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Love means never having to say you're funny
Comedian, writer and sports humorist adds 'married man' to his resume
Steve Hofstetter and the Mrs., Sara Tenenbein. (Photo: Adam Tiexiera)

Comedian Steve Hofstetter has been to Savannah before – it was just about a year ago, and he had a killer set at the Wormhole, the very same club he’ll be appearing at this weekend.

This time, however, there’ll be something different about Hofstetter. Not a warm, fuzzy glow, exactly – he’s much too quick–witted and acerbic – but the contented sense of a man who’s very much in love.

Hofstetter married Sara Tenenbein just a month ago, in Manhattan.

The 31–year–old comic, writer and sports humorist met Sara in June, 2009 through the online dating service JDate. He popped the question just 51 days after they met.

“It’s a scary thought,” he says in his act, “that you’ve known your condiments in your refrigerator longer than your fiance.”

Smitten, Sara said yes, of course. And here we are.

Congratulations on your marriage. Bit of a whirlwind, huh?

Steve Hofstetter: It was one of these things where I knew right away. The night of our first date, I came home and told my roommate, “I just met my wife.” Turns out I was right – which is good, because I’m wrong about a lot of things.

You got engaged 51 days after you met – on those dating services, don’t you have to go through a lot of the wrong people before you get to the right one?

Steve Hofstetter: I spent 30 years going through the wrong people. It was very quick, but it was 51 days of being inseparable. A lot of people are like “Well, we dated off and on for seven years, where we maybe saw each other a total of 51 days.” I mean, you’re not nearly as close ... even when I was on the road, we would just talk constantly. I joked with her when we first started talking, that our productivity was being destroyed. Because all day at work, she was IM’ing me, and I wouldn’t write any more because I was IM’ing her. And we finally went “OK, we gotta maybe do some work.”

I joke around with her about those dating sites: “When you go to a sale, there’s usually a lot of crap left because all the good stuff was picked through already. But every now and then, they put something new on the floor.” And I joke that that’s what happened – there’s a lot of crap on every site, and if you happen to get on there as something new was just put out on the showroom floor, then you might luck out.

Wow, that’s romantic!

Steve Hofstetter: Well, it is. It’s saying that she was the best. So it’s romantic in a very practical way.

Was it nerve–wracking the first time she saw your act?

Steve Hofstetter: It was incredibly nerve–wracking, and it was on our first date! Which I didn’t want it to be ... we had a date before I was supposed to go onstage, and it was going so well that I was just “Hey, I gotta stop by work, and run in for 15 minutes.” But I didn’t want her to see me onstage, because I didn’t want her to have a false opinion of me.

Or, if she was attracted to me because I was onstage, that would be bad. If she was unattracted to me because I was onstage, that would also be bad.

Luckily, she really doesn’t care about comedy. People ask her, are you a comedy fan, and she says “No, I’m not a comedy fan at all. I’m a fan of Steve’s.” She’s said that many times, and I think it’s awesome.

You made an album, Steve Hofstetter’s Day Off, that was entirely ad–libbed onstage. Tell me why.

Steve Hofstetter: It wasn’t intended to be an album. I was just intending to go up and have a good time, and it came out great. OK, I guess we can make an album.

The ad-lib show is something I do every so often. It’s a tradition from my Sunday-night shows; I started it because Sunday night shows, at every club, are dead. So it was “Here’s an interesting thing you can come to.” It was a way to make a difference. And people that came to my Thursday or Friday shows started coming back on Sundays.

What’s a nightmare scenario for a club comic? You’ve got a nasty headache? Hecklers?

Steve Hofstetter: Hecklers I could deal with. If I’m not funny, that’s my fault. The nightmare scenario, I think, is being unappreciated – I don’t mean by the crowd, I mean by the club staff. That ruins the show.

When you walk into a club and they say “Hey, welcome, what can we do for you?” it’s not about feeling like you’re a superstar. It’s about feeling like you’re family. And that’s pretty important.

There’s nothing worse than walking into a club and having an owner say “Don’t say this, don’t say that, don’t say this... you have exactly 45 minutes, if you do more, you’re gonna get docked,” all that stuff. Then you’re onstage nervous the whole time.

Does your wife ever come on the road with you?

Steve Hofstetter: She comes on the road a lot; it’s just that she has a Big Girl job. She’s the director of development for a Broadway company. She can’t just leave. But, when it’s a weekend, or when I’m away for more than a week, she’ll come in for the weekend or something like that.

I’m going to Tahoe in March. That one, she’s coming with me.

Steve Hofstetter

Where: Wormhole Bar, 2307 Bull St.

When: At 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29

Opening: Mike Kaiser (comedy), Clouds and Satellites (music)

Tickets: $10