Tag Archives: comedy

Queens-based Nicki Minaj comedy coming to ABC Family

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo by Christopher Macsurak/Wikimedia Commons

International rap superstar Nicki Minaj is set to produce and appear in a scripted television series for ABC Family based on her upbringing in Queens.

The comedy will be based on Minaj’s early life in Jamaica and the musical evolution that made her an iconic female artist. Minaj moved to the “World’s Borough” with her family after their immigration from Trinidad in the early 1990s, and she later attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in Manhattan.

“This is one of the more unique adventures I’ve ever embarked on,” Minaj said. “I couldn’t be more proud and excited to team up with an amazing group of people to give the world something really special.”

Minaj’s on-screen role in the series has not yet been announced. The half-hour comedy is set to be filmed in a single-camera format, and shooting will begin in Queens this winter.

ABC Family Executive Vice President of Programming and Development Karey Burke said that Minaj is a force to be reckoned with at everything she touches.

“We’re beyond thrilled to bring her one-of-a-kind story to our channel,” Burke said. “Nicki is an international superstar, yet not everyone knows how inspiring and hilarious her true story is, and we can’t wait to share it with the world.”

Minaj’s career is white-hot and she is regarded as one of the biggest names in modern rap music. She is currently on a world tour promoting her third full-length album, “The Pinkprint,” which had the second-highest female debut of 2014. Minaj is also set to appear in her first starring movie role in “Barbershop 3″ in the spring of 2016.


Ridgewood reacts to first episode of ‘Weird Loners’

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice


Imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery.

A group of Ridgewood residents had mixed feelings as they gathered at a local bar to watch the premiere of “Weird Loners,” a new Fox comedy that uses the area as the inspiration for the show’s setting.

“The group [that lives in the] house in the show represents the patrons of the bar,” said Steven Lewis, co-owner of Queens Tavern, who, with Sarah Feldman from Ridgewood Social, had the idea to hold a screening party at the bar. “There has never been a show centered in Ridgewood on TV. The show was better than I thought it would be.”

“Weird Loners” centers on four relationship-challenged 30-somethings who unexpectedly end up in each other’s lives and start bonding while living next door to each other in a Queens townhouse.

According to creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn, the setting is based on Ridgewood, though the show’s current scripts don’t directly mention the area. There are future plans, however, to more directly feature the neighborhood in the sitcom.

 Becki Newton as Caryn, Zachary Knighton as Stosh, Meera Rohit Kumbhani as Zara and Nate Torrence as Eric (Michael Becker / FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting)

Becki Newton as Caryn, Zachary Knighton as Stosh, Meera Rohit Kumbhani as Zara and Nate Torrence as Eric (Michael Becker/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting)

About 25 to 30 people came out to the Queens Tavern Tuesday night to check out the show’s 9:30 p.m. debut and share their opinions, with the bar handing out noisemakers to the crowd so they could jeer at any mention of the borough.

During the fun and sarcastic mood of the evening, the crowd booed at the large living room of Becki Newton’s character Caryn and the exterior shots of the neighborhood. Weithorn had the set designer research Ridgewood’s old buildings, but the show was shot in Los Angeles.

“The show was corny,” said Morgan Pielli, who has lived in Ridgewood for two and a half years. “I thought it represented Ridgewood terribly. The set looked nothing like it.”

Liz Babish, who has also resided in Ridgewood for around two years and hails from New Jersey, was more optimistic about “Weird Loners” as a comedy, but said it wasn’t a reflection of her area.

“It has potential,” she said. “The show has a ‘New Girl’ vibe. Ridgewood was not represented at all.”

Babish was right about the “New Girl” feel — Jake Kasdan, an executive producer for the Zooey Deschanel series, is also an executive producer for “Weird Loners,” and even directed the pilot.

Attendees overall had positive reactions to the entertainment value of the first episode, which lays out how the four main characters — Caryn (Becki Newton), Stosh (Zachary Knighton), Zara (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) and Eric (Nate Torrence) meet and end up living adjacent to each other in Queens. The final scene finds the foursome mocking and then crashing a nighttime wedding in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

But they felt the comedy featured little of Ridgewood, and what it did portray wasn’t an accurate depiction.

