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Monday, April 26, 2010

Breaking news

Just got this over the wire (I like to give the illusion I work in an old-fashioned news office). It's very interesting, to say the least, if a little fuzzy. I will definitely be making a few calls and getting back to you. First, read the press release and then we'll discuss:

YukYuks to open four new venues in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland

Burrard Street location set to close May 1

Toronto, April 26, 2010—YukYuks, Canada’s largest chain of comedy clubs, with 17 locations coast to coast, is pleased to announce it has found a new Vancouver franchisee and intends to open four new clubs in the lower mainland, beginning summer 2010. As a result, their Burrard Street location in Vancouver will close as of May 1.

Breslin said the future site will “blow all the past locations away.”

“For the past thirty years, YukYuks has been more than a set of comedy clubs; it’s also been a talent development system,” said Mark Breslin, CEO and founder of the chain. “Our work depends on all of our franchisees participating in our national vision, and frankly our Vancouver operator did not share our enthusiasm in building a strong Canadian comedy company.”

YukYuks has been in continuous operation in Vancouver since 1988, when its Davie Street location opened. In 1990, it relocated to the Expo site where it remained until 2003 and then moved to the soon to be closed Burrard Street location.

YukYuks was founded in 1976 in Toronto and quickly grew to its current status as the gold standard for Canadian comedy clubs. Among its alumni are Jim Carrey, Howie Mandel, Russell Peters, Norm MacDonald, Mike Bullard and hundreds more. Please visit,

My thoughts:

1. "Burrard Street location set to close May 1" From what I've heard, the current location on Burrard will close only as a Yuk Yuk's but will remain open as a comedy club under a new name. I will confirm and report back. I know this is something Yuk Yuk's has done in the past when a franchisee has broken ties with the chain. Head office in Toronto sends out a press release saying they're closing down which effectively tells casual fans of the club to stay away, there's nothing to see here. It's technically true, and certainly Yuk Yuk's is under no obligation to promote a competitor, but the information is only partly correct since people can still go to the same place and see a comedy show.

2. "has found a new Vancouver franchisee and intends to open four new clubs in the lower mainland..." One new franchisee is going to open up four new clubs? Who is this Mr. Moneybags?! Or is it four new franchisees? And where, exactly, in the lower mainland will these clubs go? Vancouver is a gimme, but the other three? A quick glance at Wikipedia shows me all the communities considered to be part of the lower mainland. Discounting the tiny burgs, that leaves us with Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope, Cloverdale, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Langley, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, and White Rock, give or take a couple. If they are able to make a go of it in four locations in the lower mainland, kudos to them. That would be great for the Vancouver comedy scene. We lose too many comics to Ontario for the simple reason that there's so much more work there. Four lower mainland locations, plus the ones in Alberta, would be a godsend to working comics here.

3. By why stop there? BC has better locations than the lower mainland. How about my hometown of Victoria? I know there used to be a Yuk Yuk's there and Hecklers is proving there's a regular audience for good stand-up comedy. How about Kelowna or Kamloops, one or both of which already have a Yuks room (as opposed to a club)? How about the tourist trap of Whistler? I know there are regular comedy shows there. I haven't been to one but I'm sure they do well.

"Breslin said the future site will 'blow all the past locations away.'” Now this is curious. He's talking about a future site. Singular. Aren't there four sites? And where is the site? If you're going to announce it today, why not say where it is?

All very interesting. As I said, I'll keep you posted.

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