SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre reopened its doors to patrons Friday evening after what the owner describes as the toughest year in his 34 years in business.
The comedy club has been a staple spot for people looking for a night of laughter in the Sarasota-Manatee area. However, back on March 16, 2020 the sounds of laughter went silent.
Owner and entertainer Les McCurdy feels fortunate to have survived the significant losses. He says business dropped off by 95% compared to 2019.
“I am 65-years-old and had been 33 years in business. I had saved some money,” said McCurdy. “I would have hate to have done this if I had been four or five years in business, that would have been devastating,” he explained.
McCurdy tried reopening twice last year with strict COVID-19 safety protocols in place; first in June and again in November. He quickly realized the Sarasota-area just wasn’t ready yet.
“We had all these sanitation stations, we were masking while moving, we were social distancing, we were doing everything. People were like nope, not at all,” said McCurdy. “They would not come out. They were all like thanks, but no thanks.. we are not ready,” he continued.
This time around, the comedy club’s owner is convinced the COVID-19 vaccine will be his business’s saving grace.
“We wanted to wait and open when we could open with very little restrictions and so we just kept watching the numbers in Manatee County and Sarasota County and we felt like by this time, if you wanted a vaccine, you had it,” said the comedian.
Based off recent sales in the box office, McCurdy says he can tell people are confident in coming back out.
“We are probably going to do twice as many patrons as we even hoped we were going to do, so it really shows us that people are ready and they are comfortable,” he said.
Patrons we spoke with are eager to have a sense of normalcy.
“I feel comfortable. That’s why I’m here. We are going to be with a group of probably 75 or 80 people here tonight and it is going to be an awesome show,” said patron Rich Macklin.
McCurdy says masks will be recommended, but not required. Hand sanitizing stations will also be on hand for patrons.
“It is such a wonderful feeling, to be back,” said McCurdy.
You can find details on upcoming shows by visiting McCurdy’s website.