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Nationally touring comedian hosts weekly Cave Creek show
Marc Buckhout ~ Managing Editor ~ 4/7/2010

Mark Cordes has been performing comedy around the country for more than two decades.
“I quit my real life 23 years ago,” the Carefree resident and former real estate salesman said.
While he mainly performs corporate events and is currently preparing for a tour with a 90-minute show dubbed The Spouse Whisperer, in which he discusses why relationships work, why they don’t and how to make them better, he also is getting a new project off the ground right in his own backyard.
“If you want to see live music or check out art that’s not a problem, but if you’re talking something along the lines of comedy this has been an underserved area for as long as I’ve been in the Valley, which is going on 28 years,” he said.
For nearly two months Cordes has been hosting a free comedy show at Cody’s, one of Cave Creek’s newest restaurants. Owners George and Laura Duerr recently opened the American Grille with a Southwest flare at 6032 E. Cave Creek Road in Cave Creek.
With a commitment to entertainment as part of the dining experience the couple are hosting live blues music on Tuesday and with Cordes’ help comedy on Wednesday.
Cordes said he was intrigued by the idea, to run a show just five minutes from his house, but was curious what kind of talent pool he would have to draw upon locally.
“I’ve been a road warrior for so long that I really didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “Back when I was doing a lot locally you’d run into the same six comics almost wherever you went. The landscape has changed. I’ve never been to a lot of the small shows run around town, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the numbers of people doing comedy. In six weeks we’ve put 30 different comics up and there has really only been one that I wouldn’t invite to come back.”
The response from patrons has been resoundingly supportive.
“Reservations for the show aren’t required, but they’re certainly recommended,” Cordes said. “The main floor in the room where the stage is has seating for 150, but we’ve had to turn people away a couple times already.”
Cordes said the show has already spawned regulars.
“The audiences have been great,” he said. “When you put on a good show with no cover charge people respond. We’ve had people make their reservation for the following week’s show right after the one they just watched finishes. And they’re making their reservations for a larger number telling me they’re going to bring more friends next time. What I’ve found amazing is a lot of people had never been to a live comedy show before. When you live in this part of the Valley apparently a lot of people aren’t driving down to The Tempe Improv or other venues to see a show.”
Beyond the dining area Cody’s offers a rooftop lounge complete with views of the scenic Cave Creek area as well as video monitors showing the comics performances.
The show is tentatively set to start at 7 p.m., but Cordes said it has generally been closer to 7:30 p.m.
The Carefree resident will most often plays the role of host, but said he’ll fill in where needed.
“Every once in a while I’ll headline and do an extended set, but I don’t want people saying, ‘oh it’s him again.’”

Overall Cordes said the show will generally have five comedians perform. To this point to experience level of the comedians has ranged from a year to fellow veterans like Cordes who have 20 plus years of experience.
“We’re really on to something. Anybody that comes out here and doesn’t have a good time, I’ll refund what they paid to see the show,” jokes Cordes about the free show.
Cody’s Smokehouse and Grill is located 6032 E. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek. For information or to make reservations call 480-575-1101 or go to For information on Cordes go to