Riot Act Comedy Theater to Open in Penn Quarter

Please note: event in invite-only.

State-of-the-Art Comedy Club Launching in DC Promising Chuckle Riot of Big Names and Big Laughs That Tickle the Funny Bone

Washington, DC – DC’s Penn Quarter will soon become even more filled with entertainment and amusement with the grand opening of a new, über-comedy club and event facility in the bustling corridor. The state-of-the-art Riot Act Comedy Theater – a revolutionary laughter venue showcasing major national headliners and budding local talent will open on Thursday, August 11 in the heart of Penn Quarter near the Verizon Center and National Spy Museum.

Washington native, restaurateur and bar owner, Geoff Dawson (Buffalo Billiards, Iron Horse Tap Room, Rocket Bar), along with partners Marjorie Heiss and John Xereas, will unveil a one-of-a-kind, groundbreaking establishment of comedic theatricality and event productions that is unparalleled in the national capital area. The two-story, 13,000-square-foot facility with a 330 seat showroom at 801 E Street, NW will feature a host of collective offerings that include a School of Comedy, full movie screen, weekly open mic nights, cabaret-style dining with full table service, digital recording capabilities and high-tech broadcast resources. Riot Act will also feature two vibrant bar areas that operate outside of the showroom that have the capabilities to provide video highlights, major telecasts and onsite television viewing of sold-out performances.

Promoting local comics, national headliners and theme nights will become Riot Act’s signature mainstay topics and reflect the identity and diverse demographic of Washington, DC and multicultural communities nationwide. The innovative in-house comedy school will serve as a training center for aspiring comedians and performing artists.

DC’s own king of comedy, Charles Fleischer is scheduled to headline the theater’s opening week August 11-13.  Fleischer’s gigantic comedic talents and recognition of his ‘in the flesh’ abilities have deemed him a comic’s comic on stage and screen for decades. He has been in everything from the original “Laugh In” and “Welcome Back Kotter” to “Zodiac,” “The Polar Express” and Adam Sandler’s recent hit “Funny People.” After his amazing job as the voice of Roger Rabbit in Robert Zemeckis’ “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” Fleischer was picked to co-host The Academy Awards with Robin Williams. Other acts in the coming months include DC favorites Paul Mooney, DC’s very own Tony Woods, Judy Gold, Allah Made Me Funny, and comic legend Mr. Dick Gregory who will appear monthly.

“The cutting-edge concept behind Riot Act is to provide patrons with an evening full of hilarity in a cool environment,” says Marjorie Heiss, co-owner. “Our fun and hip vibe appeals to anyone at any age and we are certain that this club will become the area’s most progressive punchline locale for Washingtonians and visitors alike.”

Riot Act Comedy Theater is open nightly seven days a week with matinee performances slated for weekends. Friday and Saturday evenings will host two performances nightly. The facility is available for corporate events, political and charity fundraisers, holiday parties and other private functions. Each night Riot Act will entertain audiences with an assortment of shows and themes:

  • Tuesday: Open Mic in main showroom – the only local comedy club dedicated to giving comics a forum to work and create.
  • Wednesday: Theme nights that will cover everything from “Gay-Larious” to the “Geek Comedy Tour.”
  • Thursday – Sunday: Local and national headliners.


For more information on Riot Act Comedy Theater please visit the website at:

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Faces Behind Riot Act

The managing members behind Riot Act Comedy Theater bring extensive experience in the start-up and management of business in the entertainment and hospitality industries. For more than 20 years, John Xereas managed comedy clubs and promoted and sponsored comedic events with such headline greats as Dave Chappelle, Bob Saget, Ellen DeGeneres and Ray Romano. Geoff Dawson has been involved in the DC restaurant, bar and entertainment scenes for more than two decades and is the creative force behind Bedrock Management since its inception. Collectively, he has designed and constructed 22 bars and restaurants. Marjorie Heiss is also a veteran of Bedrock Management Company, having served as the company’s general counsel for more than 13 years. In that role, she advises Bedrock Management and its owners on all legal matters relating to the company. Because of her intimate familiarity with all the entities and establishments managed by Bedrock Management, Marjorie often takes on operational and managerial responsibilities in addition to her legal advisory role. Accordingly, Marjorie brings a unique blend of legal and business and management skills and know-how to the Company’s management team.

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