“It didn’t show anything of Ridgewood. I hope it gets more street views of Ridgewood,” said Timothy Bakth, who has lived in Ridgewood for all 31 years of his life. “Being from Ridgewood my entire life, I wish they would have taken a look at Ridgewood 10 years ago; many things have changed.”

Queens Tavern is holding another viewing party next week, on April 7 at 9 p.m. “Weird Loners” airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.


Ridgewood bar to hold viewing party for ‘Weird Loners’ premiere

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Michael Becker / FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

The neighborhood that inspired the backdrop of a new Fox comedy will be holding a viewing party at a local bar for its premiere that is likely to be filled with more jeers than cheers.

Weird Loners” is about four relationship-challenged 30-somethings who unexpectedly end up in each other’s lives and start bonding while living next door to each other.

Creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn, who also co-created “The King of Queens,” decided to use Ridgewood as the setting for the show.

He had the set designer research the old buildings of the neighborhood for the Los Angeles-shot show, and used a Polish delicatessen he visited in the area as a child for the inspiration for the background of two of the characters.

But these attempts to replicate Ridgewood don’t seem to be sitting well with some of its own who are planning on attending a party to watch its depiction on the small screen.

A “Let’s Watch ‘Weird Loners’ Together…Party” is set for Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Queens Tavern, at 68-69 Fresh Pond Rd., hosted by Sarah Feldman from Ridgewood Social, who will be grabbing the mic during commercial breaks. According to the event description:

Grab a beer and uncomfortably watch the first episode at Queens Tavern on their full screen! Be in awe of how large their indoor apartment is! Then ask yourself… “if that is considered weird by mainstream standards… what am I?” Make bets with your fellow friends on how long until this show gets cancelled!

P.S. The word “Quooklyn” is banned from the party.

If the show does get the ax early on, locals won’t need to worry about any direct references to Ridgewood.

According to Weithorn the show’s current scripts don’t directly mention the neighborhood so far, but there are future plans to feature it more prominently in the comedy.


Queens native starts campaign to fund Dennis Hopper’s final film

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of "The Last Film Festival"

One filmmaker is turning to Kickstarter and the Queens community she grew up in to help put the finishing touches on what will be known as the late Dennis Hopper’s last movie, filmed completely in the “World’s Borough.”

Linda Yellen is one of the creative minds behind the comedy “The Last Film Festival,” which began filming in 2009 with a cast including Hopper, known for the classic film “Easy Rider,” Golden Globe-winner Jacqueline Bisset, JoBeth Williams, Chris Kattan, Donnell Rawlings, Katrina Bowden, Joseph Cross and Leelee Sobieski.

The film, written by Yellen and Michael Leeds, follows a Hollywood producer, played by Hopper, whose recent film was rejected by every film festival except a small town festival named the O’Hi Film Festival.

Although the movie surrounds a small town, it was actually filmed in Queens, some parts in Astoria and others in Forest Hills, the neighborhood Yellen grew up in.

“I loved growing up in Queens. It was so accessible to Manhattan but it also had the feeling of small town and community. It was always so friendly,” Yellen said. “It was a wonderful thing to sort of return home.”

The majority of the film was shot in Forest Hills, with scenes taking place at Forest Hills High School, where Yellen attended school. During the 2009 spring break, the actors were housed in the high school classrooms, which replaced the use of dressing rooms and trailers.

“There was always a great appreciation for the arts and culture in Forest Hills,” Yellen said. “I learned about the art of filming and directing in Forest Hills.”

The cast of "The Last Film Festival."

The cast of “The Last Film Festival.”

Although Yellen no longer lives in the borough, she said she is constantly traveling back to visit her mother, who still lives in the same building Yellen grew up in and who had a small part in the film as a “biker chick.”

During the filming, Yellen recalls walking the streets of Forest Hills during lunch with Hopper, who would take pictures of everywhere he went in the borough.

“A lot of those early experiences helped shape my identity and it gave a special pleasure to Dennis Hopper. He got to learn a lot about me as we took a lot of those walks,” Yellen said. “He loved [Queens].”

Tragedy then struck when, just a few scenes short of finishing the film, Hopper became ill and later died of cancer at the age of 74 in May of 2010.

“He was a picture of health and vitality and he just gives a multilevel comedic act [in the film],” Yellen said. “He had no idea he was sick; we had no idea he was sick.”

