Comedyworks abruptly goes out of business

The Comedyworks, a fixture on Montreal's comedy scene for nearly a quarter of a century, abruptly shut its doors for good Friday.

The owner of the Bishop St. establishment suggests the club — and its adjoining bar, Jimbo's — had been losing money for years, in part because of a lack of parking in the downtown core.

"The problem is not comedy competition as much as the lack of parking for customers," CJAD contributor Bill Brownstein told Aaron Rand Friday. "They weren't getting the customers coming in from out of island because of too many condos, not enough parking."

In the last two years, a large parking lot across the street was replaced with a condo building.

The Comedyworks, with its brick wall backdrop and dozens of photos of comics lining its walls, was well known for its charm and intimacy. It had been a launching pad for hundreds of local comics in the 24 years it had been in business. It also hosted a popular open mic night on Mondays, and served as home base for the On The Spot improv troupe.

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  1. Bess C. posted on 06/20/2014 10:22 PM
    DATED. The establishment had old vinyl chairs, rickety tables, and outdated restrooms. Fire safety evacuation was my main concern.
  2. sstm posted on 06/21/2014 08:37 PM
    The inability to navigate and park has had an effect on the Plateau already. Downtown isn't much better. Not everybody wants to wait for the bus after a nice dinner or a night on the town and paying for a taxi to sit in a traffic jam can get expensive. The Metro closes well before the bars and many events. Parking a car has become close to impossible even if the expense isn't an issue. There are many small businesses closing down in downtown Montreal. If you aren't within walking distance, why or how would one deal with the difficulties?
  3. Chortlewurth C. McGoofball posted on 06/22/2014 02:34 PM
    So let me get this straight...

    The bar's business model involved catering nearly exclusively to people driving to a bar...

    And it's lack of parking that did them in?


    If you're going to a bar you shouldn't be driving in the first place.

    And no one wants to be the schmuck designated driver.

    It's unfortunate that a private citizen chose to stop being an entrepreneur, but therein lies the nature of capitalism. People start businesses for the money, not for anyone's eventual nostalgia. What? Do we expect government should've swooped in and said:

    "No, no - don't populate the downtown core with people paying property taxes, let's keep all the parking lots so that a few geriatrics can put their roadsters to use when they occasionally visit a comedy club?"

    Comedyworks shutting down gives someone else an opportunity to open up. They had access to a potentially captive audience (i.e. they're next door to Concordia and the Shaughnessy Village) and they proved as much when they routinely filled the place with young people.

    It wasn't Westmount money that was showing up to Aziz Ansari shows, give me a break.
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