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 the Basement Lounge. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mike Wells couldn't join us today because he's a jackass now, but we are so thrilled to have somebody on the phone right now that I've been a fan of for a while now. You may have seen his clips on Youtube and facebook of him just absolutely decimating people that have the audacity to ruin a comedy show. He is the originator of my favorite word in the world, which is red aphile, meeting somebody who really loves redheads, because Lord knows we all do. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome on the phone Mr Steve Hofstetter from the road. Steve, welcome to the show. Thank you having me. Good to have you on. So you are you're doing some traveling right now. Yeah, I live in La and my family's on the youth coat. I haven't seen all year. I decided that you try to go to see them all. I can still see people outdoor. You know I'm not I'm not making them a stink of picking up oder to gain and getting into my mom phone. So I prove all the way to New York from La and throw down a Farta New York and you know, not my family and couple friends and had a night, a couple of lines, really nice naps outside and now an at all. How was 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 know like 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 just don't seem to there. And in Mobile,...

...or actually right outside a mobile and Daphy, I stopped to pick up flue and you know the even though they 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 buying flex a glass and you couldn't get your food until they put it there like a thumb waiter. And so there's there's four feet between the counter and the door and there's already someone of the counter. So I'm waiting to pick up my food outside the door and the other guy walks in and it's kind of cut in front of me go inside and so oh, hey man, I'm in line and he goes, what you're doing outside, and I got all of 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. How do you do you think all these people wearing masks in your town or nurses, like, what do you like? Does he does he flick on a football game? He's like, wow, attendance is bad this year. How do you not know what's happening? You had to have at least heard the word once. Yeah, yeah, and I don't know how sheltered this guy was and if he was a sheltered how did he know the order Chinese foods? I've not. It's crazy to me you know this this far in considering, you know, we hear about all time, the number of people who have gotten sick, the number of people who have died, that people still, you know, seemed to view it as just something that doesn't really it's like, Oh, I don't need to worry about that, that happens to other people. But I think people tend to forget that we are other people to other people? Absolutely, we are someone else's other people. And you know, and look, I am forty one, I'm in pretty good shape 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 a year 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 or three times a day. I see something like that and I'm just like, no, thanks, I do not want that. I don't care. Like people say, Oh, survival rage and so high. It's like yeah, but a having it stuck in, getting over it also stuff. So even if 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 for the chicken pox is pretty high, but I still don't want the chicken pox again. 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 eat him. So how is you know, we are we are in a I mean I keep wanting to call it a post election cycle, but it seems like it's still hasn't stopped. We're still talking about it. How have you been feeling and dealing with kind of the fall out from from the election the beginning of the month? Well, you know, driving free areas of driving 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 neighborhood in 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's been really eye opening to see, you know, kind of wo who believes what it's I don't think I don't think post election cycle, you is even close to the right term for it, because I don't think we're going to be post election cycle until a few months after an auguration day and maybe even more. 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 coming down. But there is one guy that I drive by going to work every day who he doubled down. I mean he went from having a few signs and a flag to like some custom made like the wire bet the metal wire bending art made that spells out trump and you know, a bunch of you know 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 cheap right now, you know, like they're it's clearance stuff. You get them while you're ten. I I think part of it is so many people have attached their identity to trump over the last four years and the idea of him not being something that they can identify with anymore he's scary for them on a human level. It's not a question of Oh, they don't want to admit that they were wrong. It's then a question of they don't think that they're wrong. It's the question of they were a prompt supporter. That was their identity. The same way that like my empty hey, that's me, you, Hey, my name Steve on my comics. That's my destiny. If I couldn't be that anymore, I don't know what I say and so for these people, they don't know what to do. You know, is this. It was a weird it was a weird time for me too, because it was, you know, I this is the first time in an election where 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 my feelings. Yeah, I used to joke around and he has sixteen that Hillary was like, yeah, I guess I'll vote for me. Yeah, that's we 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 year because they fucking hated Donald Trump, but the problem was in two thousand and sixteen people also fucking hated Hillary Clinton. Yeah, the the idea of they're very 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 were running, Biden was like my seventeen choice. The twenty people running. Bloomberg was like my thirty five, like the I think the only people that I would have been genuinely upset with with would have been Bloomberg or Mary and Williamson. There they were both. I was like, but, but that said, you know, yeah, porader Biden, and now, you know, as soon as people finally admit he's president and the transition happens and it's peaceful, we don't get a bunch of militia idiots and free then I'm going to 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, and make sure that he honors the people who voted for them. Well, especially after the last four years of there being an absolute, complete lack of checks and balances. We need to make sure that, if we're going to demand those checks and balances, that we demand it no matter who's sitting in that office, 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 the last couple of years is the system. They're being attacked and the systems are were kept things in place. And so...