Hopper’s passing left a hole in the hearts of the cast and crew, and the film was set aside for a while until Yellen decided to pick it back up this year, which will mark the fifth anniversary of Hopper’s death.

However, in order to finish the film, Yellen made the decision to turn to Kickstarter, with a goal of $90,000, because she felt it was a way to get to the fans directly. The crowdfunding site also followed Hopper’s idea of “always looking for ways to go around the system.” As of March 25, $64,174 had been pledged.

The funds raised by the campaign will go toward all post-production aspects that are required to finish the film, including using movie clips to replace Hopper in scenes.

“This is a way of [the fans] saying we want this and we want to say we support this film and this comedy,” Yellen said. “This picture was made as a labor of love. Just the pleasure of doing good work and wanting it out there and wanting people to laugh a lot.”

The Kickstarter’s deadline is on April 9. To donate click here.


New Fox comedy set in Queens premiering March 31

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Michael Becker / FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

The co-creator of “The King of Queens” is bringing the borough back to the small screen with a new Fox comedy premiering this month.

Weird Loners” focuses on four relationship-challenged 30-somethings who unexpectedly end up in each other’s lives and start bonding while living next door to each other in a neighborhood that’s supposed to be Ridgewood.

Unlike some sitcoms featuring single urbanites, the comedy speaks to the stigma of being older and still being alone, according to creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn.

“There is the feeling that their lives are getting away from them,” Weithorn said. “But they bond together because they find each other.”

The show stars Becki Newton (“Ugly Betty”) as Caryn Goldfarb — described as a cute but high-strung dental hygienist who is love-crazed and an ultra-romantic. Her overeagerness and infatuation in her dating life has left her chronically single.

Zachary Knighton (“Happy Endings”) plays Stosh Lewandoski who is handsome, charming, smart and great at seducing women, but can’t maintain an intimate relationship. After losing his corporate condo, he is forced to move in with his cousin in Queens.

Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Michael Becker/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Nate Torrence (“Hello Ladies”) plays his cousin Eric — a toll collector who is described as a sweet, odd man-child. He lives in his family home with his parents until they pass away and Stosh moves in with him.

Newcomer Meera Rohit Kumbhani plays Zara Sandhu — a mysterious and ethereal woman who likes to live in the moment. A lifelong heartbreaker, men and women regularly fall in love with her. After leaving yet another lover, she moves in with Caryn, who lives next door to Eric and Stosh.

These four characters may be considered “Weird Loners,” but the title is somewhat ironic according to Weithorn because everyone is a weird loner in a way.

“They’re just like all of us…they just have not been able to figure out how to do this one thing,” he said.

Weithorn, a Fresh Meadows native, started creating relatable characters based in Queens with his hit sitcom “The King of Queens,” which ran on CBS from 1998 to 2007.

“I feel like I can write [characters] better if I can feel what it’s like when they walk out their front door,” he said.

Ray Mickshaw / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting.

Ray Mickshaw/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Weithorn’s shows haven’t been the only series set in the borough. “All in the Family” (1971-1979) was supposed to take place in Astoria, though the actual home is located in Glendale; and “Dear John” (1988–1992) was about a high school teacher who is forced to move to an apartment in Rego Park after divorcing his wife. Ugly Betty (2006–2010) focused on the title character’s job at the Manhattan offices of a top fashion magazine, but the dramedy also prominently featured the protagonist’s family home in Jackson Heights.

“The King of Queens” is the only one of the group to put the name of borough in the title, which was hard to sell at first, according to Weithorn. The title was given the go-ahead after the “Queens” was made into a street sign so people would know that Queens was a destination.

“I think we bombarded the American public with the image of Queens,” he said of the show, which is now in syndication.

After setting “The King of Queens” in Rego Park, Weithorn decided to use Ridgewood as the backdrop for “Weird Loners.”

Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting.

Michael Becker/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Weithorn had the set designer research the old buildings of the neighborhood for the Los Angeles-shot show, and used a Polish delicatessen he visited in the area as a child for the inspiration for the background of Stosh and Eric.

The two characters are children of Polish immigrants, a fact that is displayed proudly in Stosh’s name and the Polish banter the two sometimes have.

Weithorn doesn’t believe the show’s current scripts contain any direct references to the neighborhood so far, but there are future plans to feature it more prominently in the comedy.

