Posted in comedy | music | venues on February 14, 2011

by Klaus Kinski

Comix

One of the semi-necessary evils of comedy is the dreaded visit to a formal comedy club. Let's face it people; this city is overflowing with awesome comedy shows happening at all sorts of small, fun, intimate venues. Yet once in a while a comic rolls into town for three nights of gigs at a comedy club, and you have no choice but to bite the bullet and venture in. I mean, he/she might end up at one of your smaller shows to workshop material. But he/she might not either. Ugh. The hefty cover charge. The cattle herding method of corralling people into the room. The army of drink servers in your peripheral vision for the entire show. The likelihood of a bachelor/ette party treating the show like their personal (Doug) Benson Interruption (catch HIM at Gramercy on 5/21/11). The two-drink minimum. And Cod forbid someone at a neighboring table orders something from the menu that smells like the feet of someone who ran 50 miles in 100 degree weather in boots full of brie cheese. Yes... I know... these shows represent a significant amount of bread and butter for our favorite laughsmen and women. No doy. But, man, am I the only person whose hypersensitive neuroses go buck wild at a comedy club show?

And yet, Comix comedy club always seemed to do everything they could to take the sting out of all these common perils. Over the course of several years, Comix consciously evolved their business model to draw everyone from indie comedy snobs to mouth-breathing over-cologned douche bags and created an environment where we could coexist happily together. They had a superior crew of behind the scenes staff that kept the programming super diverse (FYI, Kambri Crews is one of the nicest people you will ever meet in the biz). They turned the basement area into Ochi's Lounge; a super cheap way to see up-and-coming locals perform alongside comedy veterans like Jim Gaffigan. They opened up their main upstairs bar early to anyone who wanted happy hour drinks with zero commitment to seeing the show happening in the main room or downstairs. They were the proud and clearly enthusiastic hosts of the ECNY Awards show (of which BV was nominated once), complete with red carpet and all the other accoutrements one might expect at your larger awards shows. Their support of NYC's lesser known comedians was nothing less than inspiring. They also hosted all kinds of benefits for all kinds of causes. Their cover was always about half of what you'd expect at a place like Carolines, and their menu was eclectic and very reasonably priced. I've seen so much great stuff there including Flight of the Conchords, Zach Galifianakis, Marc Maron, Brian Posehn, Paul F. Tompkins, The Marijuana-Logues, John Oliver, Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal's Hot Tub Variety Show, Maria Bamford, Andy Kindler, David Cross and a phonebooks' worth of other talent. And, yes, you can see someone like Todd Barry on any given night in NYC (like tonight at Whiplash), but to see him do an hour-plus headlining set in your own backyard is priceless.

But this is New York, where institutional lifespans are grotesquely short. Comix began to lose steam and eventually found itself sold to a couple of jerks who decided it'd be in the venue's best interest to become NYC's next Copa Cabana. Their idea was to devise a half-assed, dated and schizophrenic programming model that would cover everything from burlesque to smooth Jazz.

The new owners tried to promise all sorts of things when they spoke to me last month, but things quickly went south. How quickly? Within days, veteran stand-up comedian Bobby Slayton was telling anyone who'd read his Twitter feed that he and others had been stiffed on their paychecks by the club. Apparently, there was a million-dollar investor who the owners were relying on, but who stiffed them instead. Then comics weren't the only workers getting stiffed by the club. More employees were let go. The club stopped restocking paper. And on Saturday, performers were notified when they showed up that this was it. There will be no more. It was a beautiful space and everyone from comedians to employees loved it, but whether it was location location location, or something else, Comix never quite worked as perfectly as it should have. - The Comic's Comic
I'm not saying that the closure of Comix is like the closure of CBGBs or anything. But for a long time they were doing everything right. For it to end up on the auction block for some other group of twerps with too much money and no vision kind of depresses me.

All upcoming shows are cancelled. RIP Comix.

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Tags: closing, Comix

Comments (26)

YAY ARCADE FIRE!!!!!

Posted by Danny Leee | February 14, 2011 8:42 AM

What was really sad was when the Village Idiot next door closed down.

Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2011 9:27 AM

it is sad to see it go.

Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2011 9:36 AM

The only time I went to Comix was the last time Maron did the live WTF taping with Eugene Mirman and crew.... Two drink minimum, mandatory coat check, etc etc.....

Definitely wasn't into the experience.

Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2011 9:38 AM

those new owners sound like royal douchebags. good riddance

Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2011 9:41 AM

Really? A formal comedy club is a necessary evil of comedy? You're such an idiot. God forbid comedians like to get paid for their work. How many super hipster, alternative venues close down? You realize it's actually not fun to perform for 8 random strangers in a bar every night, right?

Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2011 10:05 AM

10:05, shut up with the knee-jerk cynicism, you bitter fool. Are you a failed comedian, or just pretending you have an idea of what you are talking about?

Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2011 10:30 AM

I'm pretending.
But tell me how a professional comedy club is a bad thing?

Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2011 10:35 AM

Wow. Hipsters really hate being called hipsters. GROWL!

Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2011 10:39 AM

I'm glad I didn't sign up for the Comix Groupon that was available a little while ago...

Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2011 11:01 AM

9:27: Why's that?

9:38: I can only imagine. Maron is pretty decent, but I can't get into Mirman at all. Seems like a cheap knock-off of Cross/Oswalt.