...as long as we can make sure that 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 to prove 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 it with 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 Graham talking about waiting, the waiting to confirm a Supreme Court justice. So nowadays it's absolutely we need to utilize that technology to hold everybody accountable, not just the people we don't like. Yeah, you know, agreed, and it's a delicate balance because obviously you don't want you don't want to impugne someone enough that someone worse for places them, you know, but at the same time we need to hold them accountable. I think Biden's cabinet is going to be delightfully forward. I think it's going to these people who have who we haven't heard of, who have been civil servants their entire lives, who know the system and who can restore what trump for down. You know the we just you know B Lincoln is. It looks like he's being nominated and he's someone who'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 getting floated or round and as somebody from Ohio, my first reaction was just kind of sure, all right, fine, if you say so. I'm not sure what he has the offer, but okay, cool, although one I don't think. I don't think he's getting a point. No, I mean I remember when he ran in two thousand and sixteen and he was one of the ones up on the stage. I was just kind of like, I mean, sure, if you're going to...

...pick somebody, I don't I don't hate that idea. I don't love it, but it's Ohio, so I don't love 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 think he'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 it sus in college so we can replace her in the Senate. Hard about it, seriously. Transportation, right, but it's kind of kind of moving off politics a little bit. So how's? How's? How's The covid experience been for 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's it? How's this whole thing been for you, you know, in terms of supporting yourself and staying busy and and and just kind of keeping keeping the wheels turning? Well, I had to break it to you, but those first few months were your choice covid and hit us so much. But that's true. That's true. I'll give you that one. Now, I look a lot of my identity, a is a foreign comic, and so it's been 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, because I'm not doing it till it's completely safe. And you know, some some other comics I know are like, oh well, I'm going to do drive in 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 safe for us, but for someone to get there, they have to go there and when they go there they have to get gas and they have to get food and they have to do all these other things that you are making them do to come see you. And so if I do a drive in show in Portland organ then you know what I...

...want to get? People drive in from Eugene and that's two hours and they're going to stop and get gas and someone's going to get covid and it's going to be partially my fault and I don't want that on my hands. So I'm just gonna I'm just gonna wait it 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 a couple of years ago, who knows where I'd s but you know, I'm fingers crossed. I have enough in the bank, I'm doing enough business digitally that I can wait it out and that's what I'm doing. Yeah, that's it. It's definitely, you know, nowadays, with the advent, you know, I've seen things like, you know, zoom and stream yard have suddenly become household terms, which, you know, you go back last year, nobody knew what the hell any of those things were. I've seen whole you know, in internet, you know, companies based on Youtube that have had to, you know, shut their studios down and shift all their content online. I work at a new station and, you know, our anchors and our reporters have been doing most of their work work from home, you know, remotely. So it's it's definitely been. I'll tell you what I've I've seen a lot more comics start to branch out in the kind of things they do, similar like you were saying, like focusing on writing and and doing a lot of more digital stuff, because you kind of have to. You know, we had we had the club open up a little bit in a 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 the one 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 people who will, you know, flo the idea of a zoom show. And it's just a different kind of venue. Yeah, you know, look and there are ones that are run well and runs that are ones that are run poorly. It's like, look, we've...

