August 10, 2006
Whither Jewish Comedy?
Israeli army soldiers move to evict Jewish settlers from their homes in "5 Days."
What place does Jewish comedy have in a "Git-r-done" world? Steve Hofstetter hopes it will once again be comedy's saving grace.
"There's got to be a backlash against the whole blue-collar thing," Hofstetter said. "We're on our way to an intellectual renaissance in comedy, because we need it."
Hofstetter said the growing popularity of "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" is the pendulum swinging the other way after the Larry the Cable Guy phenomenon, much the same way "The Man Show" sprouted up following the launch of the Oxygen and We networks. And he believes Jews will be at the center of the revolution.
The 26-year-old in-your-face comedian and sports columnist is leading the charge on Aug. 17, as he hosts "The King Davids of Comedy" at the Hollywood Improv, with a portion of the proceeds going to Magen David Adom. The show will feature the stand-up of Marc Maron, Dan Rosenberg, Wayne Federman, Jordan Rubin and Jeffrey Ross.
Hofstetter and Rosenberg are the driving force behind "King Davids," which borrows its name from a MySpace page that honors Jewish stand-up comedians. At 6-foot-4 with a pale complexion and red hair, Hofstetter looks more Irish than Jewish, calling himself a "MacJew" in his stand-up.
"I get to be the exotic one [in shul]," he said, adding that during an L.A. Schmoozapalooza he and a muscle-bound, blond-haired comedian friend were the talk of the event. "People were wondering if we were actually Jewish."
He said his routines are from a Jewish perspective without being too Jewy. "I'm not a fan of comedy that is all about being one thing," he said. "My comedy is about living in the world we live in today, and I happen to come from the background I come from."
A favorite on college campuses and at synagogue or Hillel fundraisers, Hofstetter said Israel's war with Hezbollah in Lebanon will not be a sacred cow during the show.
"Some people might be too sensitive about it, and some people won't, but the cool thing about the 'King Davids of Comedy' show is that I know it's going to be a friendly crowd. It'll give me a stage to develop the material that I can then do to people who don't support it, because I never want to preach to the choir," he said.