Introducing Mottley’s Comedy Club in Boston

How could downtown Boston not have a regular working comedy club?* That was the question I had when the Comedy Connection closed down at the beginning of the summer (yes, it has moved to the Wilbur Theatre, but as you can see from the schedule, it’s not so much of a comedy club as it is a mostly music and sometimes comedy theater venue).

Enter Mottley’s Comedy Club. It opens Sept. 15 (Grand Opening night’s show is Sept. 19) in the basement of Trinity bar near Faneuil Hall and has a capacity of 100. The opening week’s schedule neatly coincides and partners up with the annual Boston Comedy Festival. The owner/operators are Jon Lincoln, Jeff Fairbanks and Tim McIntire. McIntire is a working veteran stand-up from the Boston area. Lincoln and Fairbanks, both Northeastern grads, previously opened and ran the Comedy Lounge in Hyannis for three years before selling off that operation to comic Mary Beth Cowan.

Who is this Mottley character? Lincoln explains: "Back in the 1700s, there was a comedic actor named Joe Miller (died in 1739). He wrote tons of jokes and after he died a writer (by the name
of John Mottley) compiled his jokes and wrote a book called Joe Miller’s Jests. The book became wildly popular and John Mottley continued to add more jokes to it until it had over 1,300. Mottley never
claimed to be the writer and always credited the book to Miller. Mottley continued to add other comedians’ jokes to the book under Miller’s name and as time went by the book and jokes were so overused by people that into the 19th century people started using the term ‘A Joe Miller’ when a joke was stale or overused. So that’s the story of John Mottley and why we liked the name for our club."

Mottley may not have exact ties to Boston, but the lineage ties in to comedy history, and with Boston being old and all, it seems fitting to go old old-school with the naming of the club. Plus, as the new owners have noted, the very similar word "motley" also has a longstanding comedy connection, so to speak.

Their initial booking philosophy includes all sorts of comedians, from the most popular mainstream stand-ups to so-called "alternative" comics, sketch groups, short film filmmakers. "Our goal is to mix different mediums of comedy so that anyone who attends our show will enjoy it," Lincoln says. They also are planning on offering some form of door deal to all of the professional acts.

I’ll have much more to report on the opening of Mottley’s, as well as the changing landscape of the Boston comedy scene, in the days and weeks to come.

*CORRECTION: I should clarify that, in fact, there are two stand-up comedy clubs still open for business in downtown Boston (as well as Improv Asylum in the city’s North End), Nick’s Comedy Stop and Dick’s Beantown Comedy Vault. Both feature mainly local acts, which for Boston, includes plenty of veteran headlining comics. For the purposes of this post, I should have said that by a "regular working comedy club," I meant a venue that regularly books nationally known comedians, like other regular working comedy clubs across America, as shown on my page listing such clubs and their schedules every week.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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8 thoughts on “Introducing Mottley’s Comedy Club in Boston

  1. Interesting point of view but not at all correct, or actually blatantly false which usually is the case with your reporting regarding my clubs. The truth is, Dick’s Beantown Comedy Vault is now and has been a full time comedy club. 5 nights a week instead of the original 3 for a year now and 7 nights a week since June. Monday’s The Kevin Knox Show, Tues. Jim Lauletta show, Wed Paul Nardizzi Show, Thurs Greg Howell Show, Sun Boston’s Oldest Open Mike.
    Fri & Sat we have had double headliner shows with Kevin Knox, Mike Donavan, Paul Nardizzi, Shane Maus, Dick Doherty, Mike Kaplan and more,
    We have Rich Vos, Sue Costello, Frank Santorreli. and many more Nation Headliners coming. We have presented Improv & Standup for over 20 years. Try doing some research before writing. Anyone who either by omission or attitude work negatively regarding a comedy club is hurting Boston comedy and potentially costing some great comics work. I called Tim McIntire and wished him well, I posted good wishes on Mottleys my space. I have told all comics who asked that I was glad there was more work and to go for it, Yet their smart ass negative innuendoes continue. I understand their problem with me, I won’t use them because I don’t want to and that’s my right, I’m not sure what your problem with me and my clubs has been, but it certainly doesn’t help comedy. Boston needs more comedy fan not people who go to get drunk because telemarketer gave them free tickets, I have said it before and I repeat , The only thing correct when it comes to me when you report is you spelling and grammer
    Dick Doherty

  2. Ladies and gentlemen…Dick Doherty being Dick Doherty.
    Yes, Dick, I stand corrected. The Vault remains open for comedy show business, for what it’s worth — which to some Boston comics, is great news. I wish you had a larger space, offered better pay for comedians, and weren’t so concerned about your own image. But I don’t have a problem with you personally. In fact, I applaud you reaching out recently to help a Boston comic in need.

  3. “THE VAULT FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH”. Are you out of your mind. So you find find something lacking in the comics I am presenting at Dick’s Beantown Comedy Vault @ Remingtons. Tell it to the fans of Knox, Nardizzi, Santorelli, Lauletta, Donovan, David, Colliton, D’Angelo, Seibel, Mauss, Bulger, Peters, and to many more to mention. You wish my club was bigger, I have had bigger, I owned THE IMPROV at the Wilbur and my 45 years of experince tells me the importance of small clubs, and the joy and qualty of the shows you can present However my club has only 15 less seats than Mottlets. You have no idea what I pay my comis or why some get more than others. You have never discussed any of this with me. What kind of reporter writes second hand stories without checking both sides. You have my phone number & email and choise not to ask me anything or to tell my side of the story.
    What about the comics that got there start at my club from Dane Cook. Bob Kelly, Bill Burr and again to mant to mentiong. Wake up you have no idea what is going on in Boston and you never did that’s why your in NY. You have never been a comedy club operator where were you or the lyiars on the board in 1970 when I oprned my first club. How many comics have you provided work fot, God you can’t even do the reporter job right, Check you facts, get both sides of stories, I believe your a lyiar we you say it’s not personal. Thank God nobody reads your bull that knows the comedy and Boston didn’t read you either. It’s late and I don’t have time to proof this. So Do your home work, Like I took you in my response to your rude email. Say anything you want just spell my name correctly. I don’t read you blogg it’s just that Mottleys linked your story to thier myspace page as if it wasn’t a lie. You never have to guees what I think, just ask.
    Comedy Legend
    Dick Doherty

  4. Mottleys has nothing but respect for Dick Doherty and wishes him well. He’s legendary in Boston. We linked this post, of course, because it’s about our club opening, which we kind of want people to know about.
    Boston’s got plenty of room for plenty of clubs, and hopefully we’ll all be cranking out great shows for years to come.

  5. Tim and Jon at Motley[s are talented professionals and I certainly appreciate thier respect and I am sure they wish all venues presenting comedy to grow and prosper as I do. More work has allways ment better growth for young comedians and the comedy comunity,
    I noticed Sean that when you made your correction it is your impression that Motley’s is going to be booking nationally known headliner on as regular formate, Otherwise even with your correction you still don’t have it right. We have Rich Vos, Sue Costello and many national headliners booked and again it just goes back to you not do proper diligence in getting the facts before writing incorrect information. Since I addressed the fact that we would often have national headliners in my post it appearse to me you don’t read carefully either.
    Boston Comedy legend
    Dick Doherty

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