Hillbilly Elegy Counter-programming: Steve Hofstetter
December 30, 2020
Big John Isner  20:36 Thanks for giving us the time. We really appreciate it. This was I’m really excited to do this interview. But I’m nowhere near as excited as my wife. She was. I told her that we had booked this interview and she called me a liar. So at least I could finally […]

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Big John Isner  20:36

Thanks for giving us the time. We really appreciate it. This was I’m really excited to do this interview. But I’m nowhere near as excited as my wife. She was. I told her that we had booked this interview and she called me a liar. So at least I could finally prove to her I wasn’t lying. Because you are by far her favorite comedian. So just a quick shout out to my wife on that $1 that

Steve Hofstetter  21:06

She’s excellent.

Big John Isner  21:09

Yeah, she has she she made sure that we just we would buy tickets to your show in Columbus. So we’ll see you in 2021.

Steve Hofstetter  21:17

Much appreciated.

Big John Isner  21:19

So I just want to kind of jump into your background real quick. I know that you’re from you’re from Queens, right?

Steve Hofstetter  21:26

Correct.

Big John Isner  21:27

Okay. Interesting thing that I didn’t know about until recently was that you went to high school with Lin Manuel Miranda.

Steve Hofstetter  21:36

I did. In fact, there was actually a play that we did where, and I have this playbill still from high school, where it was myself. Lin Manuel Miranda and Chris Hayes from MSNBC in the same place. What a small world that Yeah, Len was 15 Chris and I was 16.

Big John Isner  22:00

That’s incredible. And and now look at all three of you. Well, I should have gone to that high school. I can. I could have done so yeah, look at that.

Steve Hofstetter  22:09

I look at that. And I’m like how many Tony Awards between us? They’re all in? But yeah.

Big John Isner  22:15

Yeah, in between the three of you. You’ve got a shit ton. So that’s great. Yeah. So the other thing that I think this, this was interesting to me, is that and you don’t have to talk about if you don’t want to, but the whole bullying thing when you were in high school, you guys were bullied by the same person who ended up being becoming a rapper.

Steve Hofstetter  22:40

In the stories I tell in my book, it could be about anybody who knows who they’re about, because of the reason but basically, look, everybody knew Felipe Bay as a bully in high school.

He was a terror. And we get it. People can grow up and they can change. He apologized to land once when he called him out for it. And he also gave some sort of like, Oh, you know, I apologize to everybody. I hurt them.

I see that I’m like, you can reach out to the rest of us. Yeah, you know who we are. You could just make a post in the alumni Facebook group. Be like, Hey, guys, really sorry. I was a terror when I was in high school, and I physically hurt a lot of you and emotionally hurt others. And now that I’ve grown up, I’d like to atone for it. But instead, he’s like, yeah, it was a long time ago. Again, thanks.

Big John Isner  23:45

Well, the reason I brought that up is that when I grew up, I was always bullied, especially for being a bigger guy. But I found that if I could make people laugh, they’d stop. Did bullying ever influence your career choice? Or did you know? Did it ever help you want to become a comedian or anything like that?

Steve Hofstetter  24:08

It didn’t help me want to become a comedian. Because I didn’t connect with you. It did help me want to be funny, though. Okay, and, you know, Part Part of what I talk about in ginger kid is that when I kind of stumbled into comedy when I was 13 it was the first time I was getting positive attention for some. And, you know, I didn’t know enough then that like, Oh, this is a disarming quality. This is something that can help me out with that situation. All I knew at the time was just like, oh, there are no bullies in here. You know, and the, you know, the attention of bands to be positive. So I went with it.

Big John Isner  24:53

That’s awesome. I know that. So you get out of high school. did. Did you go to college? I look that up. Where’d you go to college?

Steve Hofstetter  25:03

That’s okay. I went to Columbia.

Big John Isner  25:05

Okay. All right. You so you graduate from college. And I noticed you kind of take a pit stop, you don’t go, you don’t go straight into full-time comedy you start writing for Sports Illustrated, is that right?

Steve Hofstetter  25:19

I started out as I was supposed to be a sports journalist, that was my goal. And, you know, I had my junior year of college actually took off a year, because I had an opportunity, to be a beat writer with the Yankees. Crazy opportunity.

