Comedian boasts 50,000 facebook friends

by Jeremy Massler | 1/28/05 6:00am

There is something unsettling about thefacebook.com's premise -- about the process of inviting a person and listing him or her as your "official friend."

It was only a matter of time before somebody took thefacebook to its extreme.

Steve Hofstetter is a stand-up comedian, an alumni of Columbia University and head writer for Collegehumor.com. He is also the reigning champion of thefacebook.

Last month, Hofstetter started a quest to make 10,000 online friends via thefacebook.

He quickly passed that goal, and is moving towards a new number: 100,000. As of press-time, the number stands at 52,151, including 201 students from Dartmouth.

So is this all an attack on thefacebook itself?

"I'm not trying to portray the site as pointless. It's an incredible social network," Hofstetter said. "Still, we're creating this set definition of who's your friend and who's not. In real life, you make friends in the weirdest way -- say, sitting next to someone at a ballgame. You never know if you're really friends with someone."

Not everyone is impressed with Hofstetter's ambition, however.

"Some people have gotten mad, saying I'm abusing thefacebook by adding these 'friends,' or that I'm ruining its purity. It's kinda fun," Hofstetter said.

"You get to meet everyone on the list: from marijuana legalizers to a 19-year-old kid impersonating Jesus. And, of course, it's good publicity."

Hofstetter has been referred to as "the thinking man's comic." It's a title that he very much appreciates.

"Stupid people will not find me funny," Hofstetter said. "I try to write about stuff that matters -- politics, religion, racism, whatever's going on in the world."

Being a recent college graduate, a lot of the material also tends towards the modern: technology and IMing are popular topics.

"Young people definitely get me more," Hofstetter said.

No wonder. It's doubtful whether many people over 25 have ever heard of thefacebook.

For now, the future is packed: Traveling the country, visiting campuses and -- most importantly -- paying off his student loans.

"There are some days when I hate what I'm doing -- if I have a bad show, or I get cancelled, those days are terrible," Hofstetter said. "But when I take a step back and see what I'm actually doing for a living, then I love it."

Hofstetter will perform at Sigma Nu fraternity this Friday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. The event is co-sponsored by Sigma Nu and Delta Delta Delta sorority, and proceeds will go to the Lymphoma/Cancer Society and the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program.

The comedian said he was attracted by the charitable nature of the event.

"College kids usually get a bum rap. The world sees us as mini-people, or almost-people. And here're these kids, getting together and raising money for a cancer foundation, for this great cause," Hofstetter said. "So if you can't make the show, I hope you donate anyway."

Hofstetter has penned two books, his latest entitled "Student Body Shots: Another Round," and hosts "Four Quotas," a regular radio show on the Sirius Satellite network that airs on Saturday nights.