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Double Duty

A stand-up performer at heart, Eric Rosenblum is also the creative force behind the promotional materials and merchandise of many South Florida comedy clubs and comics.

by Chuck king
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DELRAY BEACH – A comedy class at the Palm Beach Improv not only launched Eric Rosenblum into stand-up comedy, it altered his business model.

While attending the class, Rosenblum met Improv owner Rene Harte, who was trying to navigate a printing snafu that left her without promotional materials she needed.

Rosenblum, owner of Southgate Design, told Harte that he could solve her problem, then proceeded to do so.

“She gave me a shot and then the next thing you know I’m doing printing for all the clubs,” Rosenblum said.

When Rosenblum first enrolled in the comedy course, he intended to keep his comedy peanut butter and Southgate chocolate separate. Some 10 years later, he found that merging the two created delicious peanut butter cup satisfaction.

He now handles design and printing for the Palm Beach and Miami Improvs and Arizona’s Stand-up live in Tempe, Ariz., along with filling the merchandising needs of some of the nation’s best known comics.

“I think he cares above and beyond,” Harte said. “He will do anything to get the job done.”

Fliers and posters are second nature Rosenblum, but he’s delivered most anything clubs and local comics request.

He’ll create and fill orders for comics who’ve grown big enough to sell shirts, hats and – thanks, COVID-19 – masks.

“He’s kind of a drug dealer of shirts, [saying] ‘Here take this,’” comic Carl Rimi said. “He knows it’s going to be good so you are going to end up buying more.”

Rosenblum is also eager to help beginning comics – and fledgling comedy businesses – with business cards and show fliers. (Southgate designed and printed the Applause Break business cards and promotional materials.) Local promoters and bars often turn to Rosenblum for show posters and other promotional materials.

“I work out deals to help the comics out,” said Rosenblum, who earned a degree in computer graphics from the New York Institute of Technology before opening Southgate Design in 2003.

Rosenblum’s successful in this printing niche in part because he’s caught the comedy bug during that initial class. While the pandemic and the birth of his son less than a year ago limited Rosenblum’s ability to get on stages, he’s starting to once again find more stage time.

Last weekend Rosenblum hosted Mark Viera’s shows at the Palm Beach Improv. He’s also attending more open mics. Even during his recent sabbatical, Rosenblum never stopped hunting punchlines.

“I’m always writing,” Rosenblum said. “I write everyday, little things here and there.”

Rosenblum believes his immersion in the world of stand-up comedy gives him unique insight into the the needs of comics.

His clients seem to agree.

“Definitely helpful because he thinks in that space. A business card for a business always looks a little different than an entertainer’s,” comic Dean Napolitano said. “He’s literally right on it as soon as you call. And he’s always positive and helpful with ideas.”

A decade after first stepping onto the Improv stage, Rosenblum is ecstatic that he’s able to meld his comedic sensibilities with his design skill.

“I’m not going to be bashful, I’d definitely be pleased if all the comics where just like, I only get my merch at Southgate,” Rosenblum said. “The dream is really just to be that go to guy.”

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