Chicago’s only black owned comedy club ‘Jokes N Notes” will be closing their doors as of June 2016. The comedy club is located on Chicago’s south side near 47th and King Drive and had headliners such as Kevin Hart, Deray Davis and Chris Rock and help launch the careers of comics such as Dean Cole and Lil Rel Howery.
The owner Mary Lindsey spoke with DNA info and had this to say about Jokes And Notes which she owned for the last 11 years.
“The operating expenses just grew beyond me staying in existence,” she said. “I had to make a decision to stop the bleeding, if you will, because expenses continued to rise, but the support isn’t here.”.
“I’ve seen improvements, but I think that in order to maintain good business here you have to put that on a fast forward because there is no way that businesses can thrive if there is no foot traffic here or restaurants and things for people,” she said.
She said her stage not only created opportunities for fresh talent, but it “bridged the gap between the North Side and South Side.”
Jokes and Notes “opened doors and created opportunities for them to get booked” while being themselves.
“I think the biggest fear — white comics and black comics have different experiences, and I think there was always this uncertainty, like ‘Where is this comic going? I don’t want my audience to be offended,’” Lindsey said, adding that she didn’t worry about that at her club.
“My grandparents, many decades ago, used to hang out on 47th Street, and here I am all these years later creating opportunities from an entertainment standpoint for minorities,” she said. “It’s a good feeling because I accomplished what I set out to do and that was to make a difference and to have a well-operated business in the community.”