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The BCSE Valentine's Day comedy crush: Ted Alexandro (interview)

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On this Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t matter if you have someone to cuddle up to or not – you’re still going to get a nice little present! Comedian Ted Alexandro has released his brand-new, self-funded comedy special entitled “I Did It” exclusively through his website, and he’s offering it to fans on a ‘pay what you will’ basis. Who says Valentine’s Day has to cost a lot?

Recorded live at The Creek & The Cave in Long Island City, New York, “I Did It” celebrates Alexandro’s success in reaching his 40’s without any marriages, divorces or children and features the comedian discussing everything from politics to steroids to gay marriage. Alexandro’s unique and laid back stage presence is incredibly engaging, leaving you feeling like you are right there with him in the intimate 30-seater venue.

The Boston Comedy Scene Examiner recently had the delight of chatting with Alexandro about his special and his decision to self-release “I Did It” – which is officially available today at tedalexandro.com.

BCSE: Hey, Ted—it's Angie Frissore.

TA: Hi, Angie. How are you?

BCSE: I'm well; how are you?

TA: I'm doing well, thanks.

BCSE: Congratulations on the special!

TA: Thank you, thank you. I'm very excited.

BCSE: Yeah, that's pretty cool. I just got word yesterday, so I feel like I had some catching up to do.

TA: Nice, nice; yeah.

BCSE: So, tell me all about it. Where was it recorded?

TA: I recorded this at The Creek and The Cave, in Long Island City. Are you familiar with The Creek and The Cave?

BCSE: I am, yeah.

TA: So it's an intimate thirty-seater. I had done a week at The Creek last year. I had been considering shooting my special for a while, and then it kind of just hit me: Why don't I record here, because it's got that great kind of New York vibe, of so many of the rooms around New York that people don't even know about? The Creek really embodies that kind of alternative experimentation, that kind of playfulness—all the things that I like about the New York scene.

So that was kind of the impetus for it: Instead of doing something on the grand scale, the way specials usually are, I thought, ‘This is a little more authentic to what I like to do.’

TA: Fantastic. And what inspired your delivery method of "Pay what you will?"

BCSE: You know, that was a combination of Louis C.K., who kind of revolutionized the online distribution for comedians. Having opened for him, he kind of was a mentor in a lot of respects, so that was definitely part of it—because he made it available for five dollars, and then a lot of comedians followed suit with that. Radiohead and other bands had done the pay-what-you-will model, and I felt like that was even more in keeping with my principles of, ‘Just kind of make it available to folks and let them pay what they will.’

BCSE: Fantastic—so definitely keeping with the artistry of it.

TA: Yeah. I kind of just felt like there's a measure of trust there, to just make your art available to people and hope that they like it, and hope that you build a relationship; that they trust you. It's more than just that typical consumer model.

So yeah, there were a lot of things I liked about doing it this way. Also, just that it was self-produced and that I could even make those decisions, rather than working with a larger, corporate model where—who knows if I even would have had that opportunity?

BCSE: Right, right. That's very exciting; I'm so happy for you. I've been a fan of yours for a while, so I'm definitely looking forward to this.

TA: Oh, thank you, thank you. Yeah, it's really been a fun process all the way through, you know. Again, being able to make all of the little micro-decisions along the way and work with talented friends: the director and the associate producers; the photographer that shot the cover for the special; the girl who designed it. These are all talented friends that—I got to just decide.

I think, on the one hand, it also cuts out lots of time of like, going through eight channels to make one decision. I just reached out to friends, and that was exciting too because you're able to implement exactly the vision that you want, you know?

BCSE: Definitely. Now, did you do any sort of Kickstarter for it, or is it self-funded?

TA: This is self-funded, yeah. I'm doing a Kickstarter next month for Teachers' Lounge, my webseries. We're going to release the first four episodes that we shot of Teachers' Lounge and do a Kickstarter for the next eight episodes, but as far as the special: yeah, this was self-funded.

BCSE: That’s great. You know, as a comedy critic I always am drawn to comedians that you can really connect with on a personal level, and you're definitely a prime example of that, especially—you know, self-funded and putting it out there for whatever people want to pay for it? It's just very refreshing.

TA: Thanks. It's another nice byproduct of kind of having taken the time to do it the way that I wanted to. Because yeah, I think the way that you engage with people—a fan base, or just people that like your work—the way that you engage with them is important. And I think too often it's not really something we examine, because you just kind of float through the usual channels and allow many decisions to be made for you. So this was a refreshing departure from that, and I think definitely more reflective of the way I like to live in general, much less create art.

BCSE: Awesome. And you're going on tour soon, right?

TA: Yeah: I have some dates lined up, with more on the way. But I'm heading out to Philly next week, and going out to the Midwest after that: to Detroit and Grand Rapids. There's going to be more dates announced within the coming week.

BCSE: Any plans to come to Boston?

TA: Absolutely, yeah. I haven't done a whole lot of Boston, which is kind of an oversight on my part, but yeah, that's definitely on my to-do list because when I was opening for Louis we did a bunch of dates there and I just loved the crowds there, so it's kind of something that I haven't done enough of. And it's close, too, so I have no excuse.

BCSE: Yeah, and we've got a couple new venues that are really doing a good job of bringing outside talent into Boston, which for a while we struggled with, I think.

TA: Oh, is that right?

BCSE: Yeah. I mean, in the past, you know, you had The Wilbur, but aside from that it was all local comics.

TA: Yes, yes. And I think that was where I was kind of caught in between with some of those venues. So what are the newer ones? Someone was mentioning the newer one to me the other day; I can't remember.

BCSE: Yeah; we have Laugh Boston, which is a great club right on the waterfront. They're bringing in all sorts of L.A. and New York comics.

TA: Nice.

BCSE: Yeah. And then The Wilbur has this little offshoot, Johnny D’s in Somerville, and they're bringing in a lot of great names too: names that they sort of test out to see if they could potentially fill the Wilbur.

TA: Right, right.

BCSE: And it's a great little room.

TA: Nice, nice. Yeah, I would love to. I'll have to tell my agent to explore both of those.

BCSE: Definitely, yeah—especially Laugh Boston. I think they'd love to have you.

TA: Laugh Boston, okay. Awesome, thank you.

BCSE: No problem. Well, listen, thanks so much, Ted, and congratulations again.

TA: Thanks a lot, Angie; I appreciate it.

Alexandro toured with Louis C.K throughout the "Hilarious" tour and opened for him at Carnegie Hall, as well as appearing on the FZ show "Louie." Ted helped organize and establish the New York Comedians Coalition, which ultimately led to a pay increase for New York based comedians. A New York native, he was recently declared one of "21 New York Comedy Linchpins" by Time Out NY and has made appearances on David Letterman, Conan O'Brian, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and two half-hour Comedy Central Presents specials.

You can grab your own copy of Ted Alexandro’s “I Did It” right now at www.tedalexandro.com for whatever the heck you feel like paying for it. Just be sure not to totally cheap out on your purchase, as “I Did It” was self-funded by Alexandro without any begging, borrowing or stealing from those close to him. Trust me; it’s worth shelling out a few extra dollars for some fantastic Valentine’s Day entertainment.

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