Carolines comedy club to close Dec. 31

The comedy venue mainstay Carolines on Broadway will close at the end of the year, FOX 5 NY has confirmed.

The club's owner, Caroline Hirsch, decided not to renew the venue's lease. The comedy club, which first opened 40 years ago, has been at its current location near Times Square since 1992 — long before the area was a draw for tourists.

"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," the club said in a message posted on social media. "We are very proud to have played an integral role in its resurgence and brought much needed laughter to the neighborhood and the city."

Dec. 31 will be club's final night of shows but Carolines will be back in different ways, management said. 

"As we continue to expand the brand, Carolines next 'stage' will be larger and bring the best comedy to more people in more places," the club's Facebook post stated. "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."

Hirsch first opened the club as a cabaret in Chelsea in 1982. But she soon started booking comedians, which led to its transformation into a full-fledged comedy club, according to its website. Some of those early performers included Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, Billy Crystal, and Rosie O'Donnell.

The club later moved to a bigger space at South Street Seaport for about five years before moving again uptown to Times Square.