...all done good bar shows and bad bar shows. Of all done good club shows and bad sub shows. He'll I've done I've done a there show that US run for it like it doesn't the physical venue. Is that what's most important to food grouping it now it's proud and there are good digital shows except find them. Yeah, we we set up a discord server for the local comedy scene as a way to have everybody come in and because we used to have before the open mic on Sundays of the club, we used to have a comics hanger. They would come and workshop their bits and so but we turned discord into that as a way for everybody to just get together a couple nights a week and just and just work through material that way. That, you know, granted, not a lot of life is happening right now. So some folks are having a harder time coming up with new stuff than the other but it's still a good way to work through existing material and come up with new stuff and just kind of shoot the shit and brainstorm ideas. I truly think that the biggest revolution from this is that it will render bad open mic pointless, because every now and then there's a good open mic. Like why is guys in Utaw as like a hundred and fifty paying customers come to their open play? Yeah, that's rare most big cities. You're just performing. You a couple other comments and now you can do that on zoom. Everybody has it. Everybody has a setup. You gather, have ten yr friends together, you do four minutes and you know, a couple minutes and feedback. You actually work on your joke. You know, you figure out what has legs and it's a it's a 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 or writing your material down, or you know you can actually you actually do something improve. Yeah, and there's nothing worse than doing an open mic. Get a 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 God of saying about it's not the venue.

There's a place in I think it was in Folca. I stopped by thereafter I had a show a Fart Atlantic and there's a place that it was called Funky Buddha and they've been running shows there 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 a week that, you know, open miccerves and and some of their friends and it'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 show up to a place that you have the lowest expectations for and it winds up being an absolutely great show. Absolutely so I do have a couple of questions I like to ask every ree comic when they come on the show. Just some 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 her husband was a big comedy fan, a big Fan of mine, and also big basketball fan, and so she has we have I could do some basketball stuff. It was in la so it's like, all right, yeah, I got some like your jokes I could do. So I went. I brought 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 introduced him as that and it's opening jokes. He just goes, don't be too excited. I also wrote battlefielder, which usually gets the last. It got nothing and then he goes. He goes, yes, gonna get worse. The next guy wrote Shelie and get nothing...

...and some guy stands up in the crowd. 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 what comedy was right. And so gay he does like five minutes and just bounces and I got to do a half hour and I opened with a bunch of Lakers jokes. They're getting nothing. I start realizing like they don't even know what these references are, and so I try to do some material. I turned to crowd works, absolute garbage, and I say at one point I just go how many people here familiar with my work, and that a single person says yet and then I realized, Oh, I'm being used in a divorce, like this is she, this is not a woman trying to make her husband happy, this is a woman ruining her husband's first day part like he had no idea who I was. He didn't follow basketball, like this was awful and it was just the way I put it is it was a long line at the ATM. Like, imagine having a weight at a naked, because I got paid, but imagine having a wait at an ATM for a half hour and having to do your material for no one. And that's basically what it was. Wow, this is how I don't even know how to 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 on like, like come just so fondly, like one that you like a a Gig you love to tell. It tells a story. When people ask you 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 Auckland in New Zealand. I've played it a...

...couple times before. It's a really cool venue. Gets like it's like the rock club that's a patched to a stadium. So the spark arena is like the big arena in Auckland and then the tuning fork is like it teats like two hundred but it's in the same building. So your green room is the green room that you have if you played the Damn Marie, which was incredible, and the material I've been working on lately is much more of a theater type show that it is a club show. It's a lot more of you know, kind of a one man type of thing, and so the tuning fork is more of a it's a click. 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 on the set with Dan Muggleton, who's the cop I was scoring with. He's a close friend and you know, he's kind of been with me since the evolution of the set. He's seen in a lot of dif places and I came off stage in Auckland and I just turned to him I said that's what I 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 particularly fun because New Zealand is it very quiet and laid. That crowd like the first time I've ever played there I thought I was bombing because they were so quiet, and so to to feel like I killed with a crowding in New Zealand made it even better. So it was. It was just such a such a wonderful mine. It's always, and I think a lot of comics can relate, when you have just one of those those Aha moments with with a show or a bit or just something you've been working on, when it when it finally hits the way you want it to. Maybe maybe you weren't sure how to describe what you wanted or...

