

Marshall, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I use to own The Funny Farm Comedy Club in Roswell, GA. When it closed July 2009 I had seen the writing on the wall and started Laughing Skull Lounge February 2009.

That first year was one of the most stressful of my life. I had a newborn baby, a 3-year-old son, and to build the business I was blowing through our savings, running up credit card debt and more. I would stay up to 2 am on a regular basis because I was wearing all the hats. I not only believed in the club 100%, I did not have any other option than to make it work.

Also in July 2009, Paul F Tompkins shot his Comedy Central special at Laughing Skull Lounge which really helped to put the club on the map. In 2010, Delta Sky Mile Mag said we are one of the top comedy clubs in the world. Joe Rogan says we are one of his favorite comedy clubs. Not to mention all the ‘Best of Atlanta’ awards from local media.

Our comedy festival started in 2010 and is considered by many to be the number one comedy festival to find the best up-and-coming comedians in the country.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Trying to figure out how to build an 80 seat comedy club has been a big adventure and a fun puzzle to solve. Now that we have figured out our formula based on The Best of Atlanta Comedy program, we are doing very well. We are actually expanding that brand and show all over metro Atlanta by producing it at various venues around town.

This solution came when the problem of headliners canceling at last minute. We need 8 weeks to promote properly and when they cancel with 3 weeks out, that REALLY hurt us. We use to bring in another last-minute headliner and not have enough time to promote and would lose money.

So I started doing a ‘Marshall Chiles and Friends’ when they canceled and just it was me as host with 8-10 comics doing their best 7-10 minutes. These shows got rave reviews and eventually I got tired of having to be there every night, so it turned into Best of Atlanta Comedy.

Customers would ask us ‘when are you doing this type of show again’ so often, we finally scheduled one to see what would happen. Well, it sold out and more great reviews. So we then did one weekend a month with BOA that also sold out with rave reviews.

Fast forward to today, one of our biggest problems led to a huge success by listening to the customers.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Laughing Skull Lounge story. Tell us more about the business.
We are one of the best comedy clubs in the world. My team is awesome and we are selling 80%+ of all tickets for sale every week.

Our core values are:
– Be Love
– Family First
– Kaizen

Mission Statement:
Do whatever is best for comedy.

We operate from a place of love. We believe everything stops when the family needs you. We believe in small continuous improvements.

Our values are why we do so well… as much accolades as the club gets, we are always finding ways to make it better.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
The harder I work, the luckier I get. I believe in working hard but being smart about it.

All things being equal, we believe that for every one minute of game time, we have one hour of prep time.

You want better luck? Work more.

Contact Info:


Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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