Wagman reached out for help with that move on Facebook and 25 people have volunteered to assist in clearing out the club’s contents next week.
“The response has been overwhelming,” said Wagman, who has been involved with the comedy club for all of its 37 years in Ottawa. “We’ve got the most supportive comedy community you can imagine in this city.”
Yuk Yuk’s has been operating out of an Elgin Street basement, the site of an old grocery store, for the past 11 years — ever since being christened on opening night by comedian Gerry Dee. The original club launched in March 1984 on Albert Street, near Elgin.
Yuk Yuk’s has helped to develop a host of top-flight Ottawa comics: Norm Macdonald, Tom Green, John Dore and Jeremy Hotz all sharpened their acts on the Yuk Yuk’s stage. The late Mike MacDonald, who went to high school in Ottawa, was a frequent headliner and perennial favourite at the club.
Yuk Yuk’s has remained open for much of the pandemic with audiences limited to 50 people. Comedians perform behind a Plexiglas screen.
Yuk Yuk’s general manager Chris Borris, who also works as a comedian, said doing stand-up in a pandemic has had its challenges given that audiences are smaller and some patrons are masked. “It is unusual,” he said. “I’m just grateful every time I get to perform because the pandemic has ruined this whole industry for so many people.”
Many comedy clubs have been forced to close because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Borris said just being inside the comedy club has been therapeutic. “Just being in a roomful of people laughing, I don’t need to be on the stage to benefit from that: It’s good for your mental health.”
This content was originally published here.