Comedy clubs have long been a staple of the entertainment industry, providing a platform for comedians to showcase their talent and make audiences laugh. While the world of comedy has historically been male-dominated, Virginia is home to a remarkable establishment that breaks those barriers. The oldest comedy club in the state, owned and operated by a woman, stands as a testament to the power of laughter and determination.
Nestled in the Greater Hilton area of Newport News, Cozzy’s Comedy Club was founded in 1991 by the visionary entrepreneur, Lorain Cosgrave. Lorain’s journey into the world of comedy began when she saw a great need for live entertainment on the Peninsula. She started to produce shows at the Holiday Inn in Hampton Inn in 1990. Booking comedians and dinner theater for entertainment, the shows sold out almost every night. Soon the shows outgrew the inn and within a year Lorain found the perfect spot for Cozzy’s Comedy Club in Newport News.
Operating a comedy club comes with its fair share of challenges, and Lorain faced them head-on. From booking talented comedians to managing the day-to-day operations, she demonstrated resilience and unwavering commitment. COVID was no exception, Lorain was able to pivot and link up with World Central Kitchen. This allowed her to open up and get employees back on the payroll. Her staff was able to push out hundreds of meals a day, 5 days a week through both Cozzy’s and the Hilton Tavern to seniors in need.
Cozzy’s Comedy Club has become more than just a venue for comedy; it has evolved into a hub of laughter and inclusion. Lorain’s dedication to creating a comfortable and welcoming environment for comedians and audiences alike has made it a favorite among comedy lovers. This vibe also helped many comedians develop and grow as artists. Some to note are Wanda Sykes, Michael Winslow (Police Academy), Jimmy “JJ” Walker, Tommy Chong, and original Comedy legends Nipsey Russel and Soupy Sales. The club's diverse lineup of performers ensures that everyone can find humor that resonates with them.
The impact that Lorain and Cozzy’s Comedy Club has made on the local community is no laughing matter. The club regularly hosts charity events and fundraisers, using the power of comedy to support various causes, from local schools to community organizations. Lorain’s commitment to giving back has solidified the club's status as a beloved institution in Virginia.
As Cozzy’s Comedy Club approaches its 32nd anniversary, Lorain remains at the helm, proving that determination and a passion for laughter can overcome any obstacle. Her unique perspective as a woman in a male-dominated field has allowed her to bring a fresh and diverse lineup of comedians to the club, enriching the comedy scene in Virginia. Her legacy as the owner of Virginia's oldest comedy club serves as an inspiration to aspiring comedians and entrepreneurs alike. Don't forget! If you ever find yourself in need of a party bus book the Cozzy's Fun Bus. Cheers to Lorain Cosgrave and Cozzy’s Comedy Club - where good friends and good times come together!
Thank you Cozzy's Comedy Club for your continued support and sponsorship of HHV, Inc. and the Hilton Village Main Street program.