Nine months after it was forced to abruptly close, Yuk Yuk’s will be opening a new Niagara Falls club in October.The Canadian comedy institution will re-open in the base of the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel on Fallsview Boulevard, directly across from the Fallsview Casino. It will be the chain’s sixth Niagara Falls location in 30 years.
“We’re very excited to have it open,” says Kyra Williams, Yuk Yuk’s vice president of operations. “We think that it’s a great market that has a lot to offer.”
For Yuk Yuk’s, the laughs came to a sudden end in January at its Casino Niagara location, where it had been operating for the past decade. The club, which had a month-by-month lease with Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG), was told to clear out of the space in early January, despite having shows booked for the next three months.
The casino says it closed the club as part of its $7 million investment into the 20-year-old property to implement new gaming and dining.
Yuk Yuk’s president Jeff Silverman, the partner of founder Mark Breslin, says he felt blindsided by the closure and was stuck with about $60,000 in costs from operations ceasing. He attempted to recoup the costs from OLG, but was only offered half the total.
“They have the better of us, and I don’t have the money to fight them,” he told The Review in February.
It marked the end of another location for Yuk Yuk’s, which has had a near continuous presence in Niagara Falls for 30 years despite the interruptions.
The first location opened in Maple Leaf Village (now the site of Casino Niagara) in 1987, and would host names like Jerry Seinfeld and Gilbert Gottfried through the years.
The mall closed in the early ’90s, and the club re-opened in a brand new facility across from the Minolta Tower. A hotel development forced another move, and the club operated in a temporary facility on Main Street before re-opening in a former bar on McLeod Road.
In 2006, the club came back to its original site when it opened a 284-seat venue inside Casino Niagara. It would become its most stable location, offering shows every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for more than 10 years.
The new location will seat about 224 people, says Williams. Among the comics expected to perform over the first few months are Tom Green, Mike MacDonald, Pete Johansson, Tim Steeves and Nikki Payne.
Yuk Yuk’s was formed in 1976 and is Canada’s largest chain of comedy clubs, with 10 clubs currently operating. Locations in Vaughan, Ajax and Mississauga are also re-opening in the fall.