The Laugh Factory’s Chicago club has announced it will reopen this Saturday (Aug. 1), in accordance with the city of Chicago’s reopening guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The club plans to put on shows on weekends only through September, with audiences limited to 50 per show. All of the performers listed for this weekend and next are locally based.
Among the new rules enforced by The Laugh Factory Chicago: Completely paperless shows (so you’ll have to pay by credit/debit card, no cash), adjusted showtimes to allow more time and distance for audiences to enter and exit the showroom, temperature checks for club employees before every shift, who all will be masked; customers must wear masks anytime they’re not seated; audience groups will not be seated together, and no group larger than six; availability of hand sanitizers.
Additional plexiglass barriers appear to have been installed in front of the stage and elsewhere to create safer separation.
Of course, none of this has stopped other clubs across America from reopening sooner, or from even comedians themselves from performing and discovering they’ve been infected with the coronavirus.
D.L. Hughley passed out onstage at Zanies Nashville last month and was hospitalized, where he discovered he was suffering from COVID-19. That club cleared out its schedule following that incident, but plans to be back in business Aug. 7-9 with performances by Darren Knight’s “Southern Momma,” and a COVID-19 statement that tells audience members to waive their liability if they attend a show and get sick.
Meanwhile, the LOL San Antonio comedy club (part of the Improv chain), where Bryan Callen and Brendan Schaub performed a month ago, did meet-and-greets with fans afterward, then returned to California to report they’d both tested positive for COVID-19…the LOL comedy club is still or back in business already. Adam Carolla headlines San Antonio this weekend. Ali Siddiq headlines the Houston Improv, while Pablo Francisco is at Addison, and Michael Blackson is at Arlington. So that’s Texas, despite being one of the big hotspots still for COVID-19.
Callen reported last week that he had recovered from his case of the coronavirus.
How about Florida, you ask? The Miami Improv‘s calendar is sparse right now, save for a couple of outdoor shows on the patio, with no headlining weekends booked until Aug. 20-22 (Andrew Santino). The Palm Beach Improv had no shows this week, with a return scheduled for Aug. 14-16 with Sinbad. The Tampa Improv remains closed for the summer. Sidesplitters, meanwhile, does have Kevin Farley booked this Thursday-Saturday, noting only online: “In an effort to social distance, please do not select seats at a table with other seats already purchased unless you are all in the same party. Also please remember the Hillsborough County mask mandate is in effect.”
And in Arizona, the Tempe Improv has nothing scheduled until mid-September. Stand Up Live in Phoenix is on hold until Aug. 23. But in North Phoenix, at Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy, the shows go on this weekend with Jamie Lissow. You can read the House of Comedy COVID-19 guidelines here.
Among other comedy clubs that opened earlier than anyone else in America?
The Wiseguys clubs in Utah remain in business on the weekends, still limiting audience capacity by 65 percent.
Bricktown Comedy Club in Oklahoma City remains solid with lineups. They’ve even got Hughley on the lineup for August!