R.I.P. Monty Hoffman (1952-2013)

Monty Hoffman, one of the funny people gathered for a roundtable pep talk about comedy with Adam Sandler’s fictional alter-ego in Judd Apatow’s Funny People, has died. Hoffman was 60.

About getting Hoffman at the table with Carol Leifer, George Wallace, Paul Reiser and Mark Schiff for a “Broadway Danny Rose” kind of scene, Apatow said in a making-of feature for his film: “That was very exciting. Especially for me and Adam, who dreamed of being like those guys.”

MontyHoffman-2013Hoffman, born Dec. 15, 1952, and raised in New York with eight siblings, had lived with diabetes in his later years and was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2002.

No word yet on a cause of death.

His stand-up credits on TV go back as early as A&E’s An Evening in the Improv in 1989 up to and through Last Comic Standing in 2004.

Here is a reel he uploaded in 2008 with bits from road gigs he was doing then.

Monty Hoffman reportedly grew up with Lou Costello as his first big idol as a child. “I loved those movies and I was always telling jokes to make my mother laugh. Sure, I can take out the garbage and mow the lawn, but I felt laughter was the one special thing of my own that I could give her,” Hoffman said in a bio written for The Laugh Factory. He also counted Lenny Bruce as an inspiration.

montyhoffman-armyHe spent two years in the Army between high school and college, and it was at San Francisco State University where he studied acting and joined an improvisational comedy group, Papaya Juice, whose members included Robin Williams.

If Williams could do stand-up, so too could Hoffman.

He performed in the 1984 San Francisco Comedy Competition, and eventually made the move to Los Angeles before landing his first big break five years later with A&E’s An Evening at the Improv. In that episode airing March 1989, Hoffman opened by joking that a kid thought he was the guy from the “Operation” board game.

Hoffman’s first onscreen role actually happened earlier, but you’re forgiven if you don’t remember him as “club bouncer” in the infamous 1986 movie, Howard The Duck. Hoffman would go on to co-star in the short-lived 1994 NBC sitcom, The Good Life, with John Caponera and Drew Carey. Before and after that, however, he had better luck with guest-starring roles, supporting episodes of Saved by the BellFamily Matters, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Drew Carey Show, Everybody Loves Raymond, among others.

Since rebounding from throat cancer, he mostly worked gigs in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the road; aside from Funny People, he also appeared in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm and the Nick Swardson movie, Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star.

Here’s an older clip of Hoffman from the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco:

Jack Herrguth, a development executive for the JASH YouTube network, wrote his remembrances on Hoffman’s Facebook wall today: “When I was growing up in the Bay Area in the ’80s I used to listen to Monty on the Alex Bennett Show. I was a huge fan. A few years ago, he and I became friends and it was a surreal experience. He liked to play the tough guy, but he was a softy at heart. I remember when my twins were born a few years ago, he came to visit them in the hospital and brought gifts. Of course, they were the wrong size, but the gift was generous just the same. Monty was also one of the funniest people I knew. One time we were at the Improv, and Chappelle was performing. Monty said “Hey, I want to introduce you to Dave”. I said that would be great, but I was working at Comedy Central at the time, and thought it might be a little awkward if Chappelle knew I worked at Comedy Central, considering all the hoopla that had happened after he left his show and split for Africa. Monty said, “Don’t worry. I won’t say anything”. So, after Chappelle’s set we walk into back room (before it was the Improv Lab) and Dave Chappelle is there sitting in a chair, and Monty walks over to him and says, “Hey, Dave. This is my friend Jack. He works at Comedy Central.” Thanks for the laughs Monty and thanks for your friendship and generosity. You will be missed.”

And from his brother, Glenn Hoffman, via Facebook today: “For all of you hecklers out there here’s MONTY HOFFMAN!!” Brother I will miss You.. I don’t do much of this social media thing but after reading all of his friends comments. I have a story I would like to share. When I was in my teens Monty would take myself and my brother Derrick to his gigs in Long Island,NYC & New Jersey “Only because we had a car and paid for the gas”. We had seen a lot of shows so we knew his material. We walked into this big place in NJ that had these two hecklers that got to the MC and the other comics. Derrick said to me “No way is Monty going to get theses guys…” Well Monty came out and these guys attacked like sharks. Monty didn’t say a word,didn’t look at them, just held his middle finger up at them til they shut up and the crowd went wild!!”

In March 2004, he told the Las Vegas Sun about coming back to stand-up comedy after his cancer treatment, and also having four years clean and sober at the time.

“I’m content with who I am and what I am right now, and I can make fun of myself … I still talk about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll — well, not the rock ‘n’ roll anymore; I think I’m more into classical. I’ve slowed down…I’m not out to change the world. When I was an addict, nobody could tell me nothing. But I know the dangers and the insanity and the real horrors of it, so if you can’t learn from me — I have the scars to show it. If I could save a kid of a life of misery, of what I had, then God can take me.”

He added later in that interview: “I’ve really had a wonderful life, when you look through all the hell. Sure, I get depressed about certain things, but I move forward everyday. You know what I think, when you get all these curves and you survive, you kind of feel better about yourself. You didn’t eat the bullet.”


Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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14 thoughts on “R.I.P. Monty Hoffman (1952-2013)

  1. I was a very good friend to Dave “Monty” Hoffman in our teenage years back on Long Island. It took Dave a few years to find his life’s calling as a Stand-Up Comic. I believe it was his various experiences during his teenage years which allowed him to become the succesfull individual he became professionally and personally. Dave grew up in Old Bethpage with a group of guys named the “Cronies”. I am thinking back of all the times I spent with him. Dave was also good friends with another fellow named Bob Woods who also was well know on L.I. as a Stand-up Comic. I can see them now, up in heaven – looking down at up and having a great time together.

    I can only hope to see them together someday on stage again and seeing their smiles.

  2. Thank you for this really nice piece on Monty. I knew Monty since the late eighties and spent a lot of time with him over the last few years. He was a true character and an even truer friend. I know for fact Monty would love this piece you wrote on him, to know he was not forgotten. He got such a thrill from making people laugh especially other comics. I watched Monty deteriorate over the last few years but he never lost his sense of humor. God bless guys like Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler and Nick Swardson and Billy Gardell and So many others who reached out with love when it really counted. Rest in peace old friend.

    1. Monty and I met on MySpace in 2008. I weighed about 330 pounds at the time, I’m only 5’2″.. He made it his personal mission to call me every day for almost three years to help me loose weight. He didn’t want me mentioning this when he was alive, but now that he’s gone, I would like to say that he did save my life. I came out to visit him in the hospital when he had his stroke, I believe I met you there, Mike. He was a strong character. We had a major disagreement, and decided not to speak again, but I will always appreciate the help he gave me more than I can say.

  3. We did not know Monty personally, but we are friends of his brother Richard Hoffman. If Monty was anything like Richard he will be surely missed and the world will be a little sadder without him. R.I.P. Monty.

  4. Monty (David) Hoffman was a joke thief, a bully, a major misogynist who treated women like shit and regularly harrassed them, a crack addict, a snitch who ratted on the dealers he bought from and a complete piece of shit as a human being. He was also rumored to have raped at least one woman in the 70s. It’s proof that Hollywood is pure evil for eulogising this miserbale pustule and Hell can’t be hot enough for him. If there’s any justice in the afterlife this piece of rat feces is so far down in Hell he’s looking up Hitler’s asshole. I’m glad you’re dead, Hoffman! So are most of the people who were unfortunate enough to know you and to have been in your dark foul presence. FUCK YOU.

    1. You just don’t sound like you mean it. I think you are being glib to the max. Why are you holding back? Let it out.. please.

  5. And to Hell with that wall eyed frog faced greasy manager Rick Messina for signing him. Thank God Hoffman never became a star. He would’ve been even more of an asshole than a thousand Sam Kinisons (not that he wasn’t already). By the way Monty ended up pissing off Rick too. Glad you signed him, Rick, you clueless chump?

    1. Hi Sean,

      I run sports and entertainments networks here in KC, MO and have a nostalgia podcast. We are reviewing every episode of Saved by the Bell.

      I saw this great piece you did on Monty Hoffman’s life. We are trying to find his son Joshua for an interview. I read in your article that Monty’s brother Glenn wrote on facebook. I was wondering, if you have or could point me to Glenn’s profile or contact info.

      Thank you for your help,

      Noah Gronniger & Clint Switzer

  6. Monty Hoffman was the biggest asshole in the world and a disgusting pustule of a human being. Most people who ever had the misfortune to know this miserable mean spirited no talent monosyllabic illiterate bullying rapist/joke thief/crackhead/misogynist/total piece of shit are glad he’d dead and roasting in Hell.

  7. I remember seeing Monty at The Holy City Zoo in San Francisco. He was very funny. That was the greatest comedy club. Just a hole in the wall.

  8. I saw Monty Hoffman perform once in my life and never forgot it – for all the wrong reasons. It was in 1988 at the Holy City Zoo in San Francisco. I was there with friends. There wasn’t much of a crowd. A guy was performing who reminded me of Richard Belzer. During his routine, a rough looking balding guy (accompanied by another guy who looked like a thug) walked up to the performer and took the microphone out of his hand and told him to get the F off the stage. The performer seemed genuinely surprised and shocked. The balding guy turned out to be Monty Hoffman. He was terrible. I specifically remember him talking about being pulled over with an underage girl by the Palo Alto police. That was the caliber of his material. The audience was NOT with him at all. He was NOT funny. There was very little laughter – and that was nervous at best. Hoffman began getting hostile. He then suddenly hurled a glass beer bottle OVER the audience (and us) and it shattered against the back wall. Then his thug friend began assaulting some guy who worked for the club. A waitress began screaming. All hell broke lose. My friends and I thought the safest exit would probably be somewhere in the rear. All we found was a restroom with a nailed-shut window. At that point, we somehow managed to slip back past the ruckus and out the front door as one of the staff was calling the police on the phone. It was bedlam. I’ve never forgotten that experience, nor the name Monty Hoffman.

  9. Worst live comedian I have ever seen. Misogynistic and gross. He treated women in the audience very badly. Worst of all, his shit wasn’t funny. This was in the late 1980s. Sexual comedy can be done well. His was just gross.

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