Live performance venues in WNY feel optimistic about opening in the new year


BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) Being shutdown is no laughing matter for Helium Comedy Club. The venue, located in the city’s Cobblestone District, feel that now more than ever the city of good neighbors could really use a laugh.

“The last nine months have been a real trial from a culture perspective, with many of the other venue owners that I’m friendly with and our staff and all the music fans and comedy fans, it’s been tough,” said Chief operating officer Brad Grossman. “I think a lot of people heal through comedy and music.”

“We’ve figured out how to operate in other cities safely,” he said. “Our staff has just really adapted to it and done a great job so we’re just very much looking forward to doing that in Buffalo again, assuming that we can keep the door open.”

Helium Comedy Club is expecting to receive funding through the Save Our Stages Act which was passed as part of the COVID-19 relief bill. Grossman says that will help them while they wait to reopen.

Live performance venues like the Riveria Theatre in North Tonawanda are also waiting for the day they can open back up.

“Our employees and our volunteers have a passion for this, it’s a hobby as much as it is a job and not to be able to do any live shows, it gets to you,” said executive director David Fillenwarth. “It’s really a passion from within so that day that we get to the stage and announce a show it’ll be a day of celebration.”

The Riveria Theatre is also expecting to receive grant funding.

“Everything we’re reading we certainly qualify for a lump sum of money which we can definitely use but again it’s the great unknown,” he said. “Until we have that check in our hands I’m not going to celebrate too much.”

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