Side Splitters Comedy Club has closed. Club manager Bridgette Martin announced on Facebook that Saturday’s show was the last and that she was returning to Tampa to work at the other Side Splitters location.
On September 4, the club announced that it was closing for football season. A week later, a management group led by Steve Hofstetter reopened the club with a different schedule of performers. They intended to run the club through the end of the year with an option to buy it. Hofstetter’s team left after three weekends when things didn’t work out as hoped.
The club stayed open for two more weekends, first by hosting a lineup of local comics, then by re-booking Carl LaBove. Now it appears that the club will remain closed.
Through its open-mic nights, Side Splitters fostered a lot of growth in the local comedy scene. Many of those comedians now perform regularly at other bars around town. On Sunday nights, there is an “underground” open-mic night at Preservation Pub. There is a weekly experimental comedy show called QED Comedy Lab on Mondays at the Pilot Light. Einstein Simplified performs comedy improv every Tuesday at Scruffy City Hall. Einstein Simplified is one of many acts performing in the Scruffy City Comedy Festival, which runs November 6, 7 and 8 at multiple venues.
I wonder if a mainstream comedy club like Side Splitters would do better downtown. In the years since Side Splitters (and the Comedy Zone before it) opened in West Knoxville, downtown has been transformed into a great destination for nightlife.