Cap City Comedy Club - A Farewell

September 10, 2020

Photo Credit

Bradley Oesch


Valerie Lopez


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.