April 30 2014 12:00 AM

After 29 years, Lansing comedy club kills the spotlight



Wednesday, April 30 — Last weekend, stand-up comic Carlos Mencia took the stage at Connxtions Comedy Club, 2900 N. East St. on Lansing’s north side. Since the club opened in 1985, thousands of aspiring and professional comedians had stood in that exact spot under the club’s spotlight — pre-“Home Improvement” Tim Allen, pre-“Tonight Show” Jay Leno, post-“Tom Green Show” Tom Green — but Mencia has a singular distinction among them: He was the last act that will ever perform there.

“Connxtions closed today,” the club’s manager Tina Hanson wrote on her Facebook wall Monday night. “Officially ‘building is sold, not business & hopefully will reopen in fall.’”

Connxtions owner Frank Stevens confirmed the news in a phone interview Tuesday. He wouldn’t say who bought the building or what was planned for it; he had been leasing it from Lansing-based company Spartan Properties, but no one from Spartan returned calls for comment.

Stevens said Connxtions is simply down, not out.

“I definitely want to keep Connxtions going, but it could take some time,” he said. Stevens bought the Lansing bowling alley that would become Connxtions in 1979. He first turned it into a nightclub before transforming it into a comedy club. He didn’t say when he sold it and became a lessee, but an online real estate site said the 14,667-square-foot building was refinanced in 2004. The same site said it was assessed for $199,900 in 2012.

Stevens wouldn’t say how long he knew about the impending sale, but employees were alerted by email on Monday that Connxtions had closed.

“It’s just a matter of someone wanting the building before I found new place for the business,” Stevens said. “The timing kind of sucks.”