How Steve Met Sara


A New York comedian is likely to say clever things. Here’s one from Steve Hofstetter: “It’s a scary thought when you’ve known the condiments in your refrigerator longer than your fiancée.”

Never mind. He still proposed to Sara Tenenbein 51 days after their first date. And she said yes.

They met on Jdate in July 2009. She’s an MIT graduate who had just received a master’s in business from the University of Pennsylvania. His degree is from Columbia University. But other things about Steve tend to jump out at you. He’s a professional comic. He’s a redhead and he’s tall. That’s 6’4”.

Sara was moving back to New York to begin work in the theater industry. “I signed up on JDate to meet some new people and go out on a few dates. I never expected anything serious would come of it.”

Steve was looking for his one and only. He was out working as a comic and believed that “the odds of finding a Jewish intellectual from New York were a lot better online than they were after a show in Peoria. And I wasn’t disappointed when I came across Sara’s profile – she was articulate, educated and beautiful.”

Sara says: “It was the first week I was on the site and I wasn’t sure I wanted to date a comedian. But his profile intrigued me. It was so well-written, intelligent, and funny.”

They exchanged instant messages the entire afternoon. That night, Sara asked if Steve wanted to meet the next day. “I was surprised,” says Steve. “I thought the next step would be a phone call, but she said there was no point in wasting time. I was impressed and agreed.”

Studies have shown that instant messaging has the advantage over email in conveying emotions and building personal and social relationships. “Real-time communication helps you get to know the real person,” says Sara.

Sara was also on-target in choosing a one-hour time slot for their first meeting. As the experts point out: Always good to have a time limit in case the date is terrible.

She got off work at 6:30 p.m. and he had a gig an hour later. “But the date was going so well that she came to the show with me,” says Steve. “I did my 15-minute set in about 12 minutes and left immediately so we could spend more time getting to know each other.”

The couple meandered around the city and ended the night with a romantic walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Their one-hour date had turned into a nine-hour marathon.

They both agree there was instant chemistry. Steve was so sure of his feelings that he called a friend and proclaimed that he’d just met his wife-to-be. Among other things, she made him laugh. Within three days, Steve and Sara were exclusive.

But Steve waited to propose. When his 30th birthday came around, Steve was working at a club in Sarasota. Sara, then 27, flew down for the weekend. He set the stage on the Lido Beach, where they would go for a stroll. He had a friend write a message in the sand: “Sara, will you marry me?”

When she saw it, she turned around to see Steve down on one knee. He told her he always said he wanted to be wealthy by the time he was 30, and he realized what it meant – that with her, “he was wealthier than he could ever imagine.”

“It’s not that we always like doing the same things,” says Sara. “I like dogs, cooking, and reality TV. Steve likes poker, pool, and baseball. For us, it’s not necessarily doing together; it’s just being together – walking, talking, driving, or doing errands together.
“I’m not even a fan of stand-up comedy,” she says. “I’m just a fan of Steve Hofstetter.”

Steve is known as one of the hardest working men in show business. He is on the road about 300 days a year. How do they maintain closeness from a distance? “Before I go to sleep, wherever I am in the world,” says Steve, “I call to say, ‘Good night, Sara. I love you.’”

Steve and Sara were married on December 19, 2010. Mazal tov!

Want more ‘Godsend?’ Read earlier columns here.