PHOTOS: Marco businessman laughing all the way to the bank

Chippendale dancers and comedian Andy Dick push the Island norm, bring fame to Marco

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Captain Brien's Seafood & Raw Bar

599 South Collier Boulevard, Unit 218, Marco

— This economy is no laughing matter, but a local comedy club is finding success nonetheless.

One Marco Island businessman has found a way to not only grow his business, but also contribute to the growth of businesses around him.

In a town of about 12,000 year-round residents, this comedy club owner had his doubters since the inception of Captain Brien’s about eight years ago. Perhaps he still does, but they’re not slowing him down.


Capt. Brien’s ability to draw nationally acclaimed talent to the once asleep-by-9 Island keeps growing every year.

Chippendales? On Marco Island?

“Some people might think it’s raunchy. Some people think it’s funny. It’s a matter of personal taste,” said Councilman Ted Forcht.

The shows sold out on Thursday with women packing into the club to see five out of the 12 hot male models in the 2009 Chippendale’s calendar.

Club owner Brien Spina says he’s had his doubters in the club’s success since the beginning.

“My mom didn’t believe in it. My dad didn’t believe in it. I think even my wife (Karen) didn’t believe in it and my father-in-law definitely didn’t believe in it,” Spina said of the days when he first aspired to open the comedy club.

Spina’s father-in-law is current Naples City Manager Bill Moss and was Marco’s city manager when Capt. Brien’s opened in August 2001 at 317 North Collier Boulevard.

Capt. Brien’s then moved and expanded to the Marco Walk plaza in 2006.

“I didn’t truly vision from the start the type and quality of what it is now,” Spina said.

His success is due largely to marketing, including TV, radio and magazine advertising. Text messages and the Internet are also a large part of the marketing, Spina said.

“To market to the few thousand people who live on Marco Island would be a failure,” Spina says. Customers come from Cape Coral and from across the Everglades, including Miami and West Palm, where Spina operates one of four comedy club locations.

Other locations include Louisville, Ky. and a new club opening in Hollywood, Fla., July 1.

Spina says he books as many as 20 hotel rooms in a week on-Island, sometimes in Naples, depending on the budget.

With each top-notch guest, managers, roadies and crews follow.

“They spend their money here.”


Spina said he’s had one resident adamantly against the acts he brings in.

“There are R-rated movies at the theater. Are you going to censor them? I don’t censor my acts and if I did, they wouldn’t come here,” he said.

Capt. Brien’s offers a wide variety of talent and draws a wide range of people from one night to the next.

Sunday, the club hosted a breast cancer benefit, which was followed by Pete Correale, a comic who finds the humor in everyday life and has a new show “The Things We Do For Love” on Comedy Central.

Andy Dick, an MTV star, is the guest comic beginning Friday. Dick, a self-titled bisexual with a criminal record for several public incidents and charges of drug use and sexual offenses, was on TV’s celebrity rehab. Spina said the comedian has been sober for one year.

While Dick may be on the wilder side of the wide spectrum of guests, the comedy club also has hosted classics including Jackie Mason, 73, who was on the Ed Sullivan Show in the 1960s.

Guest variety is all by design, Spina says.

A controversial arrest in February 2008, which led to 20 guests being kicked out, four of them being arrested and an officer being charged with battery for pepper spraying them, led to some concern, but not much.

Islanders have stood behind the police department and stand behind the high caliber reputation of Capt. Brien’s.

Are the police in the Marco Walk plaza more than other locations on Island after 10 p.m.?

“Of course they are going to be there if that’s where all the action is. It’s better than them getting coffee and donuts at the 7-11,” says Councilman Jerry Gibson.

Spina said the police have only been called three times in the last eight years.

Marco Island Police Chief Thom Carr and Collier County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michelle Batten said the number of times police have been called to the specific property within the plaza was not readily available.

However, Carr talked to lieutenants about whether there were many problems at the property, and the answer was “no,” Carr said.

Councilman Wayne Waldack said he feels it’s a safe place and is proud to see police are there when it’s busy.

“Capt. Brien’s brings Las Vegas quality entertainment to Marco Island ... I believe it brings lively entertainment to the island that helps our hotels and other businesses,” Waldack wrote in an e-mail to the reporter.


Spina said about $450,000 is spent annually by the club on travel expenses, including hotels and ground transportation.

Initially, when the first show wrapped up at about 10 p.m., there weren’t many places on Marco for people to go if they wanted to dance or continue staying out after the show.

Recently, Da Vinci Ristorante Italiano, also located in Marco Walk, extended its hours and offerings of music and dance. Da Vinci’s now hosts disco nights on Fridays and Saturdays.

