Cap City Comedy Club - A Farewell

September 10, 2020

Photo Credit

Bradley Oesch

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Valerie Lopez

A Love Letter to Cap City Comedy Club

Hi! How are you? It’s been since March that we last saw each other. Things seemed ok then.

Remember that you were starting to get things in place for the annual Funniest Person in Austin contest? With the annual hand wringing of who would advance, who would not advance, who would current crown holder Andrew Murphy get to pass the crown and cape to?

Attending the finals of FPIA was something I always looked forward to. Getting to watch the crownings of Lashonda Lester, Enzo Priesnitz, Joe Mendoza, and Murphy sit high on the altar of memorable magical memories that I have with you.

I was getting myself psyched for Moontower and deciding which shows to attend that you hosted.

And then it happened.

Everything closed down. Live comedy in Austin died. And I missed you. I kept checking the calendar to see if you were brave enough to open under the safety restrictions. And you did. You started booking again and I was cautiously hopeful that things could return to some version of normalcy. But I was scared, even with all the safety precautions you were taking, I was scared, so I stayed away. I’ll never know if I should have made a greater effort.

We had so much fun together, remember?

Oh my goodness, the amazing experiences you gave me - from seeing Punch Comedy, to the Comedy Central Roast Battle featuring giants of Austin Comedy like Chris Cubas, Kath Barbadoro, Aaron Brooks and more. And all the touring acts that I loved seeing - Martha Kelly, Bobby Lee (oh what a show), Anthony Jeselnik, Ron Funches (twice), The Sklar Brothers, Gareth Reynolds, Leanne Morgan (more times than I can count), and Kill Tony to name a few. And I loved how you let me bring my then 12 year-old to his first Cap City show.

And discovering so many rising star comics that I grew to love over the years because they had featuring or even hosting spots for these big names - Jeremiah Watkins, Tom Thakkar, and Andy Forrester to name just a few.

The other dimension to our relationship was watching you support local comics who always felt like they had a home with you. I felt so blessed to watch Vanessa Gonzalez and George Anthony and countless others record albums or record audition sets for JFL on your stages. The local comics who put out albums all loved your stage for recording. Of course because of the great stage, the great management, the dedicated staff, but also because of the symbiotic relationship with Dustin “Deez Nuts” Svhelak.

You nurtured more than just the people within your walls.

As a big fan of comedy who had covered the Austin scene in an official capacity as Comedy Wham, it was always a treat to go to a show and see who you’d picked as host for a touring act. It was how I witnessed local greats like Amber Bixby, Vanessa, Danny Goodwin, Hunter Duncan (or is it Duncan Hunter?), Ashley Overton, and others come into their own rising from open mic to host, to feature, to headliner levels.

Rarely would I hear anyone speak a disparaging word of you. That’s a great sign of your stature. While other clubs and managers got negative attention over the last few years for underpayment, mistreatment and even outright abuse, you did what you’ve always done - you cared.

Under the stewardship of Margie, Colleen, and Rich--each of whom we all were so familiar with they need only be mentioned by their first names mind you--you cared about bringing national comics here, while doing your best to elevate local comics who had been toiling at your Sunday night open mic (and others around town) for years.

And now you’re gone.

Vanished in a heartbeat it seems, but what must have been an incredibly painful experience over the last 6 months as everything you’ve known and loved slips away slowly, slowly, until you cannot hold on any longer.

Austin comedy will survive. There are still a lot of comics doing their best under the circumstances. Over the last 6 months, we’ve watched an exodus as comics return home, or make the jump to big cities, or just slowly distance themselves from their comedy identities.

For those fans and comics who remain here, know that Austin comedy is strong.

It may be incredibly difficult to know where to see great Austin comedy after your departure, but if we know anything about human nature, we know about resilience. And those who are ready will find spaces, will make spaces, and will find ways to do creative things. We’ve seen that already with the presence of online shows (we’ll never convince the naysayers, but it IS an outlet for those who are willing to try it), drive-in shows (talk about creativity!), and who knows what else comedy inventors will create for us fans and performers.

And so we say farewell. We have loved this journey with you. We had hoped to enjoy your company for years to come. It was not to be. But the memories you gave me are priceless, and one day instead of crying about the end of Cap City Comedy Club, I will smile for all of the memories that you gave me.

If you would like to add your own thoughts, feel free to in the comments below. And feel free to visit Cap City to witness the outpouring of support being left at their door.