From live musical performances and community events to escape rooms and more, there are a lot of entertainment options in Allen County. The Fort Wayne Comedy Club
, located in New Haven, Ind., is a different option for people looking for an evening full of laughter.
Michael Moses, owner of The Fort Wayne Comedy Club
Comedian Michael Moses opened The Fort Wayne Comedy Club in 2017, after spending time on the road all over the U.S. performing his comedy. He wanted to establish a local comedy club because the only comedy club in the area, Snickerz, had recently closed down.
At the time other places in Fort Wayne offering comedy entertainment were not providing weekly shows. The Fort Wayne Comedy Club offers a weekly show on Saturdays that seats up to 90 people. The club has seating for either groups of two or groups of four.
The comedy club is part of 469 Sports and Spirits, a local sports bar that provides food and drinks for people who come to watch shows.
Moses began his comedy career in Fort Wayne in 2005 before spending time doing comedy on the road.
“It started as a dare,” he says. “As a father raising my kids, my daughter was going through some stuff and I was telling folks at work and I would spice it up a little bit to make it funny on purpose. One of my colleagues signed me up for open mic at Snickers, and as they say, the rest was history”.
Before going into the comedy business, Moses worked as an assistant manager at Walmart. He says this helped him gain some knowledge into how to manage a business.
To become a better entrepreneur, Moses took part in classes from the Build Institute Entrepreneur Program
, a nine-week basic business program that helps participants gain knowledge on how to start and run a business, in 2019. The program helps entrepreneurs create a business plan, learn about financial literacy, and learn about loans amongst other things.
Moses credits local entrepreneur Virginia Richardson
for introducing him to the Build Institute.
The interior of The Fort Wayne Comedy Club.
“I was already using the Score mentorship and going to some of those seminars trying to learn things, so anything that was out there that was going to help me get an upper hand I was all about,” says Moses.
While the Fort Wayne Comedy Club has been around for six years now, Moses says it can still be challenging to attract customers who will come back multiple times.
Jake Hovis at The Fort Wayne Comedy Club.
“Studies show that a true comedy connoisseur only goes to a live show twice a year,” says Moses.
He says this makes it hard to create promotions. If he gives out free tickets to attract customers, then that free ticket takes up one of the two likely shows they will see that year.
Since the Fort Wayne Comedy Club opened, another comedy club, the Summit City Comedy Club, has come to the area, opening in late 2021. This club took over where Snickerz was originally located. This, along with comedians performing in other places near Fort Wayne can also make it difficult to bring in customers as a customer may want to see shows at different venues.
While there are difficulties in owning a business, Moses says there are also rewards.
“I’ve met some unique folks that have become very loyal customers to the Fort Wayne Comedy Club, that have become more than just a customer,” says Moses. “They have become friends. When I talk about wanting to go back on the road they tell me I can’t close the comedy club”.
When talking about what makes the Fort Wayne Comedy Club different from other clubs in the area, Moses says while the performers who come to his club are usually lesser known, they still will bring big laughs. Upcoming events include Melanie Hearn, a fast-rising talent from Detroit, and Bob Zaney, a longtime comic who used to perform with Moses.
Hearn will perform with Jim Barnes May 6 and Bob Zaney will perform May 13.
The Fort Wayne Comedy Club can give lesser-known comedians a way to get started in comedy. This gives customers a chance to see comedians that could become big names one day.
Emmanuel Thomas at The Fort Wayne Comedy Club.
Along with owning the Fort Wayne Comedy Club, Moses is also the owner of Mozark Promotions LLC. This is the parent company of Mike Moses Presents, a company that helps bring top-performing artists into Fort Wayne.
While Moses enjoys running the comedy club, he is hopeful that one day he will be able to take his comedy show on the road again. Currently, he says he is looking for business partners that can help run the club in his absence. He does not perform at his club and he says he’s ready for a chance to make people laugh through his own comedy again.
The club is open on Saturdays from 6:45 P.M. to 10:45 P.M. To see the upcoming list of performances or buy tickets for the Fort Wayne Comedy Club, click here
This story is part of an Entrepreneurship series made possible by funding from SEED Fort Wayne. To learn more about SEED, visit its website at www.seedfw.org.