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Mark Anderson, the 60-year-old owner of the DC Improv comedy club, has been missing for two weeks, according to a statement the club sent out today. His disappearance could be related to a severe episode of paranoia.
By phone, Kim Thomas, the sister of Anderson’s wife Holly, tells City Paper that Anderson is suffering from “delusional fears that somebody is after him.” She says, “He had one previous mental episode about 16 years ago that was brought on by an extreme stress situation.”
His latest disappearance seems to be related to a business matter gone wrong: Recently, competing comedy club Stand Up Live opened in downtown Phoenix, about 11 miles from the Tempe Improv, the club Anderson has run for 23 years. In a strongly worded press release, Anderson’s club accused Stand Up Live of driving the venue out of business. “In one year,” says the release, “Stand Up Live has taken virtually all of the comics that the Tempe Improv developed during its 23 year history.” Anderson’s club is set to close Friday.
Thomas says Anderson was never officially diagnosed with an illness, and he has not been on medication. His mental episodes have been rare. But since Stand Up Live came to town, Anderson has been aggressively battling its owners, who are also Improv franchisees. “Mark’s lost a lot of his livelihood and a club that’s been near and dear to his heart for 25 years,” says Thomas. “He left his wife to go to Dallas because he believed he had some new information that would be incriminating to these Improv people, and somewhere along the line it slipped across that line of reality where he believed people were after him…. In the beginning, his wife, my sister, probably thought he was just overreacting to something that he was passionate about.”
According to the D.C. Improv, Anderson was last seen in San Diego on May 15. Thomas says he was in San Diego visiting an old friend. Private investigators have also received tips from the Dallas area, but nothing has been confirmed yet. “It’s been a little difficult to get the law enforcement to cooperate,” says Thomas, because he hasn’t broken any laws or harmed anyone. “In his right mind, this man is so kind and would not hurt a fly. He would give his shoes and shirt on his back to somebody off the street.”
If you have information about Mark Anderson’s whereabouts, call investigator Thomas Martin at 1-800-577-1080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.