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NYC's Only Black-Owned Comedy Club Finds Success Amid Setbacks

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A new comedy club in Harlem is making its mark on New York's entertainment scene.

Comedy in Harlem is succeeding with community support, despite setbacks.

Last September, long-time professional comedian Jamie Roberts fulfilled a dream when he opened the doors to Comedy in Harlem on East 117th Street.

Roberts had grown tired of the limited opportunities he found at mainstream venues, so he created a space of his own.

The club has quickly become a safe space for minority comedians aiming to make it big.

"We're putting together shows that are so impactful, not only for comedy and what we're going through with COVID, but for Latinos and Blacks in general," said Wepa Comedy Night producer Edwardo Infante.

"If I had a club that I could frequent and feel comfortable in on a regular basis, I think I would be a lot further in my career," Roberts added.

But as a businessman, Roberts is not quite laughing all the way to the bank yet, due to a major setback.

"The pipe busted," he said. "And then another pipe busted. So when you're dealing with, you know, a new business, it's kind of hard to keep the momentum going when your doors are closed."

Roberts had to shut down the club and cancel some of his biggest shows to date during the MLK holiday weekend. His team worked around the clock to make repairs, without knowing if insurance would cover the cost.

"They'll decide whether or not is deemed enough to write a check for it," Roberts said, "but we can't wait for the check to come in, so we need to do what we need to do right now."

So the show goes on.

An anonymous donor has already offered to pay for all repair costs associated with the pipe bursts.

To see the schedule of events and purchase tickets, click here.

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