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Interview with comedian Alex Edelman

21 January 2015 Jessica Johnston

Alex Edelman takes some time out to talk about his award winning debut show Millenial coming to Soho Theatre.

London Calling: So how did you get into stand-up?

Alex Edelman: There was an album by a comedian that I loved named Brian Regan that I heard when I was 12 or so and it made me want to do it and a few years later I tried an open mic at a local pizzeria in Boston.

LC: How would you describe your style of comedy?

AE: Stand-up.

LC: Tell us about Millennial, what’s it about?

AE: It's about young people, and me as a young person, and what it might actually mean to be a young person in America.

LC: What is the biggest misconception that people have about this generation group?

AE: Definitely that we're superficial or materialistic. We're actually tremendously charitably-centric and entrepreneurial and Millennials looking for careers have put trying to make an impact ahead of earning money.

LC: Apparently you gave birth to the majority of your show in the lobby of Soho Theatre, is that true?

AE: Yes and no. The majority of the material was conceived and worked out in New York City, London and Bostonian comedy clubs. Alternative nights like Gentrify at UCB in New York and Josie Long's "Lost Treasures Show" helped a lot.

But yes, the structure and message and the 'show' itself was worked out in the lobby of this theatre.

LC: You made your Edinburgh Fringe debut earlier in 2014, how did that go?

AE: It was a great month, but also the hardest 27 days of my life. I was so goddamn pleased to win the award, and doing the show every single night was a total joy, but the stress and the drinking -- everyone drinks like the world is ending tomorrow -- and the non-stopness of it all was so crazy.

LC: What are your essential survival tips for the Fringe?

AE: Don't drink. Don't make a big deal out of it, just try not to drink. Have ONE or TWO drinks at most. Nurse them.

Also, perform as much as possible. The point of the festival is to become a better comedian, so use it as such.

LC: What do you think of us Brits... honestly?

AE: I love you guys like the brothers and sisters that I don't have and don't want.

You're very sweet and super-receptive. You treat stand-up like an art form, which is a little bewildering, honestly.

I don't think it's an art form, I think it's a craft, and that there's a difference between the two but that's a much much longer conversation.

LC: What was it like growing up in Boston?

AE: It's a town that's very much like London, in many ways.

When I was growing up there was a vibrant comedy and music scene that I really took advantage of. I spent a lot of time at Fenway Park, which is where the Red Sox play, and playing ice hockey. 

I wasn't a good student, I think, but I was wicked curious about stuff, so I snuck into a lot of classes and lectures in English and Law and Politics at Harvard.

LC: What would you be if you weren’t a comedian?

AE: I'd be working in sports or teaching or writing a novel or in jail for mail fraud. I still hope to do all those things.

LC: What’s the best piece of advice someone has given you?

God is in the details.

LC: If you knew today was your last day on earth, how would you spend it?

Screaming in terror.

LC: Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years?

I hope to be punching you in the face for this job interviewy question.

Seriously? I don't know. Hopefully somewhere in California or New York or London, still doing standup, for sure, and writing good movies.

LC: Finally, what can audiences expect from a night with Alex Edelman?

Stand-up comedy. And mail fraud.

Book tickets to see Alex Edelman live.

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