Tag Archives: Steve Hofstetter

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.




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.”