Comedian Steve Hotstetter delivers an amazing stand-up act for several reasons. He is extremely talented when it comes to crafting humorous sets of jokes, but he is also highly adept at preventing hecklers from ruining his shows. He understands that his live shows aren’t just about him, but they’re more about the audience. If a single heckler tries to ruin it for everyone, he sees it as his responsibility to save the situation, and he usually does so by heckling the heckler.
In one recent situation where Hofstetter was forced to interact with a rude patron, he was on-stage in the middle of his set when he made a short offhand comment about how he doesn’t like people. The comment was merely part of a joke he was in the middle of telling that recounted a bad experience he had with a police officer. He made a quip about how he was lucky to still be alive, but he was a white male, so it was expected.
The joke continued on about how cops are an unusual bunch for several reasons. The first thing he stated was that some cops like his jokes about bad cops, while others get offended at the idea of a joke centered around a murder perpetrated by a police officer. Hofstetter made the poignant point that only bad cops should be offended by jokes that discuss bad cops. Good cops have no reason to be ashamed, and they know it’s just a joke.
About the time he finished with the joke, a man from the front row stood up. He and his group had been quite loud up until that point, and the distractions were starting to get to Hofstetter, so he politely asked the man to sit down and stop talking loudly. The man replied that he was leaving, and that since Hofstetter disrespected him, he was going to disrespect the comedian right back.
It was at this point the drunken patron went on a ridiculous tantrum through the comedy club. He stole a drink from a random customer’s table, then tried to get into a fight with the person from whom he stole the drink. He also got into an argument with one of the bouncers for the club, and he started shouting at another customer before he was finally forced outside.
As comedians tend to do when confronted with an awkward situation like that, Hofstetter tried to keep going with his set while segueing through improv jokes about the crazy, rude patron. At this point, Hofstetter told the audience about how the heckler and his group of friends had actually stopped him before the show, and the man who heckled him asked the comedian to roast his friends, which Hofstetter refused.
During his explanation, one of the friends of the man who was still seated in the front row told Hofstetter that the man was actually a police officer, and that he had been offended by Hofstetter’s earlier comments about police officers. Ironically, the cop seemed to miss the idea that taking offense probably meant he was not a good cop. It turned out that the patron the man was shouting at on the way out was also a cop, but he was apparently one of the good ones. The second cop was highly embarrassed by the first’s behavior and was trying to get him to show some respect to himself and the rest of the club.
Hofstetter finished the scene with an asterisk of his own. He said that he doesn’t think all cops are bad, and in fact he said that he thought the bad cops were the rarity. He did say that he only wished the good cops would stand up against the bad cops whenever they do something wrong or illegal.