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Austin's Cap City Comedy Club, shuttered by pandemic, to reopen at the Domain

Eric Webb
Austin 360
Comedian Matt Bearden performs during his comedy show "PUNCH!" at Cap City Comedy Club in 2016. The club's Research Boulevard location shut down in September but is set to reopen in fall 2021 at the Domain.

An Austin institution lost to the coronavirus pandemic is about to get the last laugh.

Cap City Comedy Club will reopen at the Domain in October, the venue announced Thursday. It shut down seemingly for good in September after being closed since the spring due to the pandemic.

Previous coverage:Austin’s Cap City Comedy Club closes permanently

“We laughed until we cried,” read a statement last fall signed by club owners Rich Miller, Margie Coyle, Colleen McGarr and Duncan Strauss. “We are devastated to announce that we have to close the club. After 35 years in this location, and 17 for us as owners, the struggle of being closed since March has proved insurmountable. It is a perfect storm of pandemic, lease and wanting to be responsible to our staff, comedians and audiences.”

Brad and Marc Grossman, brothers who own the nationwide Helium Comedy Club chain, are behind the reopening at the Domain, according to a news release. 

Margie Coyle, co-owner/manager of Cap City Comedy Club, in front of the wall of photos of Funniest Person in Austin winners in 2015.

"We could not be more thrilled that Cap City will be back as the center of the Austin comedy scene. We have known and worked with Marc for years and could not be happier to begin this new chapter," McGarr said in a statement.

A representative for the club said that McGarr is also a partner in the new iteration of the club, as well as that former employees who are interested in coming back would be considered. 

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“Cap City is one of the best comedy clubs in the country with an amazing reputation. We’re fortunate to have had a relationship with them for a long time,” Marc Grossman said in a statement. “When Brad and I heard the club was closing and how upset the community was, we knew that we wanted to change that. I’m just glad that the opportunity presented itself.”

According to the announcement, the new location will still offer food and drinks. It also will feature a main showroom "dedicated to national acts" and a "more intimate showroom" that will focus on local comedy. The club also plans to host events like the Sideshow podcast and Moontower Comedy Festival sets.

The news was met with cheers on social media, including from comedian Doug Benson on Twitter: "Yay, yay, a thousand times yay!"

According to the club’s website, it was launched as the Laff Stop in March 1986 before the name was changed to Capitol City Comedy Club in 1996. At its longtime Research Boulevard home, Cap City hosted both big-name touring national comedians like John Mulaney, Patton Oswalt and Maria Bamford and local comics like Matt Bearden, Maggie Maye and Chris Cubas. It hosted the annual Funniest Person in Austin contest, whose winners included the late Lashonda Lester.

Since Austin venues locked down last spring, live comedy has returned in fits and starts over the past few months — with pandemic safety restrictions — including through shows from Moontower at the Paramount Theatre and residencies by Dave Chappelle and Joe Rogan at Stubb's. A recent string of those shows were canceled after Chappelle tested positive for COVID-19.

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A schedule for shows at the reopened Cap City Comedy Club has not been set, but the club recommends that fans sign up for their mailing list for updates. The October opening will proceed as long as city/state pandemic regulations permit and there are no construction issues, according to a representative.

This story has been updated to include information about the new club's ownership and timeline for opening.

Eric Webb is the Austin360 entertainment editor for the American-Statesman. Email him at ewebb@statesman.com and follow him on Twitter @webbeditor.