What Do You Know About Comedy in the Midwest? (Part I)

with Tony Deardorff and Chris Bowers, Owners of Morty's Comedy Joint

Indiana General Interest

What do you know about comedy in the Midwest? It is a portion of the country that gave rise to comedians like Jim Gaffigan, Louie Anderson, John Mulaney, Hannibal Buress and more.  In fact, Indianapolis, alone, boasts many talented and rising stars that utilize several clubs around town to progress their careers; including Morty’s Comedy Joint. Now open for business in an old Don Pablo’s Restaurant, Morty’s is on the list of comic’s stops, from coast to coast, when they come to town. Owners Tony Deardorff and Chris Bowers highlight Morty’s as a business and what faces you’ll see around the club on the regular. Part II of the interview with Tony and Chris is here What Do You Know About Comedy in the Midwest? (Part II).

Interview recorded on August 23, 2017. Hosted by Taylor Bennett. Part I of II.

Read a partial transcript of the interview here:

Bennett: I love the location…

Bowers: We realized very early on that this is going to look like an old Mexican restaurant no matter how much money we spent. So, we really didn’t spend much time doing anything but be us. It’s a cool location, I love where it is at in the city.

Bennett: How did you end up here?

Bowers: The lease was up at the old 96th St location and we put out some feelers. One of the landlords from here said he might have something for us…we’ve been here since April 1, 2016.

Bennett: Where’d the name come from?

Bowers: We actually bought it from a group of people that owned it first and we think it was the name of the pug dog of one of the original owners. I was a comic first and Morty’s was my home comedy club. It went out of business and I didn’t want it to go away so I called up my roommate from college, Tony and asked if he wanted to buy a comedy club and he said sure.

Bennett: Tell us about some of the guests that come through regularly…

Bowers: Ms. Pat, Michael Malone, Rory Scovel, Joe Rogan, Gary Goldman. We’ve been blessed to have a lot of comics come through.

Bennett: Tony, what is is like to run a comedy joint like this? Is it pretty hectic?

Deardorff: I wouldn’t call it hectic, it’s hard to predict. You never know when you’ll have a huge weekend or an average weekend. When we moved over here, it was Bowers idea to keep it a Mexican grill and that presented challenges. What we’ve learned is what NOT to do. It’s a lot of fun. Any job where you can end a day by sitting down and hearing comedy is a good way to end the day.

Bennett: Do you just do comedy or other events too?

Deardorff: Every once in a while, we’ll do something different. We’ve paired with American Cancer Society on multiple occasions. We do a Thursday night show that is like a uncensored, late-night stand-up show.

Bennett: Do you find that a lot of people came over from the old location or do you get a lot of new people?

Bowers: I would say both. Our sales went up when we moved. Every year we’ve grown a little bit.