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Chicago's Only Black-Owned Comedy Club Is Closing

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jun 22, 2016 3:07PM

Yelp User Nicole C.

Influential Bronzeville comedy club Jokes and Notes announced Tuesday it will be closing its doors after a decade in operation. It was the city's only black-owned comedy club.

Before Jokes and Notes, owner Mary Lindsey previously owned the iconic, now-shuttered All Jokes Aside, in the South Loop. That space was the subject of a fine documentary, Phunny Business: A Black Comedy (2010).

Like All Jokes Aside, Jokes and Notes built a reputation for fostering future-star talent and providing a space for young comics to develop.

Along with comics like Lil Rel Howery, formerly Chicago-based comedian Deon Cole (The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, Black-ish) came to prominence through Jokes and Notes. He spoke on Tuesday about the closing on WGN Radio's The Download. "You have to progress and you have to grow. Making moves is a part of life," he told host Justin Kaufmann. "Hopefully other comics are about to fill the void of not having a very well-run establishment. I think that’s needed for everybody to get their material together.

"You don’t want to have everybody be bar comics, where you're performing for those people instead of having them come into your world."

The club's last night of performances is expected to be Saturday.