The nervous laughter escapes me as another Dallas staple is forced to permanently close because of Covid-19. Ironically, this news isn’t funny at all: Deep Ellum is losing the iconic Dallas Comedy House.
After re-locating just last fall to a bigger space on Elm Street, complete with an outdoor beer garden, restaurant, and co-working space, founder Amanda Austin announced the bittersweet news on Facebook two days ago.
“If you would have told me when I filed paperwork in 2008 to form an LLC for a comedy theater that my life would be changed forever by the experience, I would have laughed at you and kept googling ‘how to run a business,'” Austin states on the Dallas Comedy House page. “I never dreamed this journey would teach me so much about comedy, about business, about others, and about myself.”
I attended the grand opening of the new location last August and was impressed with the new space. I had some food and drinks in the outdoor beer garden and attended an improv show indoors. It was a good time and I looked forward to more nights out at DCH in the future. Unfortunately, life happens, and I never made it back out. Man, am I regretting that now.
Comedy show are meant to be intimate. At every comedy club show I’ve been to, from Addison Improv to Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles, I both despise and love how close the hosts squish you at tables next to strangers. Once the stand-up act or improv troupe you were so excited to see comes out on stage, there’s a sudden a charm to the close quarters and communal laughter you share with those around you.
The comedy house tried virtual shows, takeout food, and later, socially distanced outdoor shows, but just like humans, this is not how a comedy club is supposed to live. And Dallas isn’t losing just a place to showcase comedy, but a place to learn comedy. Over the last decade, DCH has offered improv, sketch, stand-up, and more classes for aspiring comedians. There isn’t another place like it in Dallas.
Despite this terrible news, I hold out hope that we’ll one day be able to drink, sweat, and laugh at tiny tables next to strangers at comedy clubs once again.