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September 9, 2011

Robby Hoffman: She Doesn't Need (Much) Money, She Just Wants to Make You Laugh
by WomenInComedy - 0

As the seventh of ten children (yeah, that's right, TEN), Montreal comic Robbie Hoffman had (hmmm, what's the best way to put this…) an "accelerated" childhood. As a four-year old, she was changing diapers (no, not her own … gross!). When she was six, she remembers strolling her two-year old sister all alone through the streets of Brooklyn. Coming from a poor family, with nothing outside of herself to offer, Hoffman recognized at a very young age what her gifts were: a big mouth, intelligence and humor, and she quickly learned how to wield them.

By the age of 17, Hoffman was living on her own, working her way through school, taking on any work that she could find, including a stint at McDonald’s, and a dubious telemarketing job. She already knew what she was going to do with her life (by contrast, the author, at 36, is still trying to figure this sh*t out for herself) and that she would some day make a living in comedy. She was also smart enough to know that she needed a solid Plan B. And so she put her comedic aspirations to the side and enrolled herself in an accounting degree program (you know, what all the loquacious, funny kids get into, right?). In 2009, Hoffman graduated McGill with a Bachelor in Commerce, and was immediately hired by a top tier accounting firm.

With "Get an education" and "Land a job with steady income" crossed off of her To Do list, Hoffman began doing stand up a year and a half ago at the age of 23. She started in the indy comedy scene, performing at the occult, smoke filled Comedy Loft (it in itself an interesting story, more on that later ... ). On one occasion, she almost passed out from all of the tobacco fumes (the vodka shots she downed back stage didn't help the situation, either). Here she found a supportive and gracious group of local comics, in a forgiving place where she could learn the art of stand-up.

Today you can find her doing open mics at Montreal's Comedy Nest and Comedy Works and performing her latest one woman show, "Robby Hoffman: Autobiography. So what, you think you're better than me?" at the Montreal Fringe Festival.
At 24, Hoffman has lived a lot of life, and it shows. She comes off more poised, more mature and more grounded than what you'd expect out of someone her chronological age.

Looking back, Hoffman sees, what on paper would be considered a rough childhood, but that is not how she remembers it. The adversity of being poor, being fatherless, being different, gave her an environment to flex her comic muscle, to hone her unique voice. She doesn't remember feeling any stress, she just remembers being happy.

She is still determined as ever to make a living from comedy, but isn't looking for lucrative career. Compared to how she grew up, she has got just about everything that she needs AND she gets to eat out whenever she wants (believe me, this is a BFD, talking to Robby you get the feeling that she was hungry a lot as a kid). She just wants your attention and is going to get it by making you laugh.

For more information on Robby Hoffman, check out her web site at

WICF contributor Kate Conner is a long time comedy nerd, who recently took the plunge onto the stage and into the spot light. Kate can be found performing at a wide variety of different venues including Comedyworks, The Comedy Nest, her living room, and the hospital psych ward. Originally from Minnesota, Kate, her husband and their four kids now live in Montréal.

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