But there are scenes that demonstrate it’s a Queens show — Eric’s hardcore devotion to the Mets and a bonding moment between the group in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

“Hopefully we will get the chance to tell the world about Queens,” Weithorn said.

“Weird Loners” premieres on Fox Tuesday, March 31, at 9:30 p.m.


Sunnyside comedy group to hold fundraiser for LIC community farm

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Sunnyside Comedy

A Sunnyside comedy organization is hoping laughter can help one Long Island City community farm grow.

Sunnyside Comedy, a group that brings stand-up comedy from throughout the city to Queens, is getting together with Long Island City urban community farm Smiling Hogshead Ranch, located at 26 Davis Ct.,  to put on a stand-up comedy fundraiser called “Funny by Nature” on March 27 at the Flux Factory located at 39-31 29th St. in LIC.

The event will serve as a benefit for Smiling Hogshead Ranch, as all proceeds from the show will go toward funding the farm’s infrastructure improvements, insurance and free programming in 2015.

“Smiling Hogshead Ranch helps cultivate community by gathering people around shared interests,” said Gil Lopez, co-founder of the Ranch. “Many of these interests are outside of gardening, and this comedy show is a perfect example. We hope to discover other common threads and encourage guests to explore the art on the gallery walls, our newly published zine ‘The Feed’ and talk to our members to learn more about what Smiling Hogshead Ranch is all about.”

The fundraiser, which starts at 8 p.m., will feature acts from a lineup of New York City comics, many of whom live in Queens and have appeared on late night shows such as “Conan,” “Late Night with David Letterman” and specials on Comedy Central.

The comedians taking part in the event are Ted Alexandro, Aparna Nancherla, Joyelle Johnson, Charles McBee, Harrison Greenbaum, Frank Liotti and Katherine Williams. The show will be hosted by Liz Magee.

The night will also feature themed raffles and prizes, and refreshments from city craft breweries.

“The whole point of Sunnyside Comedy is to bring laughs and promote all that’s wonderful in western Queens,” said Colin Anton Samuel, who co-founded Sunnyside Comedy with Lindsay Goldwert. “This fundraiser is the perfect embodiment of everything Lindsay and I want to do.”

Tickets for the show are $20 online at www.SunnysideComedy.nyc or funnybynature.brownpapertickets.com and $25 at the door, which opens at 7:30 p.m. on March 27.


Seinfeld comes home, performs at alma mater Queens College

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of John Shearer

When Jerry Seinfeld emerged from behind the curtain at the Colden Auditorium, he was not only returning to his alma mater, but to the stage that helped launch his comedy career.

“This is where I started the whole damn thing,” Seinfeld said as he greeted the crowd at Queens College’s sold-out Colden Auditorium, his fourth of five shows in each of the city’s boroughs.

Seinfeld first landed on the Queens College stage in the 1970s as part of a student play.

“I was a reporter in the play and it wasn’t really supposed to be funny,” the Massapequa-born comedian remembered. “I came out and made the whole thing really funny and it wasn’t a comedy play.”

The director pulled him aside to remind him it wasn’t a comedy, Seinfeld said, “And I said, ‘Screw this acting thing, I’m going to [Manhattan comedy club] Catch a Rising Star.”

Between Catch a Rising Star and the Thursday, October 18 show, Seinfeld turned himself into a world-renowned comedian and co-creator of one of the most beloved sitcoms of all-time, “Seinfeld.”

Seinfeld, who helped write the show famously about nothing, still displayed the ability to riff on the frivolities of life, including a five-minute bit on breakfast and the magic of Pop-Tarts.

“Once there were Pop-Tarts, I did not understand why other types of food continued to exist,” Seinfeld joked. “My mother was shopping and preparing meals, I was like, ‘What are you doing, it’s over? You’ll never beat this.’”

Other topics touched on by the funnyman were marriage (“When you’re single you can oversleep a half hour and no one even notices”); energy drinks (“What does it even feel like to be in deficit of five hours of energy?”); and food (“Why is it that you can smell french fries through a three foot concrete wall?”).

But Seinfeld also focused on Queens in the homecoming show. It was his first time back to the school since he received an honorary doctorate in 1994.

“I am so happy to be back in Queens. I love Queens,” he said.

Students and residents can easily identify with the grief Seinfeld remembered from his two years at Queens College: Parking problems and the misnamed Utopia Parkway.

