Tag Archives: fox

LIC comedy club founder hosting new Fox stand-up show


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Adam Teixeira

A Queens native and founder of a Long Island City comedy club is bringing his years of experience producing laughs to a new show on Fox next month.

Steve Hofstetter, 34, who is in the process of selling the Laughing Devil Comedy Club on Vernon Boulevard to concentrate on his TV endeavor, is the host and executive producer of “Laughs,” a highlight reel show for stand-up comics.

Hofstetter started doing stand-up comedy at 13 years old to impress a girl. Though he failed to get the girl, he found a life-long passion for humor.

After college, he started performing in and producing stand-up shows, eventually making a full-time career out of comedy.

In late 2011, he opened the Laughing Devil Comedy Club when he realized there were no comedy clubs in Queens.

“Why not support the community that you actually live in,” the former Long Island City resident said.

A writing opportunity led him to move to L.A. about a year and half ago, and he and the Laughing Devil’s co-owner decided to put their business up for sale last summer. But Hofstetter ultimately decided to buy out his partner.

With “Laughs” set to premiere for a 13-week test run on August 2, he is now finalizing the club’s sale to the team behind The Stand, a Manhattan comedy club, which has been running Laughing Devil for the past couple of months, he said.

“I can’t imagine a bigger opportunity,” Hofstetter said about the show. “It’s one of those things where you think you’ve made it but you aren’t sure yet.”

Each week, “Laughs” will feature stand-up comics from around the country, compiled from clips sent to the show and showcases set up by comedy clubs. As host, Hofstetter introduces the clips to a live audience at The Laughing Derby in Louisville, Kentucky, one of three comedy clubs of which he is a managing partner, and provides humorous commentary. Each clip will include the comic’s Twitter handle and where to see the person live.

“This is going to be catch-your-breath funny,” Hofstetter said. “We are really going to introduce the world to some great comics.”

To mark the show’s debut, there will be a red-carpet premiere party at the Laugh Factory in L.A.
Hofstetter remembers growing up in Briarwood and watching “Comic Strip Live” on Fox, which was taped live from the Laugh Factory.

“It’s a wonderful way to go full circle,” he said.

“Laughs” will premiere on Saturday, August 2, in select cities, including in New York at midnight on Fox, and Sunday, August 3, on My9 at 11 p.m.

 

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New Fox comedy to feature 30-somethings living in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of 2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. / Michael Becker/FOX

A new Fox show, called “Weird Loners,” will use Queens as its backdrop.

The single-camera comedy, scheduled for 2015, focuses on “four single 30-something underdogs who are unexpectedly thrust into one another’s lives and form an unlikely bond in a Queens townhouse.” The show, which is still early in production, places the home in Ridgewood.

Nate Torrence and Zachary Knighton. (©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/FOX)

From writer Michael J. Weithorn (“The King of Queens”) and director Jake Kasdan (“New Girl”), the show stars Becki Newton (“Ugly Betty”), Zachary Knighton (“Happy Endings”), Nate Torrence (“Hello Ladies”) and newcomer Meera Khumbhani.

Newton plays Caryn Goldfarb: “A cute, but high-strung dental hygienist whose romantic life, unfortunately, is dictated by the love-crazed, ultra-romantic 13-year-old barricaded inside the control room of her brain. Each time a handsome new man crosses her field of vision, infatuation and extreme over-eagerness take over, and she inevitably winds up back at square one – single and not getting any younger.”

Becki Newton and Zachary Knighton. (©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/FOX)

Knighton plays Stosh Lewandoski: Described as “handsome, charming and whip-smart,” he’s a “serial seducer who has never been able to maintain an intimate relationship with a woman for very long – a couple of hours, usually. When Stosh’s shenanigans result in him losing his corporate condo, he winds up moving in with his cousin Eric.”

Torrence plays Eric Lewandoski: “A sweet, odd man-child, whose “adult life has consisted of living at home with elderly parents and working as a toll collector on the Queensboro Bridge. After both of his parents pass away, he finds himself cast adrift in the world for the first time.”

Meera Khumbhani and Nate Torrence. (© 2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Becker/FOX)

Meera Khumbhani plays Zara Sandhu: “Drop-dead gorgeous, mysterious and ethereal, Zara is a lifelong heartbreaker who’s only capable of living one way – ‘in the moment.’  Men and women fall in love with her on a regular basis, and she often reciprocates their feelings with great passion, until… she doesn’t.”

 

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Reality show ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ coming to Bayside eatery


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jeff Neira/FOX

It might be a nightmare for Gordon Ramsay, but it’s a dream come true for one Queens restaurant and diners in the borough.

