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Mike Binder Says Comedy Clubs Should Be Declared an Essential Business

”I really think it is. I think people need to laugh so hard and so bad,“ the ”Comedy Store“ director says

Comedy clubs like Los Angeles’ storied Comedy Store should be allowed to reopen despite the pandemic, says director Mike Binder.

“I have to say, I am so surprised that the governor and the mayor of the state and the city have not declared comedy clubs an essential business. Because I really think it is. I think people need to laugh so hard and so bad,” said Binder, speaking to reporters on Thursday to promote his upcoming Showtime docuseries “The Comedy Store.”

According to Los Angeles County’s reopening plan, night clubs are considered one of the highest risk business and won’t be allowed to reopen until stage 4, along with large entertainment venues and sporting events.

“I know [The Comedy Store owner] Peter Shore has put together some incredible plans to keep people safe, distanced … I know it could be done,” Binder said. “They’ve refused everything, but I do think it’s really important, and there’s an absolute demand. People want to go back.”

Annie Lederman, one of the comics featured in Binder’s docuseries, said the time off could make comedy better by thinning the herd.

“I think this is a time for everyone to get right with themselves, figure out what’s wrong with you, why you’re doing comedy and come back better,” Lederman said. “This is a weird ego death, where we’ve all been forced into the same mushroom trip that we didn’t want to take, and now we have to face whatever our demons are. … We have an opportunity to take some time off or try to learn a new skillset.”

But comedy shows are still happening even with nightclubs closed, said Bill Burr, who recently performed a run of shows at the parking lot outside The Magic Castle.

“The first night it was weird, there was no way to not feel like I was bombing, but by the second night I had adjusted to the sounds of people in their cars and everything,” Burr said. “The second night I was like, look how much people love comedy, they’re sitting in their cars in a parking lot.”

“I think when this is over, comedy clubs are going to be packed,” Binder said.