Alex Stone is my age. We’re both twenty-two. Alex Stone does comedy, and I don’t. So that’s why he gets to be this week’s Funny Title Here interview-ee. Just throwing it out there.
Paolo: Aaliyah said that age ain’t nothing but a number. Do you think that it makes a difference or matters that you are twenty-two years and doing comedy?
Alex: Almost everyone that I meet in the comedy world tells me that it’s an advantage, a lot of comedians tell me that they wish they would have started when they were my age, and a lot of them use the term “head start”. I think I partly agree with that, because comedy does take time, you have to log the hours and work hard at it for a while before you see any real success. So I guess starting young does give me a “head start” in the sense that I will have been doing it for a while at a much younger age and I will, hopefully, start to see some of that success earlier too. But at the same time, I still have to be funny. I could have started doing stand up when I was ten and be a twelve year veteran right now, but if I’m not funny, that doesn’t really matter. I think the playing field is leveled by the fact that no matter how old you are or how long you’ve been doing it, when you step on stage you still have to make the audience laugh. Funny is funny no matter what the age, and if your funny long enough I feel you will see some sort of success in this industry eventually. Now some people would say that I’m just not jaded yet, and I would say that those people are probably right.
Actually I would say I think I do have a slight advantage, because if you are funny and you are young people seem to be a little more impressed. They will say things like ” Wow your were funny, and your only how old?” or ” Your funny for a kid your age!”, at times it seems as if people are almost shocked that they would find someone my age funny. That makes them notice and remember you though which is always important. Also being only twenty two, I don’t really have many responsibilities yet, in terms of like a family or a day job, so its more acceptable for me to be a struggling comedian right now, where as in a little while down the road it may not be. People aren’t really that attracted to the word “struggling” when it’s in front of whatever you do, for some reason.
Paolo: How did you get into comedy?
Alex: When i was in high school I had a friend that would always tell me I was funny, and every year he would try and get me to try out for our schools variety show. He would say “Dude you should do stand up at the variety show, it would be hilarious!” and every year I would say, next year. So when senior year came along I told him that I had decided that this would be the year, I was going to try and do stand up at the variety show, he was pretty excited and I actually was too. I had been wanting to try it for awhile, but all I knew was that you had to be 18 to get into most comedy clubs and I was still only 17, so I figured this variety show would actually be a great place for me to do stand up for the first time. But as it turned out I ended up dropping out of high school a couple months before the variety show, so for the time being my stand up dreams were put on hold. When I turned 18 the following year though I started researching and checking out local comedy clubs in the area. I found out that Go Bananas was having their funniest person in Cincinnati contest in like a month, so I decided to enter and the rest, as they say, is history……… is it still considered history if I haven’t really accomplished anything yet?
Paolo: Who are your comedic influences?
Alex: Thats always a tough question for me to answer, because for me personally I cant listen to any one comedian for too long or else I start to sound like that person. Its not a conscious effort it just kind of happens. I think that it happens to everyone really, like if you go see a Christopher Walken movie, you walk around for the next couple of days talking like Christopher Walken. It just happens, and its mostly with people that have a very distinctive cadence like that, its infectious. It happened to me once where I was listening to a lot of Ted Alexandro, who is an extremely funny comedian, but he has a very distinct cadence and so I was on stage and I said something and I sounded just like him, so I knew I had to stop listening to him for a while. I’m not saying that my style is so original that it doesn’t sound like anyone, but I just have to watch myself. I would say the people that really influence me though are probably Cosby, Hedberg, Louis C.K, and Brian Regan. Unless I start talking like one of them, then not so much for a little while.
Paolo: What was the absolute worst show you’ve ever had?
