The Basement Lounge
The Basement Lounge

Season 2, Episode 6 · 1 year ago

Interview with Steve Hofstetter

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On a very special episode, Mike Shea has a phone chat with comedian Steve Hofstetter as he travels cross-country for the holidays!

Mike & Steve talk about:

  • Comedy during COVID
  • Steve's post-election feelings & predictions
  • How their dads were their biggest fans

Check out Steve's digital comedy shows at Nowhere Comedy:
https://nowherecomedyclub.com/

Watch Steve's clips online:
https://bit.ly/3m0SnrQ

Thanks for listening! Tell your friends!  

Welcome back to another installment of theBasement Lounge. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mike Wells couldn't join us today because he'sa jackass now, but we are so thrilled to have somebody on the phoneright now that I've been a fan of for a while now. You mayhave seen his clips on Youtube and facebook of him just absolutely decimating people thathave the audacity to ruin a comedy show. He is the originator of my favoriteword in the world, which is red aphile, meeting somebody who reallyloves redheads, because Lord knows we all do. Ladies and Gentlemen, pleasewelcome on the phone Mr Steve Hofstetter from the road. Steve, welcome tothe show. Thank you having me. Good to have you on. Soyou are you're doing some traveling right now. Yeah, I live in La andmy family's on the youth coat. I haven't seen all year. Idecided that you try to go to see them all. I can still seepeople outdoor. You know I'm not I'm not making them a stink of pickingup oder to gain and getting into my mom phone. So I prove allthe way to New York from La and throw down a Farta New York andyou know, not my family and couple friends and had a night, acouple of lines, really nice naps outside and now an at all. Howwas how was the trip it in general? You have you have a good time. I did. I am mortified at some of the things I've seen. You know, I drove by like yesterday, I'm driving through you knowlike mobile and velocity in that part of the country and ranst side of velocity. There was a giant carnival, probably a thousand people, and they justdon't seem to there. And in Mobile,...

...or actually right outside a mobile andDaphy, I stopped to pick up flue and you know the even thoughthey don't really have purk mass blob there, the food bladers and student right,they had, you know, so with this thing and everybody was buyingflex a glass and you couldn't get your food until they put it there likea thumb waiter. And so there's there's four feet between the counter and thedoor and there's already someone of the counter. So I'm waiting to pick up myfood outside the door and the other guy walks in and it's kind ofcut in front of me go inside and so oh, hey man, I'min line and he goes, what you're doing outside, and I got allof those with this thing and he didn't know what I meant. He said, what's that like, not with any irony, and I'm just like,even if you believe in it, man, it were eight months in. Howdo you do you think all these people wearing masks in your town ornurses, like, what do you like? Does he does he flick on afootball game? He's like, wow, attendance is bad this year. Howdo you not know what's happening? You had to have at least heardthe word once. Yeah, yeah, and I don't know how sheltered thisguy was and if he was a sheltered how did he know the order Chinesefoods? I've not. It's crazy to me you know this this far inconsidering, you know, we hear about all time, the number of peoplewho have gotten sick, the number of people who have died, that peoplestill, you know, seemed to view it as just something that doesn't reallyit's like, Oh, I don't need to worry about that, that happensto other people. But I think people tend to forget that we are otherpeople to other people? Absolutely, we are someone else's other people. Andyou know, and look, I am forty one, I'm in pretty goodshape and odds are I'll be okay. But you know what being Ley,who is, you know, Great Comic Buddy of mine. He's like ayear older than me. He got covid...

