After nearly a dozen years of helping make people laugh, the Dallas Comedy House is closing its doors.
Owner Amanda Austin confirmed that she would be closing her Deep Ellum establishment for good.
"It was not an easy decision to make," she said. "But it's just not the time right now to own a location-based business whose model relies on getting butts in the seats. It's fine if you're an art gallery where people are spread out. But with comedy, you need permission to laugh and be part of that experience. The whole thing has changed indefinitely, until we figure this virus out."
Austin said her original inspiration to open the venue came from other cities' comedy scenes, which she liked not only for the ability to bring people together to create comedy but also make more people aware of comedy.
"I'm proud of the work we've done to bring both of those dreams to fruition," she said.
Dallas Comedy House originally started out in the back of the Ozona before moving to Deep Ellum — first on Commerce Street (where Dot's is now), then to 3025 Main St.
The venue was forced to vacate when Terry Black's BBQ from Austin bought the space in 2018 to open a restaurant there.
Austin subsequently relocated to a significantly larger space, with 9,600 square feet comprising two theaters, four classrooms, podcast studio, writer's room, flexible space for free coworking, restaurant, patio, and beer garden.
"It's hard to walk through that beautiful new building, and we hadn't even been there a year," Austin said.
The news of the closure drew expressions of sadness from members of the local performing arts scene such as Lindsay Goldapp, artistic director/founder of Stomping Ground Comedy Theatre.
"A couple of lifetimes ago, I spent every weekend at Dallas Comedy House performing," Goldapp said. "I made a lot of great friends and memories there. Losing a creative home is devastating and everyone who considered DCH theirs is in my thoughts. Here's hoping we can all laugh together again soon."
Austin thanked the city of Dallas, the community, and her landlord, Madison Partners.
"If I ever decide to rent commercial space again, I will go out of my way to work with Madison Partners," she said. "They really show how being a landlord can be done in a gracious and business-like manner."
She also thanked the thousands of students, graduates, performers, interns, staff, and faculty, with a little quip: "I love you all very much and think some of you are really funny," she said.
"I hope it’s more sweet than bitter for you, as it is for me," she said. "I have laughed more during this DCH journey than most people will laugh in 10 lifetimes, and I wouldn’t have it any other way."
Lindsey Wilson contributed to this story.