Yeah, in a year that they went to the World Series, again, my mental thing by you know, and then graduating, I was expecting to do that. And I had an internship for Sports Illustrated for kids coming out of college. And I also, you know, started doing freelance stuff for ESPN and you know, wherever I could get a gig here and there, but it was when the.com bubble burst. So all these mid-level guys were coming back to entry-level print jobs. It was really hard to find work. I started doing comedy kind of the past at that time.

The weird thing was that even though my goal was to write for Si, I didn’t actually get a column for si. And so after I started comedy because when I started getting attention for my stand up, is when I was like, Okay, let’s take a look. Because I was different. And so, yeah, I think that happened, because the New York Times report section did a story about me as a sportswriter who occasionally references sports in my setup, and then, you know, that caught some people die. And so I was able to become a sportswriter because I couldn’t become a sports writer.

Big John Isner  26:58

Well, alright, that that is something obvious, I did not know. So now, we’re at least, you know, I understand your background a lot more now. Now, we’ve kind of gone into the comedy realm of your career. The big question that I had George Carlin is, is one of my favorite comedians of all time. Would you consider yourself a Carlin guy like an observational list type comedian?

Steve Hofstetter  27:25

Oh, I am a direct descendant of that school. Like the, you know, he was one of the guys that my father played for me when I was a kid. And you know, the way I view it is basically, the lineage is Lenny Bruce, George Carlin bill, and then the rest of us. There’s no clear disciple of it. But, you know, the rest of us who are in that school now came from that lineage.

Big John Isner  27:58

It’s kind of like a, like a coaching tree like a Bill Belichick coaching tree, almost. It’s everybody branches out and no one can beat Belichick just like no one could probably beat Carlin, but at least, you know, we can at least see the branches come down. Which is is pretty cool.

Big John Isner  28:20

More recently, I guess, your your Twitter game has been kind of fire I that’s the easiest way I can put it. But it’s because you’ve now started to combine politics with still being funny. was, was combining politics and comedy always part of the plan, or did your set kind of evolved to that?

Steve Hofstetter  28:42

Well, it was always part of what I did. You know, I’ve been a political comedian for 18 years. You know, lately, there’s just been a lot more to talk about.

So when there’s this much material, you know, gets a little easier. But also, I just think it’s become more important. Even when, you know, I grew up as a comic when Bush was president. And yeah, I did a lot of stuff about it. And you know, I talked about voting and elections, and starting in 2004, I’ve always toured in swing states around election time. Like that’s been my way of canvassing. But back then, no matter how upset we were, no matter how scared we were, we always had faith in the institution itself. What’s scary right now, is that the institutions are crumbling. That’s what we need to prevent from happening. So I’ve been I’ve become louder and louder in that arena, because of that.

Talking politics in the Trump era

Chuck Corra  29:53

I’m really curious because you know, I hear from a lot of other comedians during like this sort of Trump era that It’s almost overripe for parody. Do you ever find yourself realizing that reality is almost too absurd to even make jokes about because I mean, you have things like the Four Seasons, total landscaping, and Rudy Giuliani’s hair dye literally dripping down his face? So like, how do you I guess, how do you approach that? I’m really interested to hear your thoughts.

Steve Hofstetter  30:21

If this were a script, it would have been rejected for 100%. The stuff that’s happening right now you couldn’t write, I mean, the amount of even released a crack in the crack and died.

It’s like there are every one of these things is a horrible misstep, what terrible gap. Just today it came out that the thing that Trump and Tucker Carlson kept saying about, Oh, these three dead voters in Georgia had their votes cast, it came out that No, those are just three people with the same names of dead people, their common names, Georgia has 10 million residents idiot, like, there are so many of these things that are so easily explainable, you know, or, on the other end, be hard to believe. And you can make a successful career just reading his tweets and just making disappointed faces.

But because of that, it forces us to be more original, try to, you know, try to write our own takes try to, you know, try to say something that hasn’t been said, and the sub of mine has been going viral on Twitter lately. And it’s really been interesting. It’s been, you know, the past three weeks. You know, I’ve gone from 95,000 followers to under 15,000 followers. And it’s, you know, because I keep having things that pop, and those things that are popping, our original takes on the stuff we’re all saying, and that’s why it works.

