By Chris Engelhardt
It’s no joke: The Laughing Devil, a beloved comedy club in Long Island City, has been put up for sale, its owners said last week.
Co-owners Steve Hofstetter and Jacob Morvay said they decided to sell The Laughing Devil, at 47-38 Vernon Blvd., because of dramatic changes in their schedules.
Hofstetter said he moved to Los Angeles for a new career opportunity, while Morvay now has an infant daughter and is devoting time to family. Both of their schedules, he said, have made running the business difficult and time-consuming.
“It’s a tough decision,” Hofstetter said, declining to give specifics on his new job. “But we had to look at our lives and say, ‘What’s taking up the most time?’ It’s The Laughing Devil. We love it. But we can’t let sentimentality get the best of us.’”
Hofstetter and Morvay opened the comedy club in December 2011, and over time it has hosted a number of professional comedians as well as open mic nights, comedy classes and private events for patrons. Comics who have performed there include Adam Ferrara, who regularly appears on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and Comedy Central; Christian Finnegan, star of VH1’s “Best Week Ever; and renowned Saturday Night Live comedian Cheri Oteri.
The comedy club strives to host shows every night of the week when possible, Hofstetter said, and can welcome anywhere from eight to 12 shows a week. The venue organized an annual comedy festival in 2012 which has driven fans to the site and has resulted in good business, he said.
“Until we sell it, we’re planning on operating it,” he said. “This is a full-time, stand-up comedy club. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Which is why, Hofstetter said, he hopes it continues to be a comedy club.
“I understand that the offer that works the best might not be a comedy club,” he said. “But I also understand my heart is in it — I would love for it to remain a comedy club and for staff to keep their jobs and comedians to still work the stage.”
Hofstetter also called the venue “an amazing adventure,” one that he will always remember.
“I have gotten to know many comedians, community members, press and customers I otherwise wouldn’t have met, and gotten closer with many I already knew,” he said. “While shorter than I imagined, this has still been a dream come true.”
Reach reporter Chris Engelhardt by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.