Anchorage comedy institution closing

Fly By Night owner finds nothing funny about 80-hour weeks

Posted: Friday, August 18, 2006

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage comedy institution is closing its doors after 26 years.

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The Fly By Night, located in the city's Spenard section, has long been a popular choice to take visitors for Spam dishes and jokes, political spoofs and tunes.

The last show, "Whale Fat Follies," is set for Sept. 8, according to Fly By Night's owner Douglas J. Haggar, who goes by the name Mr. Whitekeys.

Haggar, also the show maestro, said he doesn't want to be in charge of a bar and restaurant anymore but will stay in Anchorage and continue to entertain people.

"That's what I do," said Haggar, 59. "I'm a piano player. A sleazy piano player from Spenard."

Local businessmen Allen Choy and Jeff Matosky are taking over the building, renaming it Players House of Rock. The new bar will be devoted to the Alaska Aces hockey team and Monday night football, as well as live music and poetry slams, Matosky said.

An unofficial opening for Players is set for Sept. 11. The formal opening is tentatively set for Sept. 15.

The Fly By Night shows changed seasonally, from the summertime "Whale Fat Follies" aimed primarily for tourists to "Christmas in Spenard" and "Springtime in Spenard," both popular with locals.

In 2004, Haggar went national with a ditty about President Bush: "The Liar Sleeps Tonight," a take-off on the 1961 hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."

"The Liar" became a much-requested songs on "The Dr. Demento Show," a nationally syndicated radio program.

Haggar came to Alaska with a friend in 1970, starting Fly By Night 10 years later in another location.

He said he sold the business mostly because he is tired of working 80-hour weeks.

"I'm just looking for a few days off," he said. "And then to go back to work at an easy little job."

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