...back in March and take what's theirs, for six months, six months killed him if he didn't take lesson orthree times a day. I see something like that and I'm just like,no, thanks, I do not want that. I don't care. Likepeople say, Oh, survival rage and so high. It's like yeah,but a having it stuck in, getting over it also stuff. So evenif I can survive, I don't want to have to go through it.That's great to survival rates so high. You know, the survival rate forthe chicken pox is pretty high, but I still don't want the chicken poxagain. I mean, yeah, yes, same with Donalia. Thank you.It's because it's not going to call. You know, I don't like peas. Peace Aren't going to kill me. Doesn't mean I want to fucking eathim. So how is you know, we are we are in a Imean I keep wanting to call it a post election cycle, but itseems like it's still hasn't stopped. We're still talking about it. How haveyou been feeling and dealing with kind of the fall out from from the electionthe beginning of the month? Well, you know, driving free areas ofdriving through I've really seen some back I was on election I would say,in Pennsylvania the day it was called. I've seen everything from an entire neighborhoodin Pittsburgh that all had fiden long sign like every single house, to,you know, trump parade in upstate New York, and it's been, it'sbeen really eye opening to see, you know, kind of wo who believeswhat it's I don't think I don't think post election cycle, you is evenclose to the right term for it, because I don't think we're going tobe post election cycle until a few months after an auguration day and maybe evenmore. That's definitely how it's starting to...

...seem how it's starting to feel.You know, I noticed in the area I live in, like want,you know, after things were called, a lot of signs are to comingdown. But there is one guy that I drive by going to work everyday who he doubled down. I mean he went from having a few signsand a flag to like some custom made like the wire bet the metal wirebending art made that spells out trump and you know, a bunch of youknow the election was rigged. Signs hanging from his porch and I don't know, it just it's it's crazy to me. You got to figure those signs.It's probably like buying Halloween candy on November. Second, they're probably cheapright now, you know, like they're it's clearance stuff. You get themwhile you're ten. I I think part of it is so many people haveattached their identity to trump over the last four years and the idea of himnot being something that they can identify with anymore he's scary for them on ahuman level. It's not a question of Oh, they don't want to admitthat they were wrong. It's then a question of they don't think that they'rewrong. It's the question of they were a prompt supporter. That was theiridentity. The same way that like my empty hey, that's me, you, Hey, my name Steve on my comics. That's my destiny. IfI couldn't be that anymore, I don't know what I say and so forthese people, they don't know what to do. You know, is this. It was a weird it was a weird time for me too, becauseit was, you know, I this is the first time in an electionwhere I like a I bought a sign, but it wasn't like I was like, I wasn't excited about Biden. My my lawn sign actually says fine, Biden, but this is bullshit, which I think perfectly summed up myfeelings. Yeah, I used to joke around and he has sixteen that Hillarywas like, yeah, I guess I'll vote for me. Yeah, that'swe we had a discussion about that on the show where we were saying,you know, hate drives people to vote.

People wire voted in droves this yearbecause they fucking hated Donald Trump, but the problem was in two thousandand sixteen people also fucking hated Hillary Clinton. Yeah, the the idea of they'revery few excited people, like very few straight up excited people for Biden. Biden was probably of the you know, of the twenty two people that wererunning, Biden was like my seventeen choice. The twenty people running.Bloomberg was like my thirty five, like the I think the only people thatI would have been genuinely upset with with would have been Bloomberg or Mary andWilliamson. There they were both. I was like, but, but thatsaid, you know, yeah, porader Biden, and now, you know, as soon as people finally admit he's president and the transition happens and it'speaceful, we don't get a bunch of militia idiots and free then I'm goingto go back to make it fun of Biden. Yeah, because it's easy. It's prow easy, I think, as I think is it's necessary.I think you need to hold this speech of the fire, yeah, andmake sure that he honors the people who voted for them. Well, especiallyafter the last four years of there being an absolute, complete lack of checksand balances. We need to make sure that, if we're going to demandthose checks and balances, that we demand it no matter who's sitting in thatoffice, whether they're donald trump or Joe Biden or mayor Pete or whoever.Yeah, I think we need to there needs to be accountability and you know, the thing that we're has really changed lately. You know, in thelast couple of years is the system. They're being attacked and the systems arewere kept things in place. And so...

