Before COVID-19 hit, Spokane Comedy Club was a bustling environment that was filled to the brim whenever a comedy show was happening. Now Spokane Comedy Club goes by another name—Spokane Shake Company.
Spokane Shake Company offers milkshakes (and also what it calls “boozy shakes”), pizza, hotdogs and more. The restaurant is located at 315 W. Sprague Ave. and is open from noon-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and noon-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, for carryout or dine-in with limited seating to fit COVID-19 safety guidelines.
According to Spokane Shake Company’s website, it is still working in some comedy by running stand-up specials on a projector at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Mondays. Wednesday nights are trivia nights at 7 p.m. and there are happy hour deals on Sunday’s.
Adam Norwest, the owner of Spokane Shake Company, said via text message that there is no live entertainment in Washington state until Phase 4 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan is reached. This presented the former Spokane Comedy Club with a challenge, considering it can no longer have comedy shows.
“It shut us down completely,” Northwest said. “Couldn’t be much of a bigger challenge. We completely changed our format, built a kitchen and started selling food as a restaurant. We are doing everything we can to survive.”
To do that, Spokane Comedy Club shifted gears and became Spokane Shake Company to keep its employees paid and to keep the venue going.
Norwest said the inspiration to turn Spokane Comedy Club into Spokane Shake Company was born out of what was happening in the entertainment industry when COVID-19 hit.
“It came to us in a dream. We were freaking out about the entertainment industry and arts in Spokane and Bing Crosby came to us dressed as a golden angel and told us to sell milkshakes and pizza,” Northwest said.
Sydney Catasso, a supervisor at Spokane Shake Company, said people should pay Spokane Shake Company a visit to support the business and to give the milkshakes a try. She said customers can create their own combinations for shakes, and so far, she’s seen flavors like frosted animal cookie and a pineapple-peach-banana concoction with peanut butter.
Catasso said people should come to Spokane Shake Company to support the business and the employees, many of whom were unemployed until Spokane Comedy Club reopened as Spokane Shake Company.
“You’re still supporting all the employees who did and do work at the Spokane Comedy Club,” Catasso said.
When Spokane Shake Company used to have comedy shows, there would be at least 40 people per section for the employees and the pace was always go-go-go, Catasso said. Now that the restaurant is open at a reduced capacity, it’s more casual and a less hectic environment.
“A lot of us have only served in the entertainment industry, so to go to something more relaxed and family-friendly it’s a different wavelength for us,” Catasso said.
During a comedy show, the employees would seat 320 people within an hour, Catasso said. Now that they can only seat a limited number of patrons and the pace is slowed down, it leaves more room for the servers to get to know their customers better and have more conversations.
When comedians are allowed to perform at Spokane Comedy Club again, Catasso said they would still be cautious, keep tables spaced out and only keep families together instead of grouping couples together like they would have previously done.
“Minimum contact is what I imagine it’s going to be like,” Catasso said.
When Spokane Comedy Club is able to have comedians perform at their venue again, Catasso said she is excited to see and work with the comics again. Some of these comics perform at Spokane Comedy Club every year and a half to two years.
“I’m really looking forward to getting to see them again and work with them again because some of them, if not all of them, are great people and they’re just amazing to hang out with and they’re very, very talented,” Catasso said.
Some of Spokane Comedy Club’s regular customers came from Idaho and Catasso said she is looking forward to seeing all of their regulars back again.
Norwest said he is excited to be able to get back to making people’s weeks better once they are able to safely have comedy shows again.
“After a bad week a comedy show and a drink is just the trick, and we can’t wait to provide that again,” Norwest said.