Although Boston comedian Alex Edelman may spend a good portion of his time between the UK and the States, his 2020 tour will be the first time he’s had chance to properly tour his comedy show around the UK and he couldn’t be more excited. We spoke to Alex recently about the show and loads more and you can read what he told us here.
1. Thanks for your time Alex. Your first ever UK tour is coming up in the New Year, what are you expecting from it ?
“I’m really excited. I can’t believe I’m finally getting to do it. I’ve always wanted to tour the UK but I’ve never been able to. I’