...as long as we can make surethat there's faith in the systems and they're going to be accountability, absolutely,and a lot of that will come from seeing who gets, you know,who he picks for his cabinet. You know. And again, you know, we lit. We live at a digital age where it's really easy toprove to somebody you said you were going to do x, Y and Z. Now let's make sure X, Y and Z happens. We saw itwith the when they were appointing amy coming Barrett for to to the Supreme Court. All the clips are being shared of you know, Mitch mcconald N'Z Grahamtalking about waiting, the waiting to confirm a Supreme Court justice. So nowadaysit's absolutely we need to utilize that technology to hold everybody accountable, not justthe people we don't like. Yeah, you know, agreed, and it'sa delicate balance because obviously you don't want you don't want to impugne someone enoughthat someone worse for places them, you know, but at the same timewe need to hold them accountable. I think Biden's cabinet is going to bedelightfully forward. I think it's going to these people who have who we haven'theard of, who have been civil servants their entire lives, who know thesystem and who can restore what trump for down. You know the we justyou know B Lincoln is. It looks like he's being nominated and he's someonewho's a wiper. He's been there forever. An you put things back together.Yeah, it's I know, I know John Kasi's name has been gettingfloated or round and as somebody from Ohio, my first reaction was just kind ofsure, all right, fine, if you say so. I'm notsure what he has the offer, but okay, cool, although one Idon't think. I don't think he's getting a point. No, I meanI remember when he ran in two thousand and sixteen and he was one ofthe ones up on the stage. I was just kind of like, Imean, sure, if you're going to...

...pick somebody, I don't I don'thate that idea. I don't love it, but it's Ohio, so I don'tlove a lot of the people who are from here share brows. Yeah, yeah, I don't think he's think he's horrible, but I don't thinkhe's good. Yeah, and you know we shouldn't. You know, look, if you're gonna nominate a Republican for having a position, let's make itsus in college so we can replace her in the Senate. Hard about it, seriously. Transportation, right, but it's kind of kind of moving offpolitics a little bit. So how's? How's? How's The covid experience beenfor you? You know, we're both comics, and it's definitely you know, I mean the last time I was on stage was in January. How'sit? How's this whole thing been for you, you know, in termsof supporting yourself and staying busy and and and just kind of keeping keeping thewheels turning? Well, I had to break it to you, but thosefirst few months were your choice covid and hit us so much. But that'strue. That's true. I'll give you that one. Now, I looka lot of my identity, a is a foreign comic, and so it'sbeen weird. I have shifted to digital and I've been concentrating on writing.I think I'll be one of the last comics perform in person again, becauseI'm not doing it till it's completely safe. And you know, some some othercomics I know are like, oh well, I'm going to do drivein shows, and I'm like, I'm absolutely not. They're like, oh, the drive and shows are safe. I'm my driving shows. It's safefor us, but for someone to get there, they have to go thereand when they go there they have to get gas and they have to getfood and they have to do all these other things that you are making themdo to come see you. And so if I do a drive in showin Portland organ then you know what I...

...want to get? People drive infrom Eugene and that's two hours and they're going to stop and get gas andsomeone's going to get covid and it's going to be partially my fault and Idon't want that on my hands. So I'm just gonna I'm just gonna waitit out and I am very lucky to be in a position where I can. My digital is doing well enough that I'm okay. If this happened acouple of years ago, who knows where I'd s but you know, I'mfingers crossed. I have enough in the bank, I'm doing enough business digitallythat I can wait it out and that's what I'm doing. Yeah, that'sit. It's definitely, you know, nowadays, with the advent, youknow, I've seen things like, you know, zoom and stream yard havesuddenly become household terms, which, you know, you go back last year, nobody knew what the hell any of those things were. I've seen wholeyou know, in internet, you know, companies based on Youtube that have hadto, you know, shut their studios down and shift all their contentonline. I work at a new station and, you know, our anchorsand our reporters have been doing most of their work work from home, youknow, remotely. So it's it's definitely been. I'll tell you what I'veI've seen a lot more comics start to branch out in the kind of thingsthey do, similar like you were saying, like focusing on writing and and doinga lot of more digital stuff, because you kind of have to.You know, we had we had the club open up a little bit ina limited basis, but you could tell it just didn't feel the same.There was just kind of this air of like is this going to be theone that, you know, triggers a triggers of spread or something like that. Yeah, yeah, and you know, necessity as the mother of inventions,as they say, and it is very true. And they're playing peoplewho will, you know, flo the idea of a zoom show. Andit's just a different kind of venue. Yeah, you know, look andthere are ones that are run well and runs that are ones that are runpoorly. It's like, look, we've...