“Kitchen Nightmares,” a hit reality television show on Fox, is kicking off its sixth season with its first production shoot at Kati Allo in Bayside.

Internationally renowned chef Ramsay and his team will film in the Greek eatery at 29-06 172nd Street July 13-16.

Producers are looking for diners over 18 years old to sit in while the show is recording.

Those interested should email knqueensrest@gmail.com. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applicants will be asked to complete a thorough survey detailing how frequent they dine at Greek or Mediterranean restaurants in Queens and what style restaurant and qualities they look for in an eatery.

In “Kitchen Nightmares,” a no-nonsense Ramsay, who is prone to foul language, has one week to revive failing restaurants.

Kati Allo, which means “something else” in Greek, has been owned by husband and wife Emmanuel and Christine Zavolas for 14 years. They said they could not comment before the episode airs.

A spokesperson for the show said a date has not been set for the broadcast.

Donald Gardner, a local who patronizes the restaurant twice a week, said the ambiance and service could improve. He added that the young wait staff is somewhat error-prone, while “delivery guys hang out in the front all the time.”

“I’ve never seen it crowded in there at all,” he said. “But this area isn’t the bevy of hot restaurants.”

This is Ramsay’s second visit to Queens with the show and his fifth in New York City, officials said.

PJ’s Steakhouse in Forest Hills appeared on “Kitchen Nightmares” in February 2011, but the restaurant ultimately closed down.

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

 

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Queens’ own Creighton Fraker and Heejun Han perform on American Idol’s semifinals


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Fox

American Idol went live Tuesday night for the first time this season as Queens’ own Creighton Fraker and Heejun Han sang for their Idol lives in the show’s semifinals.

Thirteen men took the stage on the popular singing competition, but only five will continue onto next week’s show.

Fraker belted Queens native Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” to praise from each of the celebrity judges.

“That was so beautiful,” Jennifer Lopez said. “With a voice like that I do not want you to go home.”

Steven Tyler agreed calling the Idol hopeful’s performance “stupendous.”

The judges questioned Han’s choice of Robbie Williams’ “Angels,” saying the song did not allow the Queens crooner to fully display his voice.

“I’m not sure if that song showed off all of how beautiful your voice is,” said Lopez, who also called his sound silky smooth.

While Randy Jackson agreed that the song didn’t show everything the “mad talented” Han can do vocally, he added, “I am so happy we found Heejun.”

Viewer votes will choose the five men and five women that advance to the shows finals which begin next week. The women take the stage on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on Fox 5. The show’s 13 finalists — the judges will each select one wild card contestant — will be announced Thursday night at 8 p.m. on Fox 5.

Two Queens contestants make it to American Idol’s top 24


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Fox

Hundreds of thousands of “American Idol” hopefuls were narrowed down to 24 over the past month, with two Queens crooners making the cut.

Heejun Han, of Flushing, and Astoria’s Creighton Fraker both withstood the auditions, Hollywood and a trip to Las Vegas to make it to the shows semifinals round, and now have the opportunity to sing live in front of America, hopefully earning the viewers’ votes.

Fraker grew up as a preacher’s kid in South Dakota, finding his voice in church choirs and local boys’ singing groups. He took private lessons throughout the years and eventually joined a touring choir, serenading audiences across the nation.

The 28 year old moved to Astoria eight years ago.

For his turn in front of the judges, Fraker belted out Smokey Robinson’s “Who’s Lovin’ You,” as well as an untitled original piece.

“[The judges] had only good things to say. They were shocked at how unique I was,” Fraker told The Courier.

READ CREIGHTON FRAKER’S INTERVIEW WITH THE QUEENS COURIER

Han, 22, originally from Korea, shocked the judging triumvirate with his audition performance of “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” by Michael Bolton.

“You have a beautiful tone,” Jennifer Lopez told Han, who said he loves singing Soul and R&B.

Han’s Facebook fan page already has nearly 8,000 likes.

In their final performances before the judges, both Fraker and Han paid homage to their hometown singing Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.”

The semifinalists will be sliced in half during next week’s round. The men will perform Tuesday night with the women singing for the “Idol” lives on Wednesday. Viewer votes will determine the 12 finalists who will compete to become the 11th American Idol on Thursday.  Each show airs on Fox 5 at 8 p.m.

Additional reporting by Alexa Altman

 

Creighton Fraker makes Queens proud on ‘American Idol’


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Fox’s American Idol

People should get used to pronouncing Creighton Fraker. It’s going to be a household name.

An Astoria resident for the past eight years, Fraker grabbed the ultimate brass ring for a star on the rise — a coveted golden ticket on Fox’s “American Idol.”

