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Reports: Laugh Factory Coming To East Lakeview

Red Theatre Curtain

Red Theatre Curtain (Credit: AP)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – After nearly a year of vacancy, the old Lakeshore Theatre space in the East Lakeview neighborhood will be taken over by an outpost of Los Angeles’ Laugh Factory, according to published reports.

The Chicago Tribune and Time Out Chicago both reported that the Laugh Factory will open a Chicago location in the shuttered theater at 3175 N. Broadway.

An e-mail to the Laugh Factory from CBS Chicago was not immediately returned.

The Lakeshore Theater, a comedy performance venue laid out in an auditorium style, closed its doors on April 10 of last year as revenues sank.

The Lakeshore had opened in the fall of 2002, in the space of the old Broadway Cinema movie theater, which had closed about two years earlier. It went on to host both local, independent sketch comedy acts and A-list comedians.

At one point after the Lakeshore closed, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) suggested it as a possible new location for the iO Theater, a comedy venue and school at 3541 N. Clark St. that is set to be displaced by the planned Addison Park on Clark hotel, apartment and retail development just south of Wrigley Field. Critics said the space was too small.

In a July 2010 report, iO co-owner Chandra Halpern said she had been looking at space in the Lincoln Park and Lincoln Square neighborhoods. For now, iO remains at its Clark Street location.

The Tribune’s Steve Johnson reported that at one point, the Lakeshore Theatre spaec was almost turned into dental offices.

The Laugh Factory opened its original location on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood in 1979. A second location opened in Long Beach, Calif., in 2008.

The Web site for the Laugh Factory points out that the venue has hosted a long list of A-list comedians, and made headlines as the venue where former “Seinfeld” co-star Michael Richards went on his infamous racist tirade in 2006.

The building that houses the Lakeshore began life in 1913 as a single-screen movie venue, also originally named the Lakeshore Theater.