NEW YORK - On Thursday night, Caroline’s on Broadway became one of the first live venues in the theatre district to get the show back on the road, since indefinitely closing its doors last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Caroline Hirsch, who opened the comedy club back in 1982, says she couldn’t wait to see the empty chairs and tables filled with smiling patrons.
"It’s a big day. I feel like I’m reopening the club again," Hirsch tells Fox 5.
"It’s special because I can't wait for everybody to come into this room and just have a good laugh," she adds.
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Some of comedy’s biggest names consider Caroline's their home away from home, including new york native Jerry Seinfeld and Chappelle’s Show cast member Donnell Rawlings, who headlined opening night.
"I’m super excited to get back to Caroline’s because this is one of the first clubs where I got paid, and one of the biggest clubs that gave me a shot maybe twenty-five years ago," Rawlings says.
Rawlings had to pivot to virtual performances and socially distant shows over the past year.
"There’s nothing like performing for a live audience, getting that immediate response, and hearing and feeling… feeling people breathing, feeling people laughing," he explains.
Hirsch says it’s also important for New Yorkers to do their part and pay it forward by supporting other small venues throughout the city.
"They’re waiting for their SBA loans to come through, waiting with baited breath to get that money so they can operate for the rest of the year," she mentions.
All shows scheduled for this week at Caroline's are completely sold out, except a 9:45 show on Sunday night that was only added due to overwhelming demand.