...you knew you were looking for a certain 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 mean all kinds of places doing stand up. You've had recognizable amount of success in online with with the videos on Youtube and facebook. Is there anything like you haven'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 something in particular in comedy you want to do, like what's that? What's that bucket that one big bucket list item? Well, I'm you know, I mean I have yet to have a special on major network and that'd be a pretty big deal. But also like one of the things I want to do I'm getting to do next year. When I before I even started, when I lived in Boston for a little bit and I would always walk by the wilber theater and just like Marvel at the amazing act that work that would tour there. And I, you know, I had this shitty job in a bad breakfast where I had to like to turn down service and make me sell it, all kinds of crap I don't want to do, and I realized I didn't want to do it and I quit and I move back to New York, I started working out, becoming a common and next August I am booked 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's just it's an eleven hundred feater. It's insane. We've already sold over a hundred tickets in assoot August and you know, I'm just I am over the mood excited 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 own cameras, but the material I'm working on now, like the stuff that you know 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 is about growing up and, you know, eventually losing my dad. I want to shoot that special at my old grace school. Oh Wow, yeah, so I have this vision of doing it there. I think I would be really cool. So those are always the ones that that feel when there's like it's not just a random theater that they happen to get booked, when there's when there's meaning behind it, when you can tell that the the show and the place means something to the to the comic. You can always you can always just tell, whether they say it or not, that there's there's something special about about the show you're watching, and that's that's I always love to see stuff like that. Yeah, it was. I hope that I tend do it. It is a public school in New York City, so who knows, are kind of red tape I'm going to have to jump through right but, you know, fingers crossed. I just feel like filming it in that same auditorium would just be so cool. Was Your Dad? You mentioned your dad was was he was? He a big fan of a big fan of the comedy stuff, like how how was that with with the parents when you're first getting into it? That's how I got into it. He used to, you know, playing the old standard records kid and unlike a lot of comics, you know, I'm lucky enough that my parents supported from the jump. You know, my parents came to sunch early shows. My Dad it was there was one joke that I kind of was ripping in the car with him and you know, he was...

...a last and he wasn't doing any of the ripping, but he called that his joke from there on out and you know, he would he would always when he would come to the shot, Y didn't do my joke. So yeah, he was. He was a 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 to really come on the road with me. You know, it's seen a ton of shows, but he I got to open for Dick Gregory, who was one of the Commons used to, you know, play for me when I was a kid and and I threw my dad out so that he came with me from Louisville Indianapolis. You know, the two of us and Dick Gregory drove across the Midwest, which was crazy and it was yeah, it's a really amazing week and you know, he was he was a he was a big 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 was the first time I ever did a club show. I got started in South Carolina 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. But when I when I moved up here to Dayton, I was finally able to get and booked at the club here in town and my dad was going through remission at the time and so he got to come watch me do my first club show. I shit the bed completely because I was too nervous and I couldn't get my head around it, but it was it was great that I was at least glad that he got to come see me on a on a nonbar stage, because he, I mean he had been to all my shows of me going to, you know, comedy clubs and are not kind of close coffee shops and book stores and crap like that. So it was it was a great feeling getting to to share...

...that kind of that big of an experience with with my dad, because he had, like yours, he'd been a 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 on the road. I don't want to take up too much more of your time before we let you go. One last thing, just just just for everybody else out there. What is what can people look forward from? Look forward to from you going on right now? What's in the immediate future? So right 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 and with I mean micro Bigley has got shows coming up John cleas. It's a pretty crazy, amazing digital experience from your couch and I have showed there every week and I'm doing a new one where I actually I'm heckling myself. I'm basically 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 of some of those clips and the the one end December ten is which the first one we're doing the trump addition, and so it's all all hecklers that were tremp 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 you check 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 the time, all the all the heckler clips are so popular. Continue to share those and watch those. Steve Man, thank you for taking some time out of your out of your travels, to the talk with us today. Really appreciate it. Man. Thank on. Of course, guys, make sure you check out Steve all over the innerwebs...

...watches videos, share his tweets, all that good stuff. Steve, we're going to go ahead. Let you go, man, so you can get back on the row. But once again, thank you so much for coming on. I Take Kars all right. Guys, that was Steve hostettor to median. Extraordinary coming to us live from the road. That was so much fun. Short little chat. Great to talk with him. Hope you guys enjoyed that watching it live here in the 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 of our 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, there he goes. Another reason to join. But that being said, thank you guys tuning in. Thank you so much, and we'll be back again with you guys, next time on another episode of the Basement Lounge. Until then, as always, live well, rock on, take care and.

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