How Morty’s Comedy Joint is redefining Indianapolis’ comedy scene
In January 2010, Morty’s Comedy Joint, located on Keystone Avenue along Carmel’s southern border, closed its doors. Several months later, a number of comedians and investors purchased the business and re-launched the club. Over the past two years, Morty’s has gone from a formerly failing business to a burgeoning comedy club that not only brings national talent through its doors, but has also created a vibrant local community of growing comedians.
Steve Hofstetter, co-owner of Morty’s and a comedian himself, credits a majority of the club’s newfound success to the formula of its four owners, which include three working comedians, as well as the support of the local community.
“I think it was a combination of everything really. The experience of a comedy club is so much more than just what’s on stage,” said Hofstetter. “From the moment they get out of their car, people need to be having a great time.”
Keeping this in mind, the exterior, interior and entire food and drink selection of the club have been revamped to be more immediately inviting and enjoyable. The exterior of the building features a number of America’s greatest comedians, while the interior is lined with classic vinyl comedy albums.
There is more to the Morty’s makeover than simple appearance. Building a local community of unique comedy talent is also at the core of Morty’s new strategy.
“We have a local talent night once a week, sometimes three nights a week, as well as a residency program,” said Hofstetter. “It doesn’t matter how good someone is. Without stage time, it doesn’t really matter, so we are sure to give (local comedians) that time.”
According to Hofstetter, Mike Gardner is one such comedian. Not only has Morty’s embraced Gardner, a Carmel resident, as a headliner, they have also worked with him to include other local comedians in tours he has planned himself.
“If you don’t have good local talent, a comedy club is not sustainable,” said Hofstetter.
Supporting Morty’s with this local talent, Hofstetter and his fellow co-owners have created something unique within Indianapolis’ relatively small comedy scene. Formerly dominated by Crackers, a comedy club founded locally in 1980, Hofstetter views the scene as something that can be developed greatly in the years to come.
“With some of the country’s best comedy clubs within driving distance and our location, there is no reason that Indianapolis is not the hotbed of comedy in the Midwest, if not the entire country,” said Hofstetter.
Hopefully with the right combination of talent, community and cooperation, it will be.
- For information regarding upcoming acts like Alonzo Bodden, Jake Johannsen and Dave Attell, as well as the Morty’s menu and ticket prices, visit mortyscomedy.com.