JR’s Last Laugh comedy club faces struggles amid the COVID-19 pandemic

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JR’s Last Laugh was shaping for a laugh filled season, that was until the pandemic hit.

It was the start of a new era for the comedy club, introducing an “America’s Got Talent” series to a “Comedy and Magic” series. It was all ready to go, that was until the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

In December, JR’s Last Laugh changed ownership from JR’s to world renowned magician Bobby Borgia. It was a dream come true for the Erie native.

” We were excited, enthusiasm, forward, wow we’re going to do this and three months later COVID hits and it shut us down,” says Borgia.

The entire season was booked with acts from comedians to magicians. Once the pandemic hit, 6 months of worth of bookings were cancelled, and tickets needed to be refunded. Like many businesses, the bills are still coming in. However, Borgia also has a unique worry added.

“There is no income, we are running out of time. This isn’t just a bar or restaurant. You have to figure we have to fly all of the entertainers here from LA, from New York, and that is tricky, “says Borgia.

Borgia has started rescheduling entertainers. John Oliver of VisitErie says the club helps to add to the tourism industry.

“It enhances the experience that visitors have. JR’s always has with comedy. It has provided great evening entertainment, ” says Oliver.

If you’ve passed the comedy club, you’ll notice new paint near the entrance and plastic around the windows. Just between us, something “magical” is heading our way.

“This is a secret that’s been embedded in Erie for 100 years that nobody knew about and we are going to revile this wonderful thing for Erie,” says Borgia.

The big secret will be revealed tentatively on July 11th.

Stepping into the club will be a little different. Occupancy is at 50% and tables have been spaced out to remain 6 feet apart.

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