Monty Hoffman was raised in New York alongside eight siblings, a single mom, and his big screen idol, Lou Costello. “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’s next inspiration was Lenny Bruce. “I was impressed with how clever he was, a real thinker.” After high school and two years in the army, Hoffman attended San Francisco State University, where he took acting and improvisation classes. He joined Papaya Juice, a local improv group where Robin Williams was a member. In between bits, Williams would perform stand up, inspiring Hoffman to write an act of his own.
Hoffman took his act to Los Angeles and began performing at the Laugh Factory and the Improv, landing him an appearance on A&E’s An Evening at the Improv. He then returned to New York to do the film, Comedy’s Dirtiest Dozen, which lead to his signing with Messina Baker Management and landed him an agent, his first development deal with Viacom, and his first acting gig.
From there, Hoffman worked on several sitcoms, and in between, did stand up engagements in Las Vegas, and comedy clubs and colleges across the country.
In 1994, Hoffman put stand up on hold when he landed a leading role on NBC’s sitcom, The Good Life. He followed that up with bit parts in films and several appearances on ABC’s The Drew Carey Show and Everybody Loves Raymond.
In 2002, everything came to a screeching halt. “I went in for a routine colon test, and found out I had throat cancer. Throat cancer?! I just kept wondering how long that doctor’s finger was!” After surgery, a year of radiation treatment, and a clean bill of health, Hoffman rose from the ashes.
In 2004, Hoffman appeared on Last Comic Standing, which garnered much attention. “It was a pivotal experience for me, not just because it helped to relaunch my career, but because it helped me relaunch who I am. In the end, I fell back in love with what used to make my mother laugh, comedy.”