Today’s Local to Know moved here and bought a church with the explicit goal of creating a comedy incubator. His base of operations — the Steel City Arts Foundation, or Steel City AF — is a repurposed church in Stanton Heights. Meet Steve Hofstetter, comedian, arts leader, good neighbor and general mensch. Take it away, Steve!
Hi, Steve! Tell us how you ended up in Pittsburgh.
I’d been looking for a place to create a foundation like this for years. The pandemic motivated me to stop wasting time and finally get it started. I found the building first, and I’d toured in Pittsburgh a ton and always thought it was an underrated city. The more research I did, the more I liked it. It’s a wonderful place to be based as a stand-up. Affordable, close to other markets, and easy to traverse.
Stanton Heights isn’t known as a cultural hotbed, yet we’ve now had shows and a movie shoot at Steel City AF. What is your long-term vision for the space?
Well, the shows we’ve produced have been in Lawrenceville. We can’t hold live events at the building until we get our zoning [approved by the city]. The long-term vision is still centered around providing mentorship, equipment, and a creative space for comedians. We also hope to hold regular classes and occasional events. Steel City AF isn’t just a building — we are producing and mentoring all over Pittsburgh and beyond.
What are some of the adjustments you had to make moving here?
I had to learn about parking chairs and get used to sometimes having to miss my exit because it’s four lanes over during rush hour.
Is there something you think Pittsburgh does better (or worse) than anywhere else?
The views — why doesn’t everyone know about the views? Half this city is rivers and bridges and mountains, and yet most people who have never been to Pittsburgh have no idea just how physically gorgeous it is here.
What are some of your favorite food/drink/entertainment spots in the ’Burgh?
There’s a small place called Thai Table that my girlfriend and I are obsessed with. The food is fantastic and the staff couldn’t be nicer. I also LOVE the Clemente Museum. I’m a baseball guy, and it’s just so well done. And Vue 412 is our favorite upscale restaurant. The food is wonderful, but again, what a view.
It looks like you’re going to be on the road quite a bit this year — what’s your next Pittsburgh appearance, and where can our readers find you online in the meantime?
I have a Valentine’s Day show at Hop Farm in Lawrenceville, and I’m also headlining at the Rose in White Oak on April 22. I also just released a new full-length comedy special on my YouTube called “The Recipe” — if people want to get to know my comedy, watching that is the best way.
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