Big John Isner  31:54

I think that that’s a pretty good breakdown. I know that at the top, we didn’t tell you much about the podcast This podcast is as you can tell by the name Appalachia, it’s based centered around Appalachia, I noticed that and one thing that kind of relates is when you think about Appalachia, a lot of people think about, you know, guns and you know, etc, you talk about gun control, you have a bit that’s a pretty good gun control bit. But in your special secret optimist, which was filmed in Indiana, and you make sure to mention that when you open Have you ever had to put a joke on a back burner? based on where you are, you just always let it go.

Steve Hofstetter  32:40

I realized that people don’t come to see the West Virginia version of your set, they come to see your set. if every comic performs, you know, I had this realization, I did a show at the University of Dallas. And it’s a religious school. I forgot what sec. But it’s a religious school and I performed there. And you know, it’s a religious school in the way that most religious schools are and that it’s loosely affiliated in the 19-year-olds don’t care. And by the way, this is the only show I’ve ever performed on where someone flashed me. Like this was not a bunch of conservatives. It was like we had thrown someone out for being drunk and disruptive. And they came around like it was a big picture window behind the crowd, and they like flat.

I just wrote back to them, and I said, Hey, man, if every one of us did it, the University of Dallas version of our set, every time we perform there, you’d watch the same set every show. We’re all independent and different comics. And if you don’t want to come and see somebody, don’t come and see them, but don’t tell them how to be more like what you want. It is up to you to decide what to watch. You could have walked out at any time and you could have never come and that’s on you. I think that too, to decide what material not to do based on where you are is prejudice. That’s not something I ever want to be.

Big John Isner  34:39

It’s interesting that you say that too, because Chuck and I, we were about this podcast about bout to turn a year old. And when we first started, we struggled with that on, you know, can we talk about certain things, if it’s, you know, either not Appalachian enough or perceived Appalachian enough versus Can we just talk and We kind of came to the same agreement as you. And that was essential, it’s our show. Why would people come and listen if you know, for any other reason? So it’s, it’s cool to hear, it’s cool to hear you say that, based off your set. I know that. Did you say that you struggled early on with that? Or was that just a quick transition?

Steve Hofstetter  35:23

Well, it was a question that I asked myself early on. And you know, what I do sometimes what I call a punishment set, which is basically, if there’s a crowd, you know, thankfully, I’m at the point in my career now, where people come to see me pretty much know what they’re getting. Yeah, but, you know, earlier on, if a crowd seems to be offended by the easy stuff, I push harder. And, you know, because I realized that, like, no one, no one who’s offended by that stuff will ever like me. So I may as well crush with the few people in the room who are enjoying themselves. And if I can make 10 fans for life, you know, that’s, that’s a net positive. So if, you know, people get offended by the simple stuff, you know, I’ll just, I’ll just push harder.

Big John Isner  36:17

I love that mentality. That’s, that’s fantastic. I want to switch gears a little bit. Because comedy is now changing, right? It’s at the point where we have COVID, which now people are having to adapt to a lot of sectors that have been hurt. But one that a lot of people don’t talk about is, you know, his comedians, and how they’ve been negatively affected by this. I heard recently that you founded the nowhere comedy club. Could you tell us about that?

Steve Hofstetter  36:47

I think it was the first two months, maybe of COVID, there was literally nowhere in the world that a comedian could perform. Even in the deepest depression, you know, even if we had another Great Depression, I could stand in a park and talk and put a hat down, and probably make the same amount I would make at a club that pays me poorly, just by people throwing in a book. I never imagined that there would be a scenario where it would be illegal for people to gather. Um, what we did, you know, pretty quickly, then Gleave and I realized that you know, we have to do something, we have to replace the ability to tour.

So we created the nowhere Comedy Club, which is a full-time digital comedy club. And now the comedy venue, because we’re doing bigger shows than just club shows. You know, we did a monster show for the Wisconsin Democratic party that raised $540,000, you know, and had some of the biggest stand-ups in the world on it. And we wouldn’t have been able to do that at a theater. Because there were, you know, 15,000 tickets sold.

Big John Isner  38:19

That’s, that’s incredible. We’re, so I guess the big thing here is, how do you get people on board with something like that? You know, what was your process of getting other comedians to come on board? Is there a comedian feature?

