The

on upper Queen Street this year celebrates its 20th anniversary.

From its shady beginnings, including conversion from a pornography cinema, the venue has grown into an important developer of broadcast talent and is credited with giving television's 7 Days the comedians and writers needed to make the show a hit.

Videographer Mike Scott goes behind the scenes of a typical night, and talks to well-known Classic alumni -- including Dai Henwood, Brendan Lovegrove and Michele A'Court -- about life and death at the Auckland landmark.

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In today's Canvas, writer Matt Nippert takes a look at the seedy history of the venue and sees first-hand its role as a sausage factory for jokes and performers.