Comedian goes from Ann Arbor open mic to Comedy Central showcase  


During the day, Jeff Horste works at Lighting Supply in Ferndale. And there really isn’t anything funny about his day job. But at night and during the weekends there is plenty to laugh about for Horste, a promising, young stand-up comedian from Southfield who can light up a room in more ways than one.

Horste returns to Comedy Central as part of “Kevin Hart Presents: The Next Level,” a comedy showcase featuring a roster of Kevin Hart-approved stand-up comedians. Horste’s episode airs at 11 p.m. on Aug. 24. Horste previously appeared on Comedy Central in the Detroit episode of “Kevin Hart Presents: Hart of the City.”

“It was a great experience,” says Horste of his first Comedy Central appearance. “I was on the Detroit episode with three other comics from the Detroit area. Many comics performed in local showcases that were taped and I was one of the four comics selected from the taping.”

Ferndale’s Jeff Horste returns to Comedy Central as part of “Kevin Hart Presents: The Next Level,” a comedy showcase featuring a roster of Kevin Hart-approved stand-up comedians on Aug. 24. Photos courtesy of Jeff Horste

Horste, 30, said that appearance led to the upcoming “Kevin Hart presents: The Next Level.”

A 2005 graduate of Southfield High School, Horste has played some big rooms in his young comedy career. Aside from his taping of the half hour Kevin Hart show at The Orpheum Theatre in LA, Horste also has performed at The Fox Theatre in Detroit and the Meadow Brook Amphitheater in Rochester Hills. Once a year he headlines at Mark Ridleys Comedy Castle in Royal Oak and the Comedy Showcase in Ann Arbor.

One of his bigger shows coming up is Sept. 20 at the The Sanctuary in Hamtramck. The show features Horste, Josh Adams, Ron Taylor and Darius Bennet as part of the Motown Laugh Kings and will be the debut show of the second annual Motor City Comedy Festival.

Horste, who also has appeared on the Fox TV show Laughs, and has performed in Atlanta’s Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, the Boston Comedy Festival, and the Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival, has long been fascinated with the challenge of doing stand-up comedy.

“I have always been interested in comedy but I have not always thought of comedy as a realistic career,” he said. “A friend of mine I met in college suggested I check out an open mic in Ann Arbor that was happening at a place called The Big Ten Burrito.”

It wasn’t exactly one of those, and “the rest is history” moments. Stand-up comedy rarely is mastered on the first take – it usually requires a few falls and plenty of missteps before you are able to “stand.” But Horste had plenty of support in the crowd that night to get his career off to an hilarious start.

“My first open mic experience was great,” he says. “I had a lot of support from family and friends and they honestly made up around half of the small crowd of 30-40 people.”

But with such a big dream comes big challenges.

“Perfecting a joke is something that does not happen right away,” Horste says. “The challenges that go along with crafting your best material can be frustrating and tiresome. Comedy is overall not a well-paying job. Finding the balance to make enough money to get by in life while also perfecting your craft is very difficult for many of us up and coming comedians.”

At least for this up and coming comedian, getting the opportunity to showcase his material on Comedy Central should help tip the scales in a positive and hopefully profitable way. It should certainly help keep the lights on for a promising career.

Name: Jeff Horste
Age: 30
Hometown: Southfield
Current residence: Ferndale
High School: Southfield High School (class of 2005)
College: Eastern Michigan University/ Henry Ford Community College
Web site:
Social media: Twitter: @JeffHorste

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