“At what point was that a utopia?” said Seinfeld, who carried a double major while at the school, communication and arts and sciences.

“I took two majors because both of those are about half a major together.”

Following the 75-minute show, Seinfeld returned to the stage to take questions from the audience.

When asked for a favorite episode, Seinfeld said he gets foggy on which stories go with which episode, but rattled off a few treasured scenes: the golf ball in the blowhole of the whale, George accidentally poisoning his fiancée with toxic envelopes and Jerry stealing the rye bread from the old lady.

Currently, Seinfeld is filming an Internet show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” which is exactly what the name implies. Seinfeld will pick up a comedian in an exotic car and they’ll chat and quip while driving and sitting down for a coffee or meal.

Among those featured on the show was his “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David, who rode in a 1952 VW Bug.

But those awaiting a reunion show will not be hearing “Seinfeld, party of four,” any time soon.

“When you sit in those director chairs, it’s just depressing,” Seinfeld said. “Yeah, it’s great, it’s great … it’s over.”

Queens comedian competes for comedy crown

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Andrew Hendrickson

Comedian Andrew Hendrickson stepped into the spotlight on the makeshift stage at The Bread Box, a Long Island City eatery just off hip, bustling Vernon Boulevard. The restaurant was packed with locals and comedy junkies looking for a laugh and a chance to see the next “great one” before hitting the big time.

As a performer in the Laughing Devil Comedy Festival, Hendrickson was one of more than 100 comedians, hailing from the United States and Canada, competing for a cash prize and paid gigs at various comedy clubs throughout the city. The festival boasts several special guests at each show and a number of celebrity headliners.

Hendrickson performed in the Laughing Devil Comedy Festival’s sister event in Atlanta several years ago, failing to make it to the final round. He was determined to try again in New York – the city where stars are born and fame is just one great joke away.

Hendrickson was born in California, moving to various parts of the country during his childhood as a self-proclaimed “navy brat.” Regardless of his changing hometowns, comedy was always a major part of his upbringing.

“I’ve always loved stand-up since I was a little kid,” said Hendrickson. “I was living in Atlanta and I saw a news report about a guy who taught a stand-up class. When you ‘graduate,’ you perform for a live audience at the local club. So I signed up.”

Hendrickson developed his own material, compiling a five-minute routine that he performed at open mic nights. He then took his act on the road, working as an emcee and a middle act for bigger names. One year, he put nearly 40,000 miles on his car, driving from show to show.

“I know every gas station and rest stop in the eastern half of the country,” joked Hendrickson.

Now a 14-year comedy veteran, Hendrickson has developed his own style, employing conversational, dry and sarcastic undertones and methods into his routine. He believes there is no way to train to be a stand-up comedian, but a combination of relentless performing and writing can help a novice jokester find his voice.

Hendrickson claimed it took him 12 years to figure out how to be himself on stage.

“When people don’t laugh at my jokes it’s only because I’m being so subtle they miss it,” said Hendrickson. “After performing and writing for so many years, your mind starts to ‘think comedy’ constantly. It’s hard to turn off. You develop an awareness and look out for a funny perspective on just about everything. Most comics don’t know what’s funny until they bring it to the stage. Fortunately, for me everything I do is perfect and funny the first time I try it.”

As for his comedic inspirations, Hendrickson says they are not just the legends appearing on Comedy Central and filling thousand-seat venues, but his family.

“Everyone in my family is really funny,” said Hendrickson. “My mom is silly, my brothers are total smart [alecs] and my dad has a dark sense of humor. The family dog is the funniest of them all. He talks to me but no one else hears it. I get my best ideas from the dog.”

During his performance at the Laughing Devil Comedy Festival, Hendrickson ripped on Starbucks patrons’ ridiculous orders and his mother’s ability to leave him an entire story on his voice mail.

“I felt great on stage Saturday,” said Hendrickson. “The crowd was great. Who knew performing in a bread store would be so much fun. I felt really good about my set. I think I picked the right jokes for that round.”

Hendrickson took second place in the final round at the Laughing Devil Comedy Festival.

Up next in his budding career, Hendrickson plans to push around a sitcom script and gain more exposure on television.

He also has big plans for his love life.

“I want to marry a rich Hollywood starlet and live off her fame,” said Hendrickson. “I’m coming for you, Betty White.”