...all done good bar shows and badbar shows. Of all done good club shows and bad sub shows. He'llI've done I've done a there show that US run for it like it doesn'tthe physical venue. Is that what's most important to food grouping it now it'sproud and there are good digital shows except find them. Yeah, we weset up a discord server for the local comedy scene as a way to haveeverybody come in and because we used to have before the open mic on Sundaysof the club, we used to have a comics hanger. They would comeand workshop their bits and so but we turned discord into that as a wayfor everybody to just get together a couple nights a week and just and justwork through material that way. That, you know, granted, not alot of life is happening right now. So some folks are having a hardertime coming up with new stuff than the other but it's still a good wayto work through existing material and come up with new stuff and just kind ofshoot the shit and brainstorm ideas. I truly think that the biggest revolution fromthis is that it will render bad open mic pointless, because every now andthen there's a good open mic. Like why is guys in Utaw as likea hundred and fifty paying customers come to their open play? Yeah, that'srare most big cities. You're just performing. You a couple other comments and nowyou can do that on zoom. Everybody has it. Everybody has asetup. You gather, have ten yr friends together, you do four minutesand you know, a couple minutes and feedback. You actually work on yourjoke. You know, you figure out what has legs and it's a it'sa much more efficient way of doing it. That for me to some comics.They don't necessarily know that. You know, might be ignoring you orwriting your material down, or you know you can actually you actually do somethingimprove. Yeah, and there's nothing worse than doing an open mic. Geta hookah place. It's just it's the worst atmosphere. Everyone's everyone's to chill. It's nice. Yes, no, there's there's a this goes that Godof saying about it's not the venue.

There's a place in I think itwas in Folca. I stopped by thereafter I had a show a Fart Atlanticand there's a place that it was called Funky Buddha and they've been running showsthere forever. It's an open mic. I was there with rich boss.We both stopped and yes, that it was Super Fun and you know,even though it's a hookah bar, but they had a comedy night once aweek that, you know, open miccerves and and some of their friends andit's something a couple locals would come see and it was a fun show.It's I always love a good surprise. I always love it when you showup to a place that you have the lowest expectations for and it winds upbeing an absolutely great show. Absolutely so I do have a couple of questionsI like to ask every ree comic when they come on the show. Justsome some shot questions. So what's right off the bat? What's been?Just like the the one Gig you look back on, bigger, small,that just that just suck, that just absolute ate it. For whatever reason, I was Supook to do a private party by this woman who said herhusband was a big comedy fan, a big Fan of mine, and alsobig basketball fan, and so she has we have I could do some basketballstuff. It was in la so it's like, all right, yeah,I got some like your jokes I could do. So I went. Ibrought Jad Shapparro with maybe the guy who wrote robhood men in tight. Yeah, and figure out that'd be fun. And so you know, I introducedhim as that and it's opening jokes. He just goes, don't be tooexcited. I also wrote battlefielder, which usually gets the last. It gotnothing and then he goes. He goes, yes, gonna get worse. Thenext guy wrote Shelie and get nothing...

...and some guy stands up in thecrowd. It just goes. My father lost his shirt on both those movies. That's point, you idiot, but that's how much they didn't get whatcomedy was right. And so gay he does like five minutes and just bouncesand I got to do a half hour and I opened with a bunch ofLakers jokes. They're getting nothing. I start realizing like they don't even knowwhat these references are, and so I try to do some material. Iturned to crowd works, absolute garbage, and I say at one point Ijust go how many people here familiar with my work, and that a singleperson says yet and then I realized, Oh, I'm being used in adivorce, like this is she, this is not a woman trying to makeher husband happy, this is a woman ruining her husband's first day part likehe had no idea who I was. He didn't follow basketball, like thiswas awful and it was just the way I put it is it was along line at the ATM. Like, imagine having a weight at a naked, because I got paid, but imagine having a wait at an ATM fora half hour and having to do your material for no one. And that'sbasically what it was. Wow, this is how I don't even know howto respond to that. That's that's just painful to think about. Yeah,well, flipping on that, what's One? What's one that you look back onlike, like come just so fondly, like one that you like a aGig you love to tell. It tells a story. When people askyou about like a great going, great one. You've had Um. Well, one of my favorites that I had recently was the tuning fork in Aucklandin New Zealand. I've played it a...