Steve Hofstetter  38:42

We’re actually getting a ton of those requests now because all the companies that usually do holiday parties need to do something. But yeah, we had, you know, the way like, okay, Mike Birbiglia has now done, I think seven shows up and he’s got another three coming up. The way we got Mike Birbiglia was because his agent represents them, or else MRL did it. The reason that Sam Morel did it was that Todd Barry did it. The reason that Todd Barry did it was that Christian Finnegan did it. I said, Hey, this is a good thing. And that’s how it works. You know, we had a couple of early adopters. Um, you know, Christian Finnegan was real early on Josh Wolf, Ida Rodriguez.

These are just people who we work with enough and we know enough and they go all right. See, right, Ben, we believe in you, and let’s roll the dice. And then once they have a good experience, it’s pretty easy for them to tell somebody else.

Big John Isner  39:50

I always, this is a question I didn’t plan to ask. But now I’m curious. Comedians are supposedly a close-knit group. Because you all travel, kind of the same circuits and get to know each other here and there. Is that is that a true type of premise? Or is it totally off base?

Steve Hofstetter  40:11

Yes and no. It’s a small world. You know, you’re in it long enough. And pretty much everybody has met each other at some point. But, you know, it just depends on who your circle is. I’m giving an example. I hosted the first show that Birbiglia did. And I hadn’t spoken to him in 10 years. He had done my radio show, and I wasn’t serious, actually might have been more than 10 years. But, you know, I was hosting the show. And immediately I go into soundcheck, and he’s like, Oh, hey, Steve, how are you? How have you been? Man? We started talking about when we used to do colleges, because that’s part of, you know, where we were in our careers. And so he’s not a close friend.

I couldn’t just call them up. You know, as I could with Josh or Christian or someone I know better. But, you know, it’s a small enough world, but it’s a fist and how are you gonna think? And you don’t get along with everybody? You know, there are some people who I was on a show with them, I would politely say hello, and keep walking. But you know, there’s an I think that’s true with any industry.

Big John Isner  41:26

Yeah, done.

Steve Hofstetter  41:27

I will say that. about it being close-knit. You messed with one of us. You’ve messed with all of us. There is a very protective aspect of it. And you know, the best example I could, I could give them that was during the Aurora shooting. One of the people who was shot and who was in a coma was an open mic comic from Denver. Most of us had never met him never heard his name. A couple of Denver comics were like, Oh, yeah, I think I know that guy. But we all did fundraisers for him and his family. Wow. Because you mess with one of us. You’ve messed with all of us. And to us, that was a very like, could have been me. Let’s help them out. And we did.

Big John Isner  42:20

That’s, that’s incredible. I always say that you know, comedians are some of the best people in the world. Because obviously, they can stand up, they can make you laugh, they can make you feel good. But if you piss them off, there’s a reason why they’re the ones that host like roasts and stuff like that like they’re, they can go either way make you feel good or make you feel bad like comedians have that range. And it’s one of those things that I’ve always kind of really enjoyed seeing the difference of obviously, I would like the feel-good, feel-good moments more, but, but, you know, everybody likes to get rest here and there.

Steve Hofstetter  42:54

There was a concept I had with a buddy of mine in college, where I refer to myself as her asshole guy, friend. And the idea was that, like, you know, we were platonic friends. And if there was a guy who she was thinking of dating, he kind of had to get by me. You know, like, the idea was that everybody should have an apple guy, friend, the guy who can be an asshole when you need him. And, you know, obviously, uh, you know, doesn’t matter if I was a dude or not, but the idea of someone who could use their powers for good or evil is I think, you know, we all need that in our life.

Big John Isner  43:40

Yeah, definitely speaking of, of good and evil, you’ve now amassed 641,000 subscribers on YouTube mostly, I’m assuming you know the whole hinting that good and evil. I’m assuming that comes a lot from the heckling videos.

Steve Hofstetter  44:02

Yes. Yeah, the success secret optimist was a very successful comedy special, and some of the clips from it you know that clip about the clip with the dog story in Japan, you know that that bumped me up probably about 50,000 but a lot of you know, almost all of my most popular clips

Big John Isner  44:26

Yeah, that dog story is hilarious by the way. Is his heckling that common or do you think people are now kind of targeting you because of these videos? Because it’s you know, you don’t hear you hear comedians talk about heckling, but you don’t hear it as much as maybe you talk about it.

