In a shocking news report today, legendary NYC comedy club Carolines on Broadway announced that it was closing its doors at the end of the year after 40 years, and 30 at its current Times Square location. The official social media accounts of the club announced the news stating its final show would be on New Year’s Eve, December 31st. Fitting since it’s customary for the club to bring patrons of those NYE shows to the rooftop to watch the ball drop a few feet down the road. One last ball drop for an iconic club in an iconic location.
The comedy industry is a fickle beast and when it comes to influential people within it, few are in such rarified air as the venue’s proprietor Caroline Hirsch. Her spotting emerging talent over the years made a list of celeb comics a mile long. She provided them a platform to perform for decades. There’s a small handful of names that are so intrinsically linked to comedy clubs and Hirsch is one of them. The Carolines crew not only providing for comedy but beyond within the Times Square community, Television and film, the NY Comedy Festival, and charity work. Hirsch originally began her club as a caberet in SoHo in 1981 before moving it to the Times Square location in 1992.
While they didn’t give much of a reason in their statement about why they were closing, Hirsch later told the NY Post that she was priced out of the location by the landlord and her “stunned” staff found out this information hours before the news broke to the public. There’s been no mention of finding another locale yet but they mentioned they intended to bring more comedy to “more people in more places.” Adding that they’d also continue to grow the NY Comedy Festival and bring that to more locations around the nation. What does this fully mean? We’ll have to wait and see.
Hopefully there will be more news to report on this.
Here’s the full statement from the club.
To our Carolines family and friends:
After 30 wonderful years at our location in Times Square, we have decided not to renew our lease. Our final shows here will be on December 31.
Carolines began 40 years ago in Chelsea and later moved to the South Street Seaport before calling Times Square home in 1992, when many New Yorkers and businesses had written off Times Square and NYC overall due to record high crime and a lack of proactive government solutions. People thought we were crazy to invest in Times Square, only later to say that we were ahead of the curve when global brands like Disney, Nasdaq and national retailers and businesses came to the neighborhood. We are very proud to have played an integral role in its resurgence and brought much needed laughter to the neighborhood and the city.
We’ve had an incredible run these past 40 years, elevating comedy from the very beginning and we are so proud of the comedians that have graced our stages throughout the years with their considerable talents. As we continue to expand the brand, Carolines next “stage” will be larger and bring the best comedy to more people in more places. We will also continue to grow the New York Comedy Festival throughout the city and the country. No matter the shape or form of Carolines’ future platform, we will always shine a spotlight on emerging talent.
We are very excited about the future of the Carolines brand and will provide updates through our social media channels, so be sure to follow us.
We want to thank the comedians, our incredibly talented staff and all of the comedy fans who have visited the club throughout the years to help make Carolines the success it has been for the last four decades.