The day the laughter died. Well, it’s not quite dead but there are fewer chuckles in St. John’s these days since the city’s only comedy club has shut down.
For more than six years Yuk Yuk’s was the place to go for local stand up but now, people will have to get their laughs somewhere else. The company says financial struggles led to the closure of its St. John’s franchise. It’s a big disappointment for local funny folks who got their start at the stand up club. Now, they’re searching for new venues.
Stand up comedians like Nicole Downton say performing at Yuk Yuks was a great career booster. “Yuk Yuk’s is a name that is instantly recognizable to comedy fans everywhere. It was fun to be able to say that I was performing at Yuk Yuk’s.” Downton says without a designated venue, comedians will have to work harder to get laughs.
“Yuk Yuk’s was something to aim for. Getting booked for a weekend there meant something! Being on an island, so separated from the rest of the country, they really gave us that shot at being seen by comics and higher ups that could help us further comedy careers.”
Downton says St.John’s needs a space for comedy. ”Professional comedy here is a very in-demand thing. Amateur comedy is, too, I mean, it’s how we’ve all gotten to where we are or where we hope to be. But the demand for a specific venue for stand up comedy is very much present in St. John’s.”
She hopes Yuk Yuk’s will eventually reopen in St.John’s but, in the meantime local comedians will have to be creative. “We’ll continue to do comedy. Without a doubt, local comedy is alive and not going anywhere,“ Downton says. “There are weekly comedy shows at The Levee Wednesdays at 9:30pm, and at Trapper John’s Thursdays 9pm. Hopefully more rooms will pop up, or even one off shows anywhere that will have us.”
Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans are funny people. They like a good laugh and Downton says that’s not about to change. “We may have to work harder to set up new relationships with bar and venue owners and to book our own shows, but this is merely an obstacle, not a set back.”