Steve Hofstetter  44:46

Um, I actually don’t think that’s an either-or. Okay. I do know that I’m not being targeted. Only one person has come to a show trying to get on my YouTube.

Like, that’s not how it works well. Um, but also, I don’t get heckled along, I gotta go more than the average comment, because I’m doing political material, not always in places where they were cool with it. Um, I do 300 shows a year, an hour at a time I film everything. And also, I don’t let it go. As a couple of my clips start with me saying what you just say? Because, you know, I don’t let people get away with it. You know, I think the problems don’t solve themselves.

All the time I get people to say I shouldn’t use the word at all, especially with our method say, often, I get people saying, you only do heckler clips. I’m like, Okay, I have 200 record books. That seems like a lot until you realize that I have over 1500 clips. Right? Not only that, but I’ve done over 4000 shows is one out of every 20 shows a lot.

Because to me, no, that’s not a lot. It No. Yeah, and then you know, you have to do the math of it. You have to know the whole equation to be able to do the math. But, you know, I’ve seen comedians do or comedians, I’ve seen aspiring open mic comics, say some of the effects of like, Oh, you know, no comment gets heckled this much, you know, must be fake. And I’m like, okay, I do 300 hours of live standup a year, you do five minutes, 10 times a year, in the middle of a show.

With not much audience, you just have to add up the numbers you go, the more people who attend the show, the longer you’re on stage, the later you are on the show, the more times you go up. And n equals it sometimes someone’s gonna be drunk.

Big John Isner  47:06

Yeah, some people take that the, you know, the drink minimum a little too far. And then they want to be part of the show. Yeah, so I understand. And that’s interesting to hear, too, because I think, like I said, a lot of people like, obviously, you’re, you’re massive on like, Facebook videos, that’s where I see a ton of your stuff. And I think that that’s where people might get that perception of the, you post a lot of heckler videos. But now, when you talk about the breakdown of how many shows you do, versus how many, you know, how many hours are put into this, it then makes sense, especially with the controversial topics that you, you know, you tend to cover. So, you know, that does

Steve Hofstetter  47:50

the algorithm, you know, you see, if you watch two or three heckler videos, the only thing you’re going to be recommended for me after that is true. That’s how the algorithm works. And so, you know, like, if I ever see a comment of, Oh, you don’t have any stand up online, I laugh about it, because I’m like, I have one of the most successful specials on YouTube. With mil, you know, over a million views. And clips from it have over 50 million views. If they just never bothered to look, they just relied on a robot to tell them what they liked. And that’s why that’s all they see.

Big John Isner  48:33

You. you currently have seven specials, is that right? Or at least seven, seven CDs. I don’t know how you would say it.

Steve Hofstetter  48:42

yeah, I don’t think I don’t think all of them are. Okay.

Big John Isner  48:50

Okay, so seven albums. All right. So So obviously, it based off just having seven albums that should show people how much how much comedy you, you know, you actually do on stage verse in how successful you’ve now become so I mean, for them to say that’s just stupid.

Steve Hofstetter  49:09

You know, I learned I learned a long time ago that you cannot take someone else’s struggles personally. Yeah, and if someone is struggling enough in their life, that they need to send something hateful, or they need to lash out. That’s not on you that’s on them. You know, and if it wasn’t you, if it wasn’t you, they would have had road rage and if it wasn’t road rage, nobody yelled a clerk and you know, you can’t be you’re not responsible for someone else’s struggle.

Big John Isner  49:39

Then that totally makes sense. The big thing and I think this was like the most this might have been the biggest thing that kind of made me angry in your special not at you but at the controversial topic which I never even thought I would ever talk about this with you but You talk about now that you’re a dog guy, right? And I know in the bit you say yes, it’s thanks to an attractive girl who you went out with, and, and so much so, you know, you’re this big of a dog guy that you’ve actually conceived pups over people. Because that is that something that you’re still doing, I noticed that on Instagram, you had kind of touted it a little bit and, and I think it’s a really cool concept.

Steve Hofstetter  50:29

Yeah, it’s something that you know, it’s something that we’re growing slowly. So for a moment, I thought you were saying that I can keep up. I’m like, No, no, no, no. No, I

Big John Isner  50:40

just I didn’t see that on Reddit yet.

