In addition to his actual jokes, stand-up comedian Steve Hofstetter has made quite the name for himself in recent years by confronting hecklers, bad customers and other disruptive people who can turn an otherwise fun night of comedy into a real pain for those just trying to have a good time.
But this time Hofstetter got an unexpected assist from his audience when confronting a disruptive couple that not only repeatedly interrupted the show but also walked out of the club without paying their bill.
Fellow comedian Danny Jolles was opening for Hofstetter, when some of the unnamed couple’s antics were first caught on camera. Noting Hofstetter’s reputation for taking down hecklers, Joles tried to warn the couple to tone it down.
But they were back into full on obnoxious mode by the time Hofstetter took the stage. Still, he knew it wouldn’t be effective to just lay into them immediately.
“I couldn’t go right in on these guys, I had to win the crowd first,” he said. “That was the psychology of it.”
After working through a bit, Hofstetter finally acknowledges both the couple and his fans, who are obviously eager to see the hecklers taken down a peg.
“Some of you guys just fu**ing foamed at the mouth waiting to see me pounce,” he said. “That is what’s called the warning shot.”
At that point, the couple quiets down then quickly exits. Other than maybe a few jokes at their expense, that would normally be the end of it. Hofstetter even took a moment to explain to the crowd why he draws a line with hecklers.
“Talking over and over during your show is like if you’re trying to play tennis and someone keeps tapping your arm,” he said.
But then Hofstetter decides to ask if the couple at least paid their tab before suddenly leaving. They didn’t.
“To walk out on a check is the lowest form of human,” Jolles says.
After it’s confirmed the hecklers left a $50 tab, Hofstetter says he’ll pick it up. But a fan in the audience named Brandon quickly shouted out that he would cover the bill.
“My clips so rarely have a hero,” jokes, promising Brandon that he’ll get a wave of recognition online.
To add to the goodwill, Hofstetter then asked those in attendance to leave an extra dollar with their own bills so that the wait staff could take home a little extra cash in tips to make up for the couple that stiffed them.
“It was one of the best nights they’ve had in a long time,” he told GOOD over email, adding that it turns out the generous patron Brandon is himself a former bartender and cancer survivor.
“Talk about a feel-good ending to a shitty story.”