Steve Hofstetter

Cure for the Cable Guy

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With his short-cropped red hair, intellectual-looking glasses, penchant for 25-cent words, and "thinking man's comic" tag, it might be stretching things a bit to call Columbia University grad Steve Hofstetter a punk rock comedian. Then again, the original punk movement was always about flipping off the establishment. And in the simple act of naming his debut CD Cure for the Cable Guy, then choosing a cover photo that depicts a doll dressed like Larry the Cable Guy being hanged in effigy, Hofstetter effectively rebels against the mainstream by positioning himself as the antithesis of the world's most popular comedian. What could be more punk rock than that? Of course, 60 minutes of attacking the "Git-R-Done!" crowd would grow tiresome at best, and Hofstetter is no dummy. Though he works in the expected jabs at the supposedly blue-collar comic who charges his fans $50 a ticket, the album also offers up intelligent jokes about racism, politics, the FCC, patriotism, religion, obesity, and more in a thought-provoking style that pulls no punches as it skewers myriad sacred cows in an effort to get to the sociopolitical truths that fans of his comedic nemesis seem all too eager to ignore. Ultimately, the Jewish comedian (who jokes about looking Irish and having a black adopted sister) comes across like a younger, edgier Jerry Seinfeld if he'd been influenced by the topical humor of the late Bill Hicks. Blending insightful observation with a decidedly un-p.c. dose of irreverence, Hofstetter proves you don't have to be a public enemy to fight the power. He's not the Antichrist, as he says some of his hate mail has suggested, but he is definitely the anti-Larry.

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