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Brad Axelrod - Biography
Brad’s restaurant roots run deep in tradition. His grandmother Harriet came from the famous Bookbinder restaurant family of Philadelphia. A national, and inter city family landmark, for over 50 years. His Uncle Mel worked there back in the mid 50’s. Mel, a very successful Culinary Institute of America trained chef, went on to own and operate his own restaurant in Westport Connecticut in the 70’S and 80’S. During the same time, and ten years prior, his wife Judy ran another restaurant one mile down the road called The Carriage House. This restaurant, featuring New Orleans style cuisine became the hottest ticket in town for well over a decade.
Mel’s restaurant, Axelrod’s San Francisco Emporium needed some additional summer staff. Not really what Mel wanted to do was help his brother Fred, so he hired his sixteen-year-old nephew, Brad. For years, Brad would travel up the turnpike and work summers in his Uncle’s restaurant. From busboy to pantry chef, from bartender to sauté cook, eventually Brad worked every hourly position there is in a restaurant until his Uncle told him it was time to manage it. Not one to pass up on an opportunity, he left Bloomsburg University in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania to take him up on his offer. Mel was setting up his retirement in Florida. His wife sold the Carriage House, they sold their house in Weston, and gave Brad the keys to the restaurant. In Mel’s absence the restaurant flourished. Not because Uncle Mel wasn’t there but because Brad started doing Jazz shows and cabaret theaters in the sometime used banquet facility below the restaurant, bar, and lounge areas. Creative, two for one entrée promotions kept the restaurant also, bustling. With six months left on a ten-year lease, Uncle Mel moved back to Connecticut to hopefully renew his agreement, and then, sell it to the highest bidder. It was during that time in 1982 that Brad tried to talk Uncle Mel into doing comedy in the sometime used banquet facility. He wasn’t interested. Six months later, Brad raised some capital, renovated the space, and bought the soon to become Treehouse Café and Comedy Club from good old Uncle Mel.
Connecticut‘s first full time comedy showcase opened for business. Since it‘s inception, the Treehouse, and Brad Axelrod, have staged non-stop comedy shows throughout Connecticut and West Chester County, New York. More than 20,000 comedy shows have been produced. Brad was the catalyst in bringing the biggest and brightest young comics to the state of Connecticut. He booked such comedy luminaries as: Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Ray Romano, Rosie O’Donnell, Kevin James, Denis Leary, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Henny Youngman, Paula Poundstone, Richard Belzer, Jeff Foxworthy, Tim Allen, Joe Rogan, Sandra Bernhard, Jon Stewart, Gilbert Gottfried, and Soupy Sales just to mention a few. Rodney Dangerfield used to call Brad at home to see if he could get some stage time to work out some jokes for upcoming Tonight Show appearances. Brad’s outstanding eye for talent was coupled with a natural ability to promote and create publicity for his club.
With exception given to Brad’s first six months in business, he personally created, supervised, and managed all the publicity and public relations for all of the Treehouse Comedy Clubs. Brad has coordinated Treehouse plugs on TV’s The Tonight Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, Chelsea Lately,Comedy Central, Showtime, VH-1, Regis and Kathie Lee, along with numerous appearances on local News affiliates and panel television show appearances. The Treehouse has also been featured in hundreds on newspaper and print periodicals throughout Connecticut. Rolling Stone Magazine wrote, “You’ll see the hottest new comedians at the coolest club in town.” about the Treehouse. Connecticut Magazine called the Treehouse “One of Connecticut’s Best Nightspots.” And, the Treehouse was voted “Best Comedy Showcase” by the readers of the Fairfield and New Haven County Weeklies over a dozen times. There are countless Friday morning radio shows throughout the state featuring guest appearances of Treehouse comics for hours a time. Brad has honed relationships with radio personalities statewide. The Howard Stern Show often featured Treehouse comics like the aforementioned Richard Belzer, Gilbert Gottfried, Joe Rogan and you could add Sam Kinison, Bobcat Goldthwaite, and Andrew Dice Clay to the list of comics plugging the Treehouse on the Stern Show.
Not one year after Brad and his wife of fifteen years, Doreen, finished building a new house the happy couple received horrible news. Doreen was stricken with the same disease that took the lives of her mother and sister. The big “C”.....Cancer. After a gallant, yearlong fight, the battle was lost. The disease won and Doreen was reunited with he family up in heaven. Now, Brad was burdened with raising two young daughters by himself. Fifteen nannies later, his girls now teenagers, no longer needing help at home. During that five year period, Brad put his energies towards raising his children. He decided the time constraints and the burden of running a business, and, raising two young girls was going to prove too much. It was then that he decided the Treehouse would become a supplemental income and he would work fulltime for someone else. A one-year stint commuting into the city to manage a thirten million dollar a year high volume restaurant proved to be to timely a commute. Brad then worked for two national restaurant chains. Five years later, he has once again felt that entrepreneurial burn and it was time to get back to what Brad has a passion for the comedy industry. Now he parlays his corporate restaurant experience with his close to forty years of restaurant, and, almost thirty years of comedy experience to get back into business.
At the same time, Brad was lucky enough to find love again. Kathleen Patterson, soon became Kathleen Axelrod, the new love of his life. She was and is the most unrelenting giver the world has ever known. They were married in May 2008 and not only tied the knot but united a beautiful family that now includes five kids and two darling grandchildren.
The Treehouse has grown in eight short years to close to a million dollar a year comedy corporation. Special thanks to all of the great and talented comedy artists, restaurateurs', theatre operators, and casino professionals in collaborating with the Treehouse to working together to bring the best and live stand up comedy to Connecticut once again.