PORTLAND, Maine (CelebrityAccess) — One of Portland’s leading live entertainment venues will transition from music to comedy.
According to the Bangor Daily News, Portland’s Empire will rebrand as the Empire Comedy Club and begin hosting nationally touring comedy artists in January 2020.
Empire General Manager Lucas Salisbury told the Daily News that the shift was prompted by Portland’s increasingly competitive market for live music.
“It’s been rough. This place has been known as a music venue for so long,” Salisbury told the Daily News. “There’s so much opportunity out there for people to see music every day of the week. It used to be this place’s bread and butter.”
“Comedy is bigger than it’s ever been,” Salisbury added. “I’m super passionate about it. I love watching comics come in here and do a joke they’ve tried 20 times, and then see the moment they figure out how to get it right.”
According to the Daily News, the club will retain its capacity of about 150 after the transition and unlike many other comedy clubs, will not offer table service. Salisbury told the newspaper that he expects that the stage will be reduced in size to accommodate more tables.
When it rebrands, the club will be the first dedicated comedy club in Portland in almost a decade after the Comedy Connection on Custom Wharf Drive shuttered in 2012.