“We’re on the map. When Jay Leno mentions Marco Island eight times, and Howard Stern is talking about being on Marco Island’s beach, it may not seem relevant, it may not seem like a big deal. If you’re a business on this Island, it’s been a big help,” Spina said.

Spina, formerly an Island charter fisherman for about 10 years, shared a sneak peak of some of his featured guests anticipated later this year.


Pauly Shore called Spina on the phone recently.

“Captain, hey buddy, It’s Pauly,” Spina said giving his impression of Pauly Shore. He is scheduled to do a show New Year’s Eve again on Marco.

Also coming later this year: Bill Bellamy, host of the “Last Comic Standing;” Eddie Griffin, a comedic movie and TV star; Michael McDonald, known for playing “Stuart” on “Mad TV,” and Carlos Mencia, who is known for finding the humor in social issues, which often involve race and culture.

Capt. Brien’s Web site,, with a link to the left, will be updated as show times draw near

© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 30

marcopasser writes:

s----- Headline Kelly. In this economy?

dc5799 writes:

Andy Dick performing in our paradise. He's a piece of crap.

playballonK writes:

And his 'daddy in-law' didn't open a few doors(and parking spaces) for this kid?

happy6 writes:

spina's operation is one notch above a strip joint on the island...he tries to make it ok by serving up drive-in food....his daddy-in-law defintely paved the way and removed the barriers for this dump...he's an embarrasment to business owners on the island....and by the way..what has he ever done for the island?

fatiguedelavie writes:

If you've ever dealt with him; Spina cares about Spina. Marco/Naples just happens to be where his relatives are. Watch out Marco, this guy is slick.

SunLVR writes:

Off the hook comedy club ia great! There was nothing to do on this island before! and hes bringing in great acts!

dc5799 writes:

If you think Andy Dick is a great act your in trouble. Andy Dick is lower than whale s--t.
Great act's are entertainer's who entertain.He is a disgrace to the entertainment industry.

otisishere writes:

Yea...lets get a strip club on the will really send the old farts into a cardiac arrest...

happy6 writes:

nothing to do here? what the hell do you come to an island for..Chippendale? go to south's a short drive. spina is a scum bag and will do whatever it takes to make the almighty dollar...this is marco island...not san francisco or miami...come on.

playballonK writes:

Before you pack the family up for a night of fun down at Capt'Moss's to see Andy dick take a look at the following video

fairandbalanced writes:

Let's not get our panties in a bind ladies. Off the Hook doesn't only serve the Marco Islanders, but visitors as well. In fact, if it only served Islanders, it would fail as any business would. By catering to visitors, it helps lower YOUR taxes and nourish YOUR beach. Be thankful that there's a late nite venue for visitors on our Island so they'll keep coming back. Brien's a good businessman and deserves to be rewarded for his hard work and risk taking.
You have a choice in our free society as to whether or not to attend his establishment. Exercise that right. It may make it more pleasurable for the rest of us.

playballonK writes:

Great logic fairandbalanced. I think I'll open a strip club somewhere around the Esplanade...WHAT, whats wrong? Its a business that I know will be packed 24/7 on season and off.
It will lower our taxes replenish our beaches, people in a free society have a right to visit this establishment or not.

fairandbalanced writes:

Good idea, Playball. Although Tract K may be a better site! I'd like to see you put up your own money, manage, market and expand the business and we'll talk again when you're a huge success.

playballonK writes:

Fair, great comeback, you got me.

happy6 writes:

both you guys miss the point...spina's is a dump/strip joint/risque whatever you want to call's still a dump with poor food...and poor comedy. the comedy is bill moss and brian spina making a "funny" out of marco. anyone else tried to open this dump would never have happened...spina was a sorry fisherman and a much more sorry islander.

fairandbalanced writes:

Shadow, sounds like you should probably dine elsewhere. Fortunately many others feel differently as told by the nightly crowds and cause for expansion. No need to disparage Brien or Bill Moss. If you have a personal ax to grind, maybe you should address it directly with them.

playballonK writes:

Shadow great post. fairandbalanced over here has got 'an axe to grind' with anyone who has an opinion about Capt' Moss's smut club.
I can't wait for another brilliant follow up from unbalanced.

lauralbi1 writes:

