The Yuk Yuk’s chain is now staging comedy shows at Elements Casino in Surrey.
The 110-seat comedy club opened with a March 5 show by Brett Martin in a first-floor room located to the right of the main entrance of the Cloverdale casino, beyond the racebook betting area.
So far it’s been a popular ticket, according to club manager Garry Yuill.
“We hadn’t used the room before, so we intentionally blocked it at 75 seats for the first show, and then it went well – sold out a week in advance,” Yuill said.
“We were going to do one show every Saturday at 8 o’clock, see how it goes, and then we added a second show at 10, but we decided on the two shows starting at 7 and 9:30. We called the first two weeks our soft opening, and now this is our official opening this week. We had two sellouts and a near-sellout of our first three shows, so it’s going well so far.”
Yuill operated the Yuk Yuk’s club on Cambie Street in Vancouver before it was closed permanently during the pandemic, due to leasing and liquor-license issues, he said.
“We were kind of contemplating having more than one location, pre-2020,” he explained. “The history of the Surrey location is, we had been looking at it pre-COVID, and it didn’t pan out in time. So we’d been talking to them (at Elements) for a couple of months and then, just because it was a smaller room, there was no point in pursuing it until restrictions were past. We were originally hoping for something in January.
“It was a little bit of a trepidation after all the lockdowns and COVID, all that stuff. We’re here now. We come with a brand so I think the casino was excited to entertain our proposal to use that room for comedy.”
The comedy calendar, posted to yukyuks.com/surrey, includes shows by headlined by Melanie Rose (March 19), Damonde Tschritter (March 26), Ryan Williams (April 2), Sebastien Bourgault (April 9) and Allanah Brittany (April 16), with emcees and “middle” comedians also featured. Tickets are priced at $19.05, plus tax.
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For now, the comedy shows are planned on Saturday nights only, with possible expansion to other nights of the week, according to club operator Garry Yuill.
“Comedy dries up a little bit during the month of July, but we’re also a little more than half the size of the previous club (in Vancouver). To move into Friday nights, we’re hoping that happens sooner rather than later.
“The casino has a bigger room upstairs, too, for special shows we used to do, the Dragon Lounge, which has a 200-person capacity, I believe. That might be used in the future.”
Yuill is a Richmond resident who teaches finance and accounting at Kwantlen Polytechnic University when he’s not running the comedy club.
“I’ve never performed comedy,” he said with a laugh, “but I always say that I’d be a good emcee at a wedding where there’s an agenda but I can throw in a few jokes.”
Comedy is not entirely new to Elements Casino, where Fraser Valley Comedy booked a series of monthly shows in 2019.
Across Canada, Yuk Yuk’s stand-up clubs are located in Edmonton, Calgary, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Halifax and several other cities.