Boro Comedy Native Brings Devil To LIC
By Jason Banrey
Queens’ comedy scene is on the verge on shattering the perception that New York City’s tourist friendly comedy clubs can only be in Manhattan – and one borough native stands at the forefront with the hammer to make it happen.
After making his mark on the nation’s entertainment industry, Queens comic Steve Hofstetter has returned to the borough better than ever, bringing a comedy club to Long Island City.
“The Laughing Devil is going to give the residents of Queens the ability to have high quality entertainment right here in the borough without having to leave,” Hofstetter said of the new comedy club he plans to open at 47-38 Vernon Blvd. in December.
Once a derelict area riddled with only industrial factories and dark dodgy streets, the neighborhood of Western Queens has become a region to which members of the arts community are flocking. Despite the influx on artists, however, there has been a lack of a live entertainment venue, which Hofstetter hopes to change.
“Although there is a lot happening in Long Island City right now there aren’t many theaters here, only a couple of bars which sometimes have bands on,” Hofstetter said
Hofstetter’s venture promises to rival many of the Manhattan comedy clubs which primarily focus on attracting tourists for an evening of laughs. So how does Hofstetter’s business model hope to create repeat customers? With his “street cred” of course.
Being a comedian “gives me the opportunity to use my Rolodex to mostly everyone in the business,” said Hofstetter of the contacts he has developed over the years.
“With that type of ‘street cred’ it’ll let others know that this is a real comedy club.”
From authoring his slapstick look back at college life titled, “Student Body Shots: A Sarcastic Look at the Best 4-6 Years of Your Life” to writing for Maxim and ESPN Magazine, the funnyman’s resume boasts a long list of achievements.
In an effort to generate support for the club and show the community there is an interest, the Laughing Devil is circulating a petition for support.
By bringing the neighborhood a top notch comedy club, Hofstetter hopes to draw attention toward the possibilities of Long Island City.
“There is a lot more that this neighborhood could use,” he said. “Hopefully other businesses will see our success and follow suit. It’s going to bring more people into the neighborhood who don’t know just how awesome it is and help local businesses.”
With opening day just a few months away, Hofstetter said he feels only good things can come from his comedy club; and after years of being out of Queens he hopes he can give back to the borough that helped make him who he is.
“This is something I never would have expected,” Hofstetter said of having his own comedy club. “But from a selfish perspective, being a kid from Queens, it’s wonderful to be able to make good on that.”
To sign the petition, go to Laughingdevil.com.
Reach Reporter Jason Banrey at email@example.com or (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128.