10:39: The word 'hipster' is too overused. A more accurate term really is 'trendy'. Either way, they display some of the most detestable human traits (thinking that they're above/cooler than others).

Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2011 11:20 AM

What was in the Comix space before Comix? I can't remember!

Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2011 11:51 AM

Meh, Comix didn't seem any better than any of the cookie-cutter cover/2 drink minimum/expensive food clubs everywhere else in the country. I think I spent like $60 a person last time I went there.

If this happens to a place like the Comedy Cellar, then it's a real reason to mourn.

Posted by Don LeFart | February 14, 2011 12:15 PM

Hey 10:05. Did you read the article, or just the first sentence?

" I know... these shows represent a significant amount of bread and butter for our favorite laughsmen and women. No doy. But, man, am I the only person whose hypersensitive neuroses go buck wild at a comedy club show?"

Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2011 1:11 PM

Right 1:11, I really don't think 10:05 read the article. Klaus listed a number of things that suck about professional comedy clubs, and they were all things that I agreed with!

Posted by Aaron | February 14, 2011 8:06 PM

I didn't feel like it was any different than other expensive comedy clubs. Pricey, and Andy Engler, the guy running a lot of it, was a total dick. I guess it used to be a lot different though...

Posted by a | February 14, 2011 8:08 PM

A place like Comix seems really contrived to where the majority of people going are forced into laughing for some average comedy because of the Manhattan club experience or the group of people going barely cares about the comedian and is only there for the food club and drinks.

Then again the amount of college kids wanting to emulate their favorite SNL character going to UCB "school" is something else also thats a bit fantastically absurd. Not in the good sense of fantastic either. It will be just more writers for off shoots of the Office type half hour shows or when they realize that cute AT&T or Doritos commercial they did doesnt make them a comedian as these kids try to make it known on the train or bus that their supposedly comedians cause they go to UCB to their friends.

There is maybe a handful of truly funny original comics from the last 15 years. Bill Hicks, Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis, Marc Maron, Norm Mcdonald, and some few of the SNL crew.

Posted by Anonymous | February 15, 2011 12:46 AM

Hipsters aren't all bad... I mean they have a few redeeming qualities:
1. They often cook up a decent hummus platter.
2. They often have beards with pita crumbs lodged in the lower chin area.
3. Baby carrots are often found in their refrigerator.

Posted by Anonymous | February 15, 2011 12:54 AM

Beautiful huge space, large staff, high overhead and a bad economy...and possibly some poor management decisions. end of story. Not looking forward to it turning into a bank or fast food outlet.

Posted by Anonymous | February 15, 2011 5:12 PM

5:12 summed it up. It all started out with the best of intentions: no minimums, no bringers, alt shows during the week & headliners on weekends. Slowly, the reality of such a large, tech heavy venue set in.

I'm glad I left when I did: when the new owners came in and shut down Ochi's Lounge (the free, alt space I created downstairs) for no reason only EIGHT hours after signing the contract. The quote was, "I'd rather see the bartenders twiddling their thumbs than to see this stupid sh*t."

Rather than stab him in the neck, I resigned. Good choice I think.

Thanks for the kind shout out, Klaus. Onward and upward.

Posted by Kambri Crews | February 15, 2011 9:59 PM

is it just me or has there been an explosion of free comedy recently?
im sure there has always been plenty in ny, but it seems every bar in the city now has at LEAST 1 comedy night, & still plenty of comics to fill them, with a whole bunch (i dont just mean yannis's bar 4 show) going ridiculously long. im not complaining, i think its great.
BV (/klaus), i really hope u continue posting increasingly comprehensive comedy info; i mean if yr gonna keep reminding us every week about hannibal, whiplash, etc & even assscat thats fine, why not i guess, but u might as well also note some of the other shitloads of comedy nights around that ppl dont hear about, which do book pretty much the same comics anyway (so its not like anyone could claim theyre too substandard)

Posted by Anonymous | February 21, 2011 12:43 AM

Jeff, Klaus, whatever you are an idiot.

Comix is not a necessary evil in any world. NYC has more than enough clubs to accommodate comedians and Comix was always wretched. Some say they were "cool" in having alt-comedy nights but since they were on 14th street it sucked the audience away from true grassroots places that gave many folks a true alt-comedy experience.

They were like the Wal-Mart of creativity. And now many of the alt-venues are gone and now Comix is gone.

You assholes in the NYC comedy scene who don't criticize anything—even constructively—deserve this. Anyone with half-a-brain could have seen this coming.

Your "scene" is limp and dying because all you do is kiss ass and publicize and that's it.

This is what you want. This is what you get, putzes.

Posted by Anonymous | February 26, 2011 3:05 PM

Does everything always have to devolve into some kind of whiney snarkfest? I would concur with the main post. A night at a comedy club certainly can be an uncomfortable experience and Comix seemed to make a genuine effort to treat people with respect.

However, the idea that the comedy scene in New York is limp and dying seems vaguely preposterous. Limp and dying compared to what, exactly?

Posted by Chris | February 28, 2011 2:32 PM

Brave words from an anyonmous 3:05.

You obviously know who Klaus is, so why not take your tirade to his face?

Posted by Anonymous | February 28, 2011 3:55 PM

thank you guys for such a wonderful blog

Posted by Floor Joist | March 4, 2011 10:02 AM

What was really sad was when the Village

Posted by Anunturi Gratuite | March 7, 2011 3:23 PM

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