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Friendly Oasis of Entertainment

June 09, 1995|TIM MAY

It's no mirage: Oasis in the Valley offers enough spirits, games and lightly lascivious entertainment to lure even long-dormant revelers.

THE SCENE: Tuesday night is comedy night, and the small room, arranged around a piano bar under a low-slung antiquey chandelier, is usually full. Egyptian drawings are perched over a mirror that runs the length of the room opposite a long bar. In the back, an electronic dart board, pool table and pinball machine sit unattended.

THE CROWD: Oasis is frequented mostly by gay men, but Tuesdays draw a mixed crowd, "about 60% gay, 40% straight, a real high class of people," said Doug, an attentive bartender. A recent Tuesday night was slow, due to a long, holiday weekend, but it didn't stop the tiny audience, ages 25 to 40, from laughing.

THE SHOW: Danny Woodburn, who prefers to call himself a "little person," walked up to the microphone and lowered it. "Midgets," he said, are different from other minorities. "We weren't ever enslaved like black people, but we were given away as gifts." About half the routines included some kind of homosexual material, and most jokes got a respectable return.

THE GOOD: The entertainment makes Oasis work, and the comedians made the crowd feel like family. It's clubby and close, and most comedians there seemed to know each other. Some who work Tuesdays also show on Thursdays, when it's open mike, to try different deliveries. Drinks are served quickly by attentive, friendly waiters and bartenders.

THE BAD: Don't even think about making a break for the door during someone's act: The place is so tightly knit, it's a bit of an affront to leave before the punch line is delivered, and you could become the embarrassed target of some sharp wit's barb.

THE WORD: "I haven't been here in years, but I remember it as a great place," said Peter Iannucci, 34, of Valley Village. "It's not really a scene, that's what's nice. And it's comfortably local." Iannucci's friend Andrea, who hadn't been to a club in more than five years--"I've been busy," she explained--added that she liked the atmosphere. After a carefully weighed pause: "I'd come here again."

Oasis in the Valley, 11916 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. Open from 2 p.m. till 2 a.m. daily. Mondays, movies in the afternoon, juke box music evenings. Starting at 8:30: Tuesday, "unchained" comedy; Wednesday and Saturday, Alex Tims on piano; Thursday, Brian Miller and Miss Olga, piano and open mike; Friday, Sam Goldstein on piano; Sunday, 3 p.m., Lori Donato on piano; 8 p.m., Brian Miller. No cover charge. Call (818) 980-4811.

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