...couple times before. It's a reallycool venue. Gets like it's like the rock club that's a patched to astadium. So the spark arena is like the big arena in Auckland and thenthe tuning fork is like it teats like two hundred but it's in the samebuilding. So your green room is the green room that you have if youplayed the Damn Marie, which was incredible, and the material I've been working onlately is much more of a theater type show that it is a clubshow. It's a lot more of you know, kind of a one mantype of thing, and so the tuning fork is more of a it's aclick. It's the intimacy of a club with the stage setup of a theater, and so it was just one of these things that I've been working onthe set with Dan Muggleton, who's the cop I was scoring with. He'sa close friend and you know, he's kind of been with me since theevolution of the set. He's seen in a lot of dif places and Icame off stage in Auckland and I just turned to him I said that's whatI was trying to do, like that's that's why I wrote this show,like I wrote this show for this kind of environment. And it was particularlyfun because New Zealand is it very quiet and laid. That crowd like thefirst time I've ever played there I thought I was bombing because they were soquiet, and so to to feel like I killed with a crowding in NewZealand made it even better. So it was. It was just such asuch a wonderful mine. It's always, and I think a lot of comicscan relate, when you have just one of those those Aha moments with witha show or a bit or just something you've been working on, when itwhen it finally hits the way you want it to. Maybe maybe you weren'tsure how to describe what you wanted or...

...you knew you were looking for acertain feeling, but when you get, when you get that Aha moment,it's it's it's like breathing new life into into what you do. Yeah,absolutely. Now, as is there anything you because you've traveled. I meanall kinds of places doing stand up. You've had recognizable amount of success inonline with with the videos on Youtube and facebook. Is there anything like youhaven't done yet that like that maybe, whether you've planned for it or haven't, or just it's kind of a pipe dream it is. Is there somethingin particular in comedy you want to do, like what's that? What's that bucketthat one big bucket list item? Well, I'm you know, Imean I have yet to have a special on major network and that'd be apretty big deal. But also like one of the things I want to doI'm getting to do next year. When I before I even started, whenI lived in Boston for a little bit and I would always walk by thewilber theater and just like Marvel at the amazing act that work that would tourthere. And I, you know, I had this shitty job in abad breakfast where I had to like to turn down service and make me sellit, all kinds of crap I don't want to do, and I realizedI didn't want to do it and I quit and I move back to NewYork, I started working out, becoming a common and next August I ambooked for a show at the wilber theater in Boston. That is so cool. That is yeah, you talk talk about dreams coming to reality. That'sjust it's an eleven hundred feater. It's insane. We've already sold over ahundred tickets in assoot August and you know, I'm just I am over the moodexcited waiting for it. Are there? Are there plans to tape it?Is that still something in the works...

...or maybe just thinking about it?Well, I I mean I film that every one of my shows my owncameras, but the material I'm working on now, like the stuff that youknow working out in Ausland, the material I'm working on for my next special. I have a vision of shooting the special because a lot of it isabout growing up and, you know, eventually losing my dad. I wantto shoot that special at my old grace school. Oh Wow, yeah,so I have this vision of doing it there. I think I would bereally cool. So those are always the ones that that feel when there's likeit's not just a random theater that they happen to get booked, when there'swhen there's meaning behind it, when you can tell that the the show andthe place means something to the to the comic. You can always you canalways just tell, whether they say it or not, that there's there's somethingspecial about about the show you're watching, and that's that's I always love tosee stuff like that. Yeah, it was. I hope that I tenddo it. It is a public school in New York City, so whoknows, are kind of red tape I'm going to have to jump through rightbut, you know, fingers crossed. I just feel like filming it inthat same auditorium would just be so cool. Was Your Dad? You mentioned yourdad was was he was? He a big fan of a big fanof the comedy stuff, like how how was that with with the parents whenyou're first getting into it? That's how I got into it. He usedto, you know, playing the old standard records kid and unlike a lotof comics, you know, I'm lucky enough that my parents supported from thejump. You know, my parents came to sunch early shows. My Dadit was there was one joke that I kind of was ripping in the carwith him and you know, he was...

