The New York chapter of comedy theater The Annoyance has announced they’ll be closing their location on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg at the end of March. Originally started in Chicago 28 years ago, The Annoyance began holding classes in Williamsburg in January 2014, and went on to open up a physical location in the city later that year in December.
Jennifer Estlin, The Annoyance New York’s executive producer and president, explains that the decision was the result of multiple factors. “We’ve taken on quite a bit of debt to keep the place running during the last year, and we don’t feel that the space itself will allow us the growth we’d need to overcome the economic hurdles,” she told Bedford + Bowery in an email. “We can’t be licensed for liquor and we need to get a space that allows ADA access as well as a certificate of occupancy to be able to grow our shows as well as classes.”
She added that the physical space at 367 Bedford Avenue was never the ideal setup for what they were trying to accomplish, as there was little room for storage or backstage space, the sizing made holding classes difficult, and the jazz club situated directly above them tended to be an inconvenience.
“We’re very sad to have to close the Bedford location,” she said. “[But] all of that coming together made us feel it was best to cut our losses and see if we can find a space that will work better for the longer run.”
When spaces close in the city, it’s rarely a solitary occasion. The Annoyance’s announcement comes hot on the heels of Over the Eight, another popular Williamsburg bar and alt-comedy destination that closed its doors at the start of this year. In mid-December, The Experiment Comedy Gallery’s Grand Street location was shut down for lack of proper fire exits. That’s not all, folks: recently, show space and recording studio Shea Stadium (also home of Brett Davis and Sally Burtnick’s The Macaulay Culkin Show comedy show and other non-music events) announced it was going dark for two weeks in light of multiple police shutdowns in order to “restructure and plan for the future.”
B+B has listed and featured many a show at The Annoyance, and one of the first pieces I ever wrote here chronicled my first time at the theater, seeing an offbeat and strangely inspiring comedy play called Body that featured two totally naked performers playing confused aliens trying to figure out the odd flesh suits we call the human body.
The Annoyance will be barreling forward at full speed until its last days, with regular shows like The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour, animated variety show Cartoon Monsoon, creative and strange comedy plays and musicals like Nervosa! The Musical, improv nights like Singles Motel and the scantily-clad night Skinprov, girls-only improv jam Twat The Night, and the return of the theater’s “beloved” interactive show Game Show. Find a full listing of their shows here.
Though their space is closing at the end of March, their classes will continue through mid-April at a TBD location.