Fraker grew up as a preacher’s kid in South Dakota, finding his voice in church choirs and local boys’ singing groups. He took private lessons throughout the years and eventually joined a touring choir, serenading audiences across the nation.

He always knew he wanted to sing.

Eight-and-a-half years ago, Fraker moved east to the Big Apple.

In New York and out of work, he took to the streets, performing for crowds in public parks and on sidewalks. He waited tables and poured cocktails, anything to make ends meet.

Fraker’s 28th birthday this year marked his last chance to win a spot on “American Idol,” since the show enforces an age cut-off for contestants.

It was an opportunity Fraker seized.

He and two friends drove from New York to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the “American Idol” audition, each with dreams of stardom. The trio camped overnight on the sidewalk outside the stadium where auditions were held, along with thousands of other hopeful contestants.

For his turn in front of the judges, Fraker belted out Smokey Robinson’s “Who’s Lovin’ You,” as well as an untitled original piece.

“[The judges] had only good things to say,” said Fraker. “They were shocked at how unique I was.”

Influenced heavily by Michael Jackson, Fraker also admitted to the impression “American Idol” judge Steven Tyler has had on his sound.

“[Steven Tyler] has always been a big idol of mine,” said Fraker. “It’s more than insane to hear him commenting on my music.”

Of the three hopefuls that traveled together, Fraker was the only one to make it to Hollywood.

With the golden ticket clutched in his hand, Fraker dialed his mother. He wanted her to be the first to hear the news.

“I was elated,” he said. “I was so excited to find out that I hadn’t been waiting around in line for nothing.”

With the first “Hollywood Week” behind him, Fraker looks forward to his future on “American Idol” and the musical ventures to follow.

“I was struggling to find a way to pay my rent before now,” said Fraker. “Now, there’s a hope of becoming a household name. It’s completely [turned] my whole world [around].”

“American Idol” airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox 5.

Queens Parents Outraged Over Daughter’s Gun Spelling Assignment


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens Parents Outraged Over Daughter’s Gun Spelling Assignment

Many parents are concerned about gun violence, so Lawrence Gillman almost hit the ceiling when his 5-year-old pulled out a surprising homework sheet. “I looked at it and I seen the word ‘gun’ on it. The first thing I thought was ‘oh no no no,’ I don’t want you reading it, I don’t want you spelling it. I don’t even want you looking at the picture,” said Gillman. His daughter goes to P.S. 201 in Queens and is learning sounds and letters, but Gillman says teaching words like “gun” and showing a cartoon image of one is out of touch. Read More: NY1

 

House Approves Bill Seeking Construction Of Gas Pipeline Through Brooklyn And Queens

A bill approving the construction of a three-mile gas pipeline through Brooklyn and Queens quietly sailed through the House of Representatives Tuesday night. On the floor, bill sponsor Congressman Michael Grimm talked up the project’s economic benefits. “The Gateway Pipeline project will generate approximately $265 million in construction activity. That’s almost 300 local jobs,” said Grimm. It’s a part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2007 PlaNYC initiative, which he says is about building a stable clean-energy future for the city. Read More: NY1

 

Kelly accuser’s memory of ‘rape’ but not of sex killed her case: sources

She insisted she was raped – she just couldn’t remember actually having sex. Maria Di Toro, the woman who accused Greg Kelly of raping her in a Financial District law office, admitted she had no memory of the alleged attack — making it impossible for investigators to pursue a case against the Fox 5 TV anchor, sources said yesterday. “Not remembering is not tantamount to being raped,” one source said a day after prosecutors announced they’re dropping their probe of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s youngest son. Read More: New York Post

 

Rally to keep Key Food in Flushing

Some Flushing residents have one thing to say to a local landlord: keep our Key Food. At a rally on Wednesday, February 8, they joined elected officials, including Senator Toby Stavisky, Councilmember James Gennaro and Assemblymembers Michael Simanowitz and Rory Lancman, along with Key Food owner David Mandell to protest plans of replacing the supermarket with a CVS pharmacy. Read More: Queens Courier

 

‘Good Day’ co-anchor Greg Kelly to return to Channel 5 Friday morning 

FOX 5 anchorman Greg Kelly will return to “Good Day New York” on Friday – days after being cleared of rape allegations. The decision was made at a 4 p.m. meeting between Kelly and station brass Wednesday, sources told the Daily News. As he left the station, Kelly confirmed his return to work. “I’m very appreciative of all the positive support I’ve received,” he said after walking out the front door. Kelly looked relieved. Read More: Daily News