Steve Hofstetter, a Queens native and comedian, is returning to his childhood hometown of Briarwood on Saturday, Dec. 18, to film his new comedy special, “The Recipe.”
Hofstetter will be performing two shows at his former elementary school, P.S. 117, at 85-15 143rd St., where he attended until the age of 12. The shows will take place at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and tickets are available to purchase here.
“The Recipe” is a heartbreaking and hilarious set that explores Hofstetter growing up in a mixed family, setting out on his own, achieving his dream and the grief surrounding the loss of his father.
“A lot of it is about gallows humor and being able to last through pain, which is a subject I think a lot of people can relate to these days,” Hofstetter said. “The special is different from what I’ve done in the past, and from what a lot of comedians do. It’s got a beginning, middle and end, and is written so people can watch it multiple times and is more like a movie than a traditional standup set.”
Hofstetter decided to film his show at P.S. 117, since it was the first stage where he was in his first play 35 years ago, he said.
Since the themes of the special involve growth and planning, Hofstetter thought it would be nice to go back to the beginning at his elementary school. The show will double as a fundraiser for the school and the Teachers DonorsChoose program, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects.
“Instead of just buying tickets, someone can donate to any of the Teachers DonorsChoose programs and be able to redeem that donation for a ticket,” Hofstetter said. “Not only does it raise money for the teachers and their projects, but it also allows people who couldn’t afford a ticket to come and see the show. A lot of people had a rough year and a half, and it allows us to raise money for the right people and help those who need it.”
According to Hofstetter, he’s excited to be back on the road after doing online shows during lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During the pandemic, I felt like there was a piece of me missing. I was luckier than others — I had my health and I wasn’t worried about paying rent. I was OK, but I still didn’t feel like me. Getting back out there as a performer makes me feel whole again,” Hofstetter said. “I’m extremely excited to be able to perform on a stage that means something to me and have my family, friends and fans there.”
Hofstetter says his goal is to move people and to show them that laughing and crying are next to each other on the wheel.
“I’ve been workshopping this show since I got back on the road in May and I’ve had people come to multiple shows — one person came to six shows. It’s because the show is written in a way that you can watch it multiple times,” Hofstetter said.
Hofsetter gained a reputation for himself when he began posting videos from his stand-up routines of his interactions with audience members on YouTube and has since racked up 185 million views and over 600K subscribers on the platform.
“I try to be a social critic. There’s a great quote from Bill Hicks who’s my favorite comedian of all time, ‘The comic is the one who says wait a minute as the consensus forms,’ and that’s what I try to do,” Hofstetter said. “My goal as a comic is to be what Bill Hicks was if he didn’t hate his audience.”
His book, “Ginger Kid,” which was released in 2018, debuted at No. 1 in its category on Amazon and was a Top Five Pick.
Throughout his career, Hofstetter has used his own blend of satirical social commentary, tackling everything from American politics to foreign affairs to pop culture and current events. Hofstetter was also the host and executive producer of season one of “Laughs” (FOX) and he has made appearances on various shows on ESPN, VH1, ABC, CBS, Showtime and more, including late night television.
Hofstetter has been in four films, and he has had two top 20 comedy albums (including one that hit No. 1 on iTunes comedy charts). He is a former columnist for Sports Illustrated and the NHL, and has also written for Maxim and The New York Times, among others.