On Saturday night, Harvey’s Comedy Club gave its final show in Old Town Portland.
The club, owned by Barry Kolin, opened in 1979 as Harvey’s Restaurant and Lounge. In the 1992, Kolin transitioned it into a comedy club.
Originally, Kolin billed Harvey’s as a “clean” comedy club. Some acts, notably Louis C.K., chafed against that requirement.
“Comics hate when someone when puts some parameters on their act,” Kolin told The Oregonian in 2015, after Louis C.K. insulted Harvey’s in an email to fans. “I didn’t know! I was brand new to the comedy business.”
Harvey’s has hosted big names and up-and-comers through the years, like Louis C.K. and Amy Schumer. But they also supported the burgeoning comedy scene in Portland.
Susan Rice, a comedian who started her stand-up career in Portland in 1983, said the shuttering of Harvey’s a loss for the Portland comedy scene.
“Harvey’s closing has a huge impact on the life of comedy in Portland,” she said Tuesday. “It’s the end of an era and takes away a really valuable learning tool for the new young comedians.”
The closing of the club is also a personal hit for Rice, who considers Harvey’s her comedy home.
“I just lost my home club,” she said. “I learned my craft on that stage.”
Kolin told KOIN that he decided to close the club after suffering a heart attack.
“My heart and my mind tell me keep going, keep going, keep going,” he told the station, “but my body says it’s time to slow down and go down a different path.”
Still, Kolin hopes that someone else reopens the club in some capacity.
“It’s time to pass the baton to some young people,” Kolin told KOIN. “They can come in with some different ideas maybe, but keep the core of what Harvey’s is about the same.”
— Lizzy Acker
Bruno Mars performs onstage at 2017 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. His 24K Magic Tour hits the Moda Center July 23 at 7 p.m.