Steve Hofstetter comes right out and says what he feels. He sees himself as more social critic than comedian — but please keep buying tickets to see his act, which will be at the Hard Rock Café on Sunday.
"I do not hold back," Hofstetter told Metro. "I research my stances enough to know that my facts are 100-percent accurate and my opinions are reasonable. And if anybody gets offended by anything, it's their fault, and frankly I don't care."
Hofstetter's brand of comedy doesn't appeal to everyone. It can be offensive, insulting, even somewhat vindictive — as evidenced by his "Cure for the Cable Guy" CD/DVD that pummeled popular blue-collar comedian Larry the Cable Guy.
Some people can't handle that; others relish it. Hofstetter's fans adore him because he insists on interacting with them. On album release dates, he promises a "million free downloads" on his website. He responds frequently to Twitter messages and loves replying to fan mail, something he credits to his love of baseball.
"I wrote to [baseball player] Paul Molitor when I was growing up," he said. "I wasn't a Brewers fan, but I always liked Paul Molitor, so I sent him a baseball card. Not only did he send it back with an autograph, he sent it back in a self-addressed envelope. So once people started writing to me, I realized that it might not mean that much to you, but it means that much to them."
And while Hofstetter, a lifelong New York Mets fan, still loves sports — he writes for Sports Illustrated — he promises he'll take it easy on Philadelphia fans.
"This is the same city that had a courthouse built into the stadium, that threw snowballs at Santa Claus, that throws batteries at opposing players and your own players. Philly is bad a—. If there's a city I'm not getting to mess with, it's you guys."
That's not to say he won't mess with the audience. Sunday is Mother's Day. Heckle at your own risk.
"Hopefully, it's not a bunch of people with their mothers there, or they are going to feel very awkward."
Steve's best heckling moment
Hofstetter isn't afraid to call unruly crowd members out. While he doesn't set out to embarrass people, once someone starts jawing, all bets are off. He once told a Denny's waitress she was boring. Another time, at a show in Port Charlotte, Fla., he had to put a drunk woman who was insulting him in her place.
Hofstetter bet her $100 that she couldn't do five minutes of stand-up and get a laugh. As she trotted onto the stage he produced a hundred-dollar bill from his wallet and asked her to do the same. Unfortunately, she couldn't. She was broke.
"I told her, 'Not only are you not good enough at my job to make $100, you are not good enough at your job to make $100.' Man, I wish I had that one on tape, the crowd exploded."
If you go
Sunday, 8 p.m. (sold out); 10 p.m. (few tickets left)
Hard Rock Café
Market Street in Center City