Three San Diego Comedy Clubs Forced To Shut Down Despite Moving Outdoors

August 10, 2020

Over the weekend, three of San Diego's most popular comedy clubs were forced to shut down despite moving operations outdoors.

San Diego police officers arrived at La Jolla's Comedy Store on Saturday evening and forced the business to shut its doors just as customers were scheduled to arrive for an outdoor show. Management had to wait at the door to inform customers and process refunds. Officers indicated that although outdoor operations for food and beverage are permitted under current coronavirus restrictions, live entertainment is currently not allowed. It was reported that The Comedy Palace in Kearny Mesa and American Comedy Company in downtown San Diego were also ordered to close on Saturday. A petition has been launched calling for jurisdictions to allow comedy clubs to operate outdoors. 

American Comedy Co. has been outspoken with its indignation over the arbitrary enforcement of COVID-19 precautions. In July, the downtown comedy club began hosting "Open Mic Protests", aiming to use constitutional protections for protest to skirt newly implemented restrictions on indoor operations. The marketing for the Open Mic Protest featured President Donald Trump and states that it is "brought to you by our friends @ Plumpjack Winery," the Napa Valley vineyard founded by California Governor Gavin Newsom. After a few weeks, American Comedy Company eventually ceased the Open Mic Protests due to lack of public interest.

Many around the country continue to point to unreasonably hypocrisy surrounding certain COVID-19 precautions. While enforcement against these comedy clubs occurred due to a cited ban on live entertainment, Pacers strip club has been permitted to move operations outside. Hotels like Catamaran Resort & Spa in Pacific Beach have been hosting weekly, outdoor movie nights and even luau dancers and musicians. Two weeks ago, hundreds of people gathered at Cardiff State Beach to join in prayer, song and protest. Many operators believe these ever-changing rules are confusing and too discretionary.

According to the California's COVID-19 Industry guidance, it "is not intended for concert, performance, or entertainment venues. restaurants, bars, and wineries must discontinue this type of entertainment until these types of activities are allowed to resume modified or full operation."