Devilish Grin – Long Island City resident brings comedy to the community

| smosco@queenscourier.com

Steve Hofstetter – LIC resident opening The Laughing Devil, a neighborhood comedy club set to open in December at 47-38 Vernon Boulevard.

When the crowds of artists came to LIC all those years ago in search of lofts and solitude, they inadvertently opened the door to curious developers with a hankering for waterfront property. As the condos shot up, young families moved in and they were soon followed by food purveyors because everyone needs to eat.

Now after decades of growth, the people crave more – the people crave entertainment.

Enter Steve Hofstetter and Jacob Morvay – two LIC residents opening The Laughing Devil, a neighborhood comedy club set to open in December at 47-38 Vernon Boulevard.

Hofstetter, a Queens native and professional comedian, has comedy clubs in Indianapolis and Atlanta, but felt the time was right to bring humor home to LIC.

“You risk failure with any project you’re involved in and failing in front of friends and family might be the worst, but I think it’s only going to come with benefits,” said Hofstetter, 32. “This is my home and I’ve got people rooting for me – that gives us the early boost we need to get off the ground.”

Hofstetter’s career in comedy first got off the ground when he was 13 years old and, like most men, he was motivated by the lure of a woman. He followed a girl he had a crush on into an improv class, which she quit two weeks later – but by then, he was already hooked.

“Men chasing women has inspired some of the greatest decisions in our society,” he said, adding that he and his wife decided on LIC because they wanted to move somewhere with more space. “This time I actually love her.”

Standup comedy, his second love, is something that Hofstetter started performing because it shined the spotlight squarely in his talent – and he didn’t have to rely on other performers as with improv comedy.

“Standup is a solitary art. In improv, either someone better than you steals the scene or you’re the best and you have to carry people with you,” he said. “The days that I perform are better than the days that I don’t.”

And now that he’s anchored in LIC, Hofstetter wants to bring his neighbors a fun night out and he also wants them to know that he has their best interest in mind. He’s aware that some might have reservations about a comedy club in the neighborhood – will it be loud, will there be drunks?

At a recent Community Board meeting, Hofstetter told supporters and detractors that he and his partner won’t ruin the community because they are the community.
“I told them that no one in this room lives closer to this club than I do. I am concerned about the neighbors because I am a neighbor. It’s strange to be a comedian and a curmuggeon at 32, but I’m really not the type to party all night,” he said. “As for noise level, show me a comedian that gets such a reaction that he can be heard on the streets, and I’ll hire that guy.”

Currently, there is a petition running on the www.laughingdevil.com asking those from the area to show community support. Anyone who signs the petition gets one free ticket.

The community has been far more supportive than he was told they would be, giving Hofstetter more time to focus on luring talent. He’s made plenty of connections at his other clubs – working with such comedians as Dave Attell and Margaret Cho – and he’ll use those business connections to book performers at The Laughing Devil.
But the comedy club will invite more than well-known talent onto its stage. Hofstetter said that there will be open-mic nights, and that local flavor will be a driving force behind the personality of the club.

And according to Hofstetter, Queens has plenty of flavor.

“I wasted a good amount of my life looking down on Queens,” said Hofstetter when asked about the borough’s reputation and its relationship with Manhattan. “You’re always told by others that it’s not good enough, but now that I’m older and hopefully more mature, I can recognize that there are some wonderful things here. As the people of Queens, it’s our responsibility to make the borough better in people’s minds.”

Speaking locally Hofstetter said that in a lot of ways, LIC is leading Queens and signaling the rest of the city that this is the borough of change and opportunity. A lot has changed since Hofstetter was a kid in Queens – back then, his father warned him about venturing into LIC.

“I’m all for the redevelopment because it’s being done responsibly. People aren’t being kicked out of their homes – developers are buying abandoned or for sale properties and building newer ones,” he said. “What could be wrong with that?”

Hofstetter’s goal is to open the club on December 15 with a liquor license and the full support of the community. Neighborhoods need happy residents and as Hofstetter hopes to prove, laughing together makes living together much easier.

“The reason I love standup as an art form is because it’s so uniquely communal. Laughter is a communal response and anyone who says they can see it on TV doesn’t understand,” he said. “It’s not just a show, it’s an experience and that’s why I love performing and I’m thrilled to do it in my own backyard.”