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How does a comedy scene survive not only a global pandemic but also losing the go-to club that allowed it to thrive?

Despite the ups and downs of COVID cases, the guessing game of when it’s safe for live shows again and struggling to keep venues open, the Boise comedy scene is fighting to keep afloat — all while still trying to get a laugh.

Liquid Laughs served as the epicenter for Boise’s comedy scene before closing in 2020 due to the pandemic. To preserve the legacy, owner Jeremy Aevermann gave the furniture from Liquid to comedian Jen Adams for use at her new-ish comedy club, The Lounge at the End of the Universe.

Adams, the founder and part-owner of The Lounge, wanted it to be the type of club she always wished she could perform at. Adams has been a comedian for 23 years and wanted to make a space for comedians, by comedians. The Lounge is all about the intimacy with the performer.

“Comedy is an intimate art form,” Adams said. “We’re talking about our humanity.”

The largest challenge facing The Lounge is trying to stay afloat. With the touch and go of the pandemic, it’s been hard to know when to have shows and when they should go virtual.

“At this point, all of us have been in scramble mode,” Adams said. “Right now, the biggest challenge is just trying to stay open.”

Next up at The Lounge is on Jan. 15, “The Idaho Pun Slam.” Check all upcoming events on the website.

While not exclusively a comedy club, Mad Swede Brewing Company has tried to bring touring comedians to Boise, said marketing manager Danielle Reynolds. Usually, comedy shows bring a large crowd to the brewery. It’s been one of the more reliable options for entertainment thanks to being able to socially distance while still enjoying the show.

“The nice thing is you can still socially distance at comedy shows — it’s one of the easier things to still put on,” Reynolds said. “It’s been a roller coaster. As the numbers spike people feel less comfortable going out.” Check the website for upcoming shows.

Throughout the pandemic, Recycled Minds Comedy has found alternative ways to keep the lights on. The comedy company offered corporate or personal training classes on improv comedy. Recycled Minds was in a unique spot to offer something that people were desperate for in these isolating times, said owner and founder Sean Hancock.

“I noticed during the pandemic that people just needed to be around people,” Hancock said. “Before Delta, a lot of people were reaching out looking for that human connection.”

For Hancock, he found that it wasn’t just a question of keeping his venue open but an existential journey for customers trying to find the human connection that comedy brings.

“I’ve noticed that people, when they take our classes, are trying to get something back — connecting to people or some creative spark that they’ve lost,” Hancock said.

In addition to classes, Recycled Minds, located in Garden City, also hosts comedy shows. The next one, “Stories of Fresh Starts,” is slated for Jan. 29.

“In bigger cities, it’s very cutthroat,” Adams said. “We’ve tried to make it a welcoming community. It’s good for us to go to each other’s shows. It’s exciting that Boise is becoming a bigger scene.”

Boise’s comedy scene perseveres pandemic

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