Steve Hofstetter  50:42

So I’ll well yeah, I, I created a brand called pups over people, which is, you know, it helps raise money for dog rescue. But it basically is a line of fun. Shirts, posters, blankets, whatever, that have pro-dog saying, like, you know, and just that poke fun at problems that humans have, like, a dog would never leave you on red, really rude thing to do to somebody. But a dog would never do that. But dogs rapidly respond. And so you know, the concept behind the brand is that you know, dogs are better than we are in many, many ways.

Big John Isner  51:32

I’m full of you have to rescue dogs myself. I know Chuck has a rescue dog. It’s, we were very big on that. And I know, I just realized my lead-in was super shitty there to the point where it made it sound like I was mad that you can see this. But I guess the controversial topic I’m talking about is actually you talked about your dog Walter, who I believe passed away, which I was really sad to hear is that right? Yeah.

Steve Hofstetter  51:58

And he knows that he passed last year.

Big John Isner  52:01

Was he 19? Is that how old he was.

Steve Hofstetter  52:04

Now he was 15. Yeah, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which, you know, people are unfamiliar with. It’s like a British version of a pitbull.

Big John Isner  52:15

Right. And that kind of leads into where I’m going. And I didn’t know that this was a thing. But you talked about how Walter would sometimes come with you to shows, but you had to be really careful about where he could travel, because of this kind of bullshit regulations against pit bulls. Is that right?

Steve Hofstetter  52:33

Denver actually just overturned theirs this year. Denver was a pretty progressive place, had it in place for a very long time. And there was actually a real thing that happened, where a service dog, there was a pet that was trained as a service dog for a disabled veteran. And they went and took him away from his owner because they said he would have been dangerous. There was also in it took me a long time to be willing to perform in Belfast because Belfast is one of the worst ones in the world, where there was actually a story where there was a pinball that was owned by a family there. It passed every temperament test. Not only did the government confiscated but it was also like a television famous dog advocate.

The government said no, and they still killed it. And the idea that and when you hear that you go, Okay, that’s not them being worried for their citizens. They see. That’s them actively wanting to kill these out. Yep. And it’s disgusting. And I actually smuggled. I smuggled Walter into Ontario because Ontario has a pretty strict ban. And even though Walter like most people wouldn’t think he was a pit. I flew them all the time. Even though most airlines have banned pit. I flew them all the time because I just lied and said he was a boxer mix.

But I smuggled him into, into Ontario. And when we were performing in Ottawa, we stayed in a hotel over the border into Quebec. We stayed out No because I didn’t want to risk because in Ontario, they have it’s not common, but they have confiscated and killed off. And that’s so disgusting.

Big John Isner  54:44

Yeah. And I noticed too, I mean, this is something in your, at least in your special that you can tell. I know that you talk about, you know, topics that obviously you care about this, to me was the one that resonated with Where I thought, okay, Steve really gives a shit about this like, and that’s kind of hard to tell. And comedian sometimes I like when comedians do that where I can be like, Okay, what he’s saying is he’s telling a joke, but like, this is serious shit. So I will Yeah, I had to, I have to commend you on that because obviously, I have to rescue dogs there.

Luckily, you know, to corgis and no one’s trying to put them down. But the fact is, dogs shouldn’t have to go through this. an owner shouldn’t have to go through this. So I’m really glad that you’re special brings that up because I knew about these regulations. But I didn’t know that that was the stuff that was happening.

Steve Hofstetter  55:38

Well, I appreciate that there’s actually a line. There was more of a joke that ended up not in the specials because there was only so much time. But there’s another part where I talked about everything that was Michael Vick. And there’s a line where I say, the most amazing thing about that story is I think here’s how great Pitbulls are. Every animal in that story was rehabilitated except for one. There was only one that we couldn’t rehabilitate. And he played quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Big John Isner  56:15

That’s incredible. I know, I know, in the special you call out. You call it Mike Vick and Ben Roethlisberger Ben Ross for hours for another reason. But I did notice that and I wish that joke would have been would have made it because I think that that’s pretty. I don’t know about

Steve Hofstetter  56:33

Yeah, there’s a little bit more of it that I don’t think I told the story in the special there was a bit I used to do about talking about there. You know, most of the time, we just read the headlines, and there was a kid who, you know, it said like that a pitbull, you know, bit a kid. But the actual story was that the kid was hitting the dog in the face for an hour before it hit him. And my take on that. Is that, you know, a hero bites terrorists. Yeah, like, you know, the fact that that dog showed her strength for 59 minutes. You know that as a joke when you know, I had a baby kitten three.

