An interview with comedian Steve Hofstetter
Comedian Steve Hofstetter was scared of dogs until he married a shelter volunteer. A few weeks ago, Steve and his wife Sara adopted an adorable 6-year-old rescue beagle/dachshund mix (named Bea Arthur), and now he is encouraging others to do the same. He also has been blogging about his dog at http://adoptingbeaarthur.blogspot.com/
The Thinking Man’s Comic.”
-The Queens Tribune
Author, columnist, and comedian Steve Hofstetter is often called the hardest working man in show-business. With all due respect to the late James Brown. Hofstetter has been on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and E! True Hollywood Story, Comics Unleashed, Comedy All-Stars, Quite Frankly, White Boyz in the Hood, Countdown, and more. His new album reached number 1 on iTunes’ comedy charts, and he is currently developing two television shows.
Having appeared on networks from Boston to Miami to Denver, his local television appearances are too numerous to count, especially if you’re using your fingers. Hofstetter has written humor columns for the New York Times, SportsIllustrated.com, and NHL.com, where he publicly admitted to being a Ranger fan.
I’ve written three books and released five comedy albums. Also, I’ve slept a lot.
Here’s his website if you’d like to know more:
born/raised in NYC?
Yup. Queens represent! Okay, so I’m not gangster enough to say that, but yes, I’m from Queens.
I went to Columbia. I’ve also been to other schools, but the only one I took classes at was Columbia.
Do you perform in comedy clubs?
Sure. I do 300 live dates a year. 100 or so are colleges, the rest are a mix of clubs, corporate, TV, and private shows.
what do you want to be when you grow up?
I was hoping 31 was grown up enough. Since I’m already living my dream as a comedian, I guess the answer to that question is “alive.”
why did you not like dogs?
When I was a kid, I was chased and almost bit. Then I was chased and knocked over. I didn’t understand dogs. I preferred animals you can reason with. Turns out you can reason with dogs, you just have to learn how to communicate with them.
did you like cats or other animals (birds, fish)? in other words, did you have any pets growing up?
I had fish for the few days that fish live. We buried them in our yard in a coffin we made of popsicle sticks. We sold our house to a religious group that converted it into a mission. I bet they have no idea about our mini pet cemetery.
where did you grow up NYC? (note: I grew up in Bayside, Queens)
Small world. I’m from Briarwood.
how did Sara win you over to getting a dog as a pet? was the process slow or did you have a meltdown (of your heart)?
Sara told me how much she loved dogs on our first date, and she says I glossed over it. It was one of those things where I thought, “okay, well, I like you anyway.” But she really won me over with education. She taught me that problem dogs are due to problem owners. When I learned that all but one of the Vick dogs were rehabilitated, that was enough to really teach me that it’s about training and love, not about being afraid of animals.
did you visit a shelter and fall in love with Bea Arthur? or was Bea a happy accident, in other words, did you consciously intend and go out to get a dog or did Bea pick you? How did you attain her?
We were looking for a dog, and Sara found her online. She always looked at dogs online in the way I look at real estate I can’t afford. It was just a dream. So once we started looking for real, she had a few ideas. Bea was actually a second choice. the first one got adopted before we met her, but the rescue (Stray From the Heart) suggested Bea. I think it was fate, as she’s the perfect fit.
did you have an idea about the breed of dog or size you wanted ?
Yup. Sara and I are pitbull advocates (again, through education). So we wanted one but NYC apartments have a lot of unfair breed restrictions. Also, we thought a small dog might be a better fit for a one bedroom apartment. So when Bea came along, it made sense.
do you find it a big adjustment, being a dog owner or easier than you thought it would be?
I told Sara from the get go that I would fall in love with our dog, and I have. It’s an adjustment, but so is life. I’ve had days where I was running late to a meeting and still had to walk her, and days where I wish I’d gotten more sleep. But when she nuzzles my leg or does something we taught her, it makes it all worthwhile.
what are some of the biggest challenges of having a dog? what are the best rewards?
The lack of sleep is tough. She’ll wake us up at least once a night. My favorite reward is when she exhibits any human characteristics. A crawl, giving me a paw that stuff always makes me laugh.
what are Bea’s favorite things (toys, foods, places)?
She LOVES baloney and hot dogs. We use them as special treats to crate train her. She’s not a dog that loves toys. she doesn’t fetch, and she doesn’t chew anything other than her bones (which she also loves). Though she is into her kong but only because it contains baloney. We got her a squirrel toy that I insist is named Henry (despite Sara’s objections), and Bea’s bit it twice so far, so that’s a start.
did you pick her name or did she come with it? If you picked her name, why do you call her Bea Arthur?
We wanted to name her after something comedy related, but all my favorite legends of comedy are men. Carlin, Hicks, Bruce, etc. But my wife and I love the Golden Girls (Bea Arthur especially) so she suggested that and it made sense immediately. Her full name is Beagle Arthur, of course.
besides being chick magnets for single guys. what other reasons can you give people to rescue adorable dogs?
They just make you happy. It’s hard to describe the change she’s made in me, but the overwhelming feeling (aside from love) is that I am a more complete person. Bea gives me a depth that I never had before, partly because my life is a lot less selfish than it used to be, now that I am responsible for another living thing.
do you have any favorite places in NYC to take Bea?
Not yet, she’s still learning. Though she really enjoys pooping at the construction site down the block from our apartment. Maybe it’s because they used to wake us up early, and now that’s Bea’s job. In a way, she’s marking.
I think that covers it. Other than me missing my dog terribly when I’m on the road. Maybe I have separation anxiety, too.
Note from editor:
Adopt don’t shop. Five million dogs a year are killed at shelters across the USA every year. One in 600 pit bulls in shelters finds a good home. There are purebred pets at the local pound, rescues, online at petfinder.com and Facebook. There is no need to feed puppy mill breeders. If you buy a pet at a store, the pet has come from a puppy mill, more than likely, and it will be sickly and have problems. Spay and neuter your pets to not add to the overpopulation problem. And for goodness sakes, if you have difficulty feeding your pet at some point, get help and food from Pets of the Homeless, your local shelter may give out free food, there are pet food banks all over the country and if not, start one. There is NO GOOD REASON/EXCUSE to starve, abandon, abuse or neglect your pets. If you get assistance for yourself, you can get assistance for your pets, too. There are free and low cost spay/neuter places and even resources if you need help with medical costs for your pet. If you need a trainer, perhaps you can barter with them. You can also foster a pet if you have room in your home and heart. Bottom line, a pet is a LIVE BEING depending on YOU for their survival. Make a commitment and stick to it. Your pet will thank you every day.
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