Dear Fellow Bloggers: My wife and I are very excited, for as you know, these postings are not a Carte Blanche to slander fellow citizens. As soon as we find out the identity of "saracellsshells" is, and we will, we plan on taking every cent that this person has and will have for a long time to come. The Eagle will cooperate as there is no place for conduct such as this anyplace at anytime. Our lawyer is waiting with anxious pen in hand. Retirement is hopefully just a name away, although one would guess that this person probably has as much money as sense, and that would be none.
Ed Issler

happy6 writes: and i don't agree on much...BUT...i do agree with you on was/is uncalled for and slanderous...the two of us poke at each other continuously and probably always will...but this was beyond "poking" at each other....sorry for the ignorant posting of this individual and if i were you i wouldn't worry about anyone believing his/her words.

dc5799 writes:

I never agree with you but bringing your spouse into this is wrong BUT, as for slander, you slander Bill McMullen most everytime you post a comment.

lauralbi1 writes:

dc5799: If you tell me what I have posted about Mr. McMullan that is not true, I will retract those statements. Mr. McMullan can sue me till the cows come home and there is no slander or liable in anything I have posted about him.
On the other hand, we are in the process of getting a subpoena to get all the info on "saracellsshells" from the Eagle and Craig is waiting to do his thing to get my wife and I lots of damages, hopefully this person has money !!! Looking forward to the process. Will keep all of you updated.
Ed Issler

lauralbi1 writes:

dc5799: I thought about it and I will not only retract, but I will apologize. Mr. McMullan's past and his recent conduct, at Marco Office Supply, are what we would all consider far from the "norm". As long as he chooses to criticize others or talk about "proper conduct", I will bring up his past. He, not I or we, are responsible for what he has done and the behavior he has exhibited.
But thanks for your words of support.
Ed Issler

happy6 writes: careful here my ...and craig...are treading on grounds that are fairly well's been tried in the courts before and the complaintant lost his butt.....and if i were your atty i'd tell you ....keep your mouth shut! even on the blog....i doubt you will win a dime over all this...

happy34145 writes:

Ed Issler - alot of hot air. You are going to sue for what???? What damages could you have possibly suffered from a blog on this website that 10 people read?

playballonK writes:

Issler, you leave yourself open for posters like Sarah with your inflammatory & hateful comments.
For you, Sarah has been a long time coming, and every blogger on this site agrees with me.
Sarah, you need to chill a little bit or else they could shut us all down. Issler perhaps an alias name for you would fit your style of blogging better, because its true; if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen.

dc5799 writes:

Thank's for the info, but I had that figured out a long time ago. Don't bring family into it though.
Take a breath and relax.

lauralbi1 writes:

shadow and happy: You should know enough about me by now to know that this is just a fun place to share ideas and opinions and I look at it that way. My satisfaction is going to be finding out who this person is and getting what I can from them and doing what I can to them. Too late about your comments. Got a $1,000 retainer doing it's job right now to get the subpeona. That is the start for me. Just the start. Much more to come. Any amount of money will not satisfy me or compensate for the slander and liable this person has done and will not feel as good as exposing this person.
Ed Issler

Johnnboye writes:


I agree that bringing family into a blog is right out of the left wing media play book and should be avoided. But Mr. Issler does have a habit of being rude on the blog so I can see why Miss Sara does not appreciate his verbage.

The Eagle keeps removing this girls posting. I'm sure I read yesterday on her blog that she was prepared to come forth with the black security guard who claims to have "relations" with some ladies at the Marriott. If this individual is prepared to tesity in court that he had an affair with some lady, I'm not sure this is slander. I believe this comes under the heading, as Sara wrote, He said/ she said?

Either way, it will be embarrasing for all parties involved.

lauralbi1 writes:

You know it is really hilarious how some of you live vicariously through these postings. Don't you understand that this is a site for people to express their opinions and FACTS and not a site for people to slander other bloggers or citizens. I have never posted any statement or criticism about anything or anyone that was not true. John Putnam had the guts to actually confirm what I said about Mr. McMullan, for example.
Nothing that the subject blogger said about myself or my family was or is true. This is not a soap opera for your entertainment. We will get our "pound of flesh", believe me.
Ed Issler

Johnnboye writes:

Mr. Issler,

I do not believe the point which the young lady, Sara, is trying to make includes whether or not you are being factual. She states that you are simply "mean spirited." Your colleague's on this blog seem to confirm her point. As for whether or not she is being factual will be decided in court (if you choose that course of action.) I'm not sure it can be proved that the testimony to be offered by her "large, dark male friend" can be shown to be a falshood. Nor can it be proved to be true without the confirmation of the lady friend with which he claims to have had an affair. It would seem that it becomes his word vs. the lady friend. That "pound of flesh" may be difficult to come by. You need to prove that he is lying.

Good luck with that.

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