Alex: The absolute worst show I ever had was one that my mom booked for me. She works in a doctors office as a medical transcriptionist, its a fairly large doctors office, I would say about 200 total employees, and every year they have a big dinner to reward all the doctors and people that work at the office. Now my mother, like most, is proud of her son and when she found out that they were looking for entertainment for this years party she did not hesitate to suggest my name, and to my suprise they decided to book me. So I went into the office about a week before the show and met with the lady that was organizing the dinner, she told me that there was going to be another comedian performing that night, a guy I had known for a while, and that she was going to pay me two hundred dollars. Two hundred dollars was a lot for me, especially since I had only been doing it about two years at this point, so when I heard that my brain shut of and I totally missed the next part where she informed me that the dinner itself was going to be one of those murder mystery dinners, one where the actors intermingle with the dinner guests, and guests themselves are assigned parts to play in the mystery.
The dinner was being held at a Ramada inn, so when I showed up at the dinner and saw a man dressed as police officer from the thirty’s I thought nothing of it and assumed that it was just a guest at the hotel with a back story that I did not care about. But as I was hanging out with my family waiting for the dinner to begin, I began to hear whispers of how excited everyone was about the murder mystery dinner, it wasn’t until after I asked ” What murder mystery dinner?” that I found out that this dinner was a murder mystery dinner. Before it really had time to register, a woman pulled me over to the side, handed me a slip of paper, told me that I was going to be playing the part of Mr. Higglebottom, and when they said that name I was to stand up and read what it said on slip of paper that she had given me. I’m not really one for confrontation so instead of saying no this is a terrible idea, I said ok. I went in, ate dinner, and waited patiently for the actors to call for Mr. Higglebottom. When the time came I stood up, said my lines, and then sat back down. Finally the murder was solved and it was time for the comedy portion of the show, so the lady organizing the event went up, said a few words, and then introduced me. But when I took the stage no one saw Sharon’s son Alex the comedian, all they saw was Mr. Higglebottom, the man that withheld information about the killers where a bouts from police. They hated Mr. Higglebottom, and that was all they knew me as. So I proceeded to eat it hard for about twenty minutes, getting a total of literally zero laughs. What made it even worse was that during the dinner one of the doctors got huge laughs with his hilarious rendition of Mr. R.P. tuddle, the town drunk that ID’s the killer to solve the mystery. He hadn’t even taken the stage and I couldn’t follow him. At the end of my set I said thanks and walked off to the sound of my mother clapping and about two hundred other people hitting there hands together quietly. The other comedian went up after me and killed it, they loved him. I like to think its because I set the bar so remarkably low, or rather, that Mr. Higglebottom did.
Paolo: How is the facial hair growing going? Is there any sort of facial hair out there in the media you would like to emulate in particular?
Alex: The facial hair growing is not going well, all I can grow is a thing that vaguely resembles a mustache, and a thing that I like to call a chin beard, I call it that because it only grows under my chin. Its terrible because I’m balding so I cant do the classic compensation move and grow a full beard to make myself feel better, I call it the classic compensation move because I cant do it, if I could I would call it the I just like how beards look on me move. Um as for emulating facial hair in the media right now, I would have to pick Jason Larue’s Fu Manchu. He is the back up catcher for the Saint Louis Cardinals, former Cincinnati Red, I really don’t think it would fit me at all but I think it would be fun to have for a little while. Or not fun at all, I really have no experience when it comes to facial hair.
Paolo: How Jewish would you say you are feeling right about now?
Alex: My number is actually up a little bit, I would say I’m at about a five or six right now, I’m usually at right around a three but Rosh Hashanah was about a week ago and Yom Kippur is coming up so, tis the season I guess.
Paolo: And lastly, do you have any last words to your adoring fans who would be reading this now?
Alex: Well thank you for making it this far, I hope I didn’t bore you, you are my fans though so you should be interested in this stuff. Um I have a cartoon I’m working on right now its called “The Cycle” check that out, its about baseball, and other stuff to if you hate baseball. There are a Two episodes up right now and there are more coming soon, so go to Youtube.com/thecyclecartoon to check them out. Thanks Rooftop and Paolo for being cool and thanks again for reading this!