To most people, attempting to open a new nightclub right in the middle of a global pandemic probably seems like a futile endeavour. However Marc Sauvé doesn’t quite see it that way for his new business.
“People are anxious to get out. They say things like 'this is the most normal thing I’ve done in a long time' or 'this feels so right,”' says Sauvé regarding some of the positive feedback he’s received since opening The Comedy Cove.
“There is a science behind humour and how it affects the body and I think if we ever needed to laugh, now’s the time.”
Having opened last month in the DoubleTree by Hilton, which is just adjacent to the Macdonald bridge in Dartmouth, Sauvé is hoping to bring live stand-up comedy back to HRM with The Comedy Cove, insisting he wasn’t prepared to wait until the end of the pandemic.
“Don’t get me wrong. I know that there’s a global pandemic going on,” says Sauvé, who adds the club is able to work within the government restrictions caused by COVID-19.
That includes marking off tables, sanitization and setting the attendance numbers at less than half of what’s permitted — at between 58 and 62 patrons, depending on the configuration and size of the bookings.
“It’s sort of a fun problem to have in a sense,” adds Sauvé. “I’ve opened a few businesses in my life and I’ve seen a bunch of people open businesses over the years and one of the biggest things they do is they go too big, too soon."
"Maybe keeping the throttle kind of half back and figuring out how to serve 62 people in a really good way and make sure they’re having a good time will help us figure out how to ensure that 150 people have a really good time in that room.”
Sauvé certainly has the experience to back him up. After walking away from the Yuk Yuk’s franchise that he opened and operated at the Westin Hotel until 2009, he went on to create Funny Fundraisers, an organization that has orchestrated around 600 events around Atlantic Canada and earned close to $1.5 million for charity.
“Basically what I’ve done over the last ten years or so with Funny Fundraisers is, as I’ve told groups, we turn your local high school, bar, gym or Legion into a comedy club for just one night, so I’ve had the opportunity to create 600 comedy clubs in ten years,” says Sauvé. “I always wanted to have a club again. I grew up in the club atmosphere (and) I just love the vibe.”
So far The Comedy Cove has had a solid welcoming, even as management has had to ramp up COVID-19 protocols like mask-wearing, extra-cleaning and ensuring patrons follow physical distancing measures.
In spite of this, Sauvé recognizes that after nearly a year of living with COVID-19 restrictions, people are just excited to see live comedy again and The Comedy Cove aims to deliver that entertainment four nights a week.
In March, the club is even planning a big official launch that will feature This Hour Has 22 Minutes legend Cathy Jones as headliner.
“I can’t wait. I’ve never met her before but I’ve been a big fan of hers over the years,” says Sauvé. “And I think one of the things people are going to love about the room is it’s very intimate and to be able to see some of the personalities that you see on TV all the time but see them in this intimate setting, it’s a fun thing."
"It really is something to see these performers up close and personal.”