John Cantu doing the door at the Zoo John doing the door at the Holy City Zoo

What The Heck Kinda Name Is Holy City Zoo for a Comedy Club?

by John Cantu ©

I am a professional speaker/comedian/humorist and the ending of this tale may seem like a joke, but it is true.

The club was created in the 60s and the concept of the club was a folk-singer/hootenanny theme. The original founder was driving thru the Santa Cruz mountains coming back to San Francisco from a trip to Los Angeles. Along the way he saw a sign "Bankruptcy Sale - Cafe chairs & tables for sale."

In California you find towns with names like Yurba City and Redwood City. In the Santa Cruz mountains there was a real town named "Holy City." That's where the cafe was located and when he arrived in Holy City he discovered that the Holy City's zoo had gone bankrupt and the zoo's cafe had its furnishing for sale. The tables and chairs were made from redwood trees and were perfect for a folk-song theme.

The founder bought all the cafe's chairs and tables. Although the cafe was small, so was the space the founder had rented for his hootenanny venue. As he was writing out the check he suddenly stopped and said, "Damn. I just spent all my money."

The zoo keeper said, "Well you just got a lot of tables and chairs."

"Yeah, but I wanted to save 200 or 300 dollars for a sign for the name of my club."

The zoo keeper replied, "You want a sign? Here." And he pulled the zoo's sign off the ground and handed it to the buyer. The sign read "Holy City Zoo."

The nightclub owner was a businessman with a head for math. He had a ready-made sign. As soon as he got back to the city he went to city hall and registered his business name: "Holy City Zoo."

NEXT: Holy City Zoo the Early Years