...a last and he wasn't doing anyof the ripping, but he called that his joke from there on out andyou know, he would he would always when he would come to the shot, Y didn't do my joke. So yeah, he was. He wasa big fan of it and in fact the last time I, you know, I saw him before he passed was the first time he was able toreally come on the road with me. You know, it's seen a tonof shows, but he I got to open for Dick Gregory, who wasone of the Commons used to, you know, play for me when Iwas a kid and and I threw my dad out so that he came withme from Louisville Indianapolis. You know, the two of us and Dick Gregorydrove across the Midwest, which was crazy and it was yeah, it's areally amazing week and you know, he was he was a he was abig fan of comedy in general an he really liked that I was a comic. That's I love that you got to fly them out to to that show. You know, my my dad, the year that he passed away wasthe first time I ever did a club show. I got started in SouthCarolina and where I was living at the time there were no like clubs.It was all just bars, and I mean they were decent shows. Butwhen I when I moved up here to Dayton, I was finally able toget and booked at the club here in town and my dad was going throughremission at the time and so he got to come watch me do my firstclub show. I shit the bed completely because I was too nervous and Icouldn't get my head around it, but it was it was great that Iwas at least glad that he got to come see me on a on anonbar stage, because he, I mean he had been to all my showsof me going to, you know, comedy clubs and are not kind ofclose coffee shops and book stores and crap like that. So it was itwas a great feeling getting to to share...

...that kind of that big of anexperience with with my dad, because he had, like yours, he'd beena big supporter of it, you know, from the get go. Yeah,so I love that you got to do that. Yeah, well,Steve, I know you, I know you're busy, I know you're onthe road. I don't want to take up too much more of your timebefore we let you go. One last thing, just just just for everybodyelse out there. What is what can people look forward from? Look forwardto from you going on right now? What's in the immediate future? Soright now I'm doing shows that nowhere comedy club, which is, you know, a digital comedy space that be and believe and I created, and andwith I mean micro Bigley has got shows coming up John cleas. It's apretty crazy, amazing digital experience from your couch and I have showed there everyweek and I'm doing a new one where I actually I'm heckling myself. I'mbasically watching some of my heckler clips with the crowd and then breaking them down, saying here's what I did wrong, here's what you know, etc.And it's, you know, kind of a kind of a directors cut ofsome of those clips and the the one end December ten is which the firstone we're doing the trump addition, and so it's all all hecklers that weretremp courts man. I can't wait. I can't wait. So make sure, guys, if you're listening right now on the replay, make sure youcheck out the nowhere comedy club shows with Steve Hofstader and and what how?Make sure you, guys, continue to I see everyone sharing them all thetime, all the all the heckler clips are so popular. Continue to sharethose and watch those. Steve Man, thank you for taking some time outof your out of your travels, to the talk with us today. Reallyappreciate it. Man. Thank on. Of course, guys, make sureyou check out Steve all over the innerwebs...

...watches videos, share his tweets,all that good stuff. Steve, we're going to go ahead. Let yougo, man, so you can get back on the row. But onceagain, thank you so much for coming on. I Take Kars all right. Guys, that was Steve hostettor to median. Extraordinary coming to us livefrom the road. That was so much fun. Short little chat. Greatto talk with him. Hope you guys enjoyed that watching it live here inthe patreon. For those of you who didn't watch it live in the Patreon, you're enjoying it now on the replay. We do live streams of all ofour show tapings and all of our interview recordings live in the Patreon.When they haven't you're not a member of the patreon yet. Boom, therehe goes. Another reason to join. But that being said, thank youguys tuning in. Thank you so much, and we'll be back again with youguys, next time on another episode of the Basement Lounge. Until then, as always, live well, rock on, take care and.

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