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'I wanted to bring a little bit of that era back': New comedy club, cabaret opening inside Gastown boxing gym

Lance Harrison was a staple in Vancouver's music scene, and while he passed in 2000, he's now got his own place.

Like Superman in a phone booth, in just a flash a Gastown basement goes from boxing gym to Vancouver's newest performance venue: Lance Harrison's Comedy Club and Cabaret.

The concept came to Jordan Bowers during the pandemic but didn't come to fruition until recently. Bowers is the owner of All-City Athletics, which is a big, funky basement hidden off an alley in Gastown.

What else works well in big, funky basements? Comedy clubs, and performance spaces in general.

"We thought it'd be something else to do in the time when we're not working out," he says.

So, when it's show time, they slide the punching bags down off their rails, throw up a curtain, rearrange some plants, and set up seating and a stage. Et voila, it's a comedy club, or more.

It helps that the gym's community is a social one.

"It gets the community involved in a little more than just fitness," Bowers explains. "You get to be buds with each don't always have to work out and be sweating."

Lance Harrison's place in Vancouver

If the name Lance Harrison is familiar, then you're probably a fan of the city's jazz scene. Harrison was a fixture for decades, starting in the 1930s and playing well into the 90s.

He was also Bowers' grandfather, and he grew up with stories of Vancouver's music and arts world, and that stuck around.

"I used to work at the Commodore and he has a star on Granville," he says. "One cold day, I looked down and I was standing on the Lance Harrison star on the sidewalk, so I kinda tripped out."

When the idea for a comedy and cabaret venue formed, naming it after Harrison made sense.

"I wanted to bring a little bit of that era back to us," he says.

It'll also help focus the new venue.

"'What's All-City going to be when it's a comedy club?'" he asks rhetorically. "I just thought, 'Keep it Lance's.'"

"We'll use his legacy as a guide; keep it cool, keep it musical, keep it community."

Comedy Now

The first show took place on Jan. 28 and more are planned for this weekend.

"We're doing two little shows back-to-back this Saturday," Bowers says.

Feb. 11 will see two lineups of comedians take the stage, presented with Chill Pill Comedy and hosted by Talie Perry. Tickets are $20 plus fees.

While comedy is all that's booked for now, Bowers is hoping to host all sorts of performances, from jazz to dance.

@allcityathletics 🌟 Vancouver’s newest speakeasy-style cabaret and comedy club Saturday, February 11 Tucked away near Victory Square, Lance Harrison’s Cabaret and Comedy Club, at 130 West Hastings, shares the same address as popular fitness and boxing club All-City Athletics. All-City has combined forces with Society Comedy, newest member of the Chill Pill Comedy family, whose other venues are Portside Pub in Gastown and Sunset Comedy at The Loft at English Bay. (Come see our two shows there next month at the Just For Laughs Vancouver festival.) Two shows: 7 and 10pm, Tickets are $20 online. Space is limited. Come for a laugh, stay for a song. When you press the buzzer, tell them Lance sent you. Tickets available on our website, under tab “Lance” #allcityathletics #comedy #standupcomedian #vancouverbc #yvrlife #hiddenvancouver #speakeasy #whattodoinvancouver #vancouverlife #tiktok #curiocityvancouver #dailyhivevancouver #justforlaugh ♬ Moon - Kanye West
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