Big John Isner  57:19

I think that’s a good take on it. I mean, who’s gonna? Who’s gonna sit there and let somebody would you let you know, would you let another person hits you in the face for 59 minutes? Probably not.

So the fact is, you know, and we have a lot of listeners. The reason I wanted to bring this up is a lot of our listeners, although this is like, obviously, we talked about Appalachia here and things like that. And we’re kind of giving people a break. I don’t know if you know this, there’s a book. It’s called hillbilly elegy. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard about it. But it’s this book, that’s not okay. Well, it’s now being made into a movie. And the day that this comes out, it will be our counter-programming to that, essentially. So we wanted to give people a break from that.

But the, you know, the big reason I brought this topic up is that a lot of our listeners, you know, care a lot about animals, or a lot of them are animal activists. And so to hear a comedian, especially a successful one, willing to put this not only in there, you know, in, in just a bit here and there, but in their special is really important. And I think it gives a voice to where people may not have been listening before.

Steve Hofstetter  58:33

Well, I appreciate that. And you know, one of the things I always liked about the bed was how many people heard me explain what the laws do. And gas. Yeah, no, I like that. I was reaching people who didn’t know about it. And actually, this conversation reminds me, I don’t think I’ve ever released that full bit. I got I’ll go, I’m gonna go back. And you know, and find it. And, you know, on one of the warm-up shows where I did the bit, and I’ll go release that because I think that entire venue should be out there.

Big John Isner  59:05

It definitely should 100% it, it should be out there and people should more people should learn about this because I randomly do see, those laws continue to come up.

And I think it would be like I said, you know, really good. It’s a really nice counter to those bullshit laws. So I really, I really do enjoy that. And I think it’s, like I said, obviously, there are not always people who go to comedy shows who maybe read up on different things, you know, different laws, but when you could talk about it, Chuck and I both have law degrees.

So hearing somebody actually get up and tell jokes that are meant to be funny and not just Rudy Giuliani, you know, Giuliani babbling on and on about laws he doesn’t understand. It’s, it’s nice to hear. So we definitely appreciate that. I know that a lot of rambled on for 47 minutes. But I do appreciate you doing the interview with Steve was Ken, if our listeners, maybe they’ve never heard of you, which I would be shocked if they hadn’t. But if let’s say one, one, and 100 haven’t, where can they learn more about you?

Steve Hofstetter  1:00:18

They can learn more about me on any social media, they choose at the office better. You know, whatever, whatever you’re addicted to online. So I’ll say hi.

Big John Isner  1:00:29

And I know you, I noticed you haven’t been to West Virginia in about five years. But I’m hoping after COVID that can be changed, or at least you can come back to Athens, I saw that you went there in 2016. So maybe, maybe you stopped by there. But like I said, my wife and I are planning to see you in Columbus in 2021. We can’t wait. And I can’t thank you enough for doing this.

Steve Hofstetter  1:00:52

I appreciate that. And I’ll close with a little bit of a West Virginia story. Sure. So, um, so Walter, before he passed, had been to 47 of you know, of the 48 lower United States. West Virginia was the one he hadn’t been to so when I knew it was the end, I was in South Florida. And I knew that he was sick and that he couldn’t really make it anymore. So I decided to do was give him one last road trip, because he loved the road. He loved coming with me, so we drove to West Virginia and that is where he lives now. He is in a field in West Virginia.

Big John Isner  1:01:42

That’s incredible. I did not know that. That’s incredible. Well, we are honored to have Walter here. We, you know, we’re obviously a podcast that focuses on Appalachia. But Chuck and I are both from West Virginia, originally. So that is that’s awesome. It’s you know, we’re like I said, we’re honored to have Walter here. And thank you for finishing on that note. That’s that was, you know, that’s an incredible story.

Steve Hofstetter  1:02:14

Well, thank you. And I appreciate that that meal.

Big John Isner  1:02:18

Yeah, thank you. We really appreciate it.

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