March 23, 2021

After Year Of Virtual Shows, Boston Comedians Excited For Limited Audience

Channel 4 | CBS Boston

By Rachel Holt

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s been a year of change, and adapting, for comedians like Chris Tabb. “I’ve done drive-in shows. I’ve done Zoom shows. I’ve started a tee-shirt line,” Tabb said. Now, a return to the stage as venues reopen at a limited capacity.

John Tobin is the owner of John Tobin Presents, a live comedy production company. “It feels great. We’ve been doing what we can do the past 13 months; parking lot shows, and shows at movie theaters, and shopping mall parking lots, and endless Zoom calls but really at the end of the day, nothing beats comedy live and in-person,” said Tobin.

Norm Laviolette is the co-founder and CEO of Improv Asylum, with locations on Hanover Street and in NYC, and Laugh Boston, located in the Seaport District. He’s been waiting patiently for this moment, and since May, marking each day his clubs were closed with a jump in the ocean.

“Today I’m in day 326 in a row. So I also decided, ‘well let me use that to help raise money,’” said Laviolette. Having raised $10,000 for out of work performers, he’s looking forward to his last jump, as opening weekend at Improv Asylum is already sold out.

“Can these businesses survive at 50 percent capacity? No. Can it get started? yes,” said Laviolette.

April 1 will mark the first time an audience will be back at Laugh Boston since March 14 of last year, with a number of shows announced through the end of the month.

“It will be a distance. We’ll be having stuffed animals as place holders and things of that nature. And even at that it’s going to be so fun,” said Laviolette.

“Honestly after the last year I’m not going to complain if it’s 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent- I’m just happy to have human beings in front of me again,” said Will Noonan, who will be performing in Laugh Boston’s show on April 1.

“I really just have a hope that people are kinder and more appreciate of live entertainment now as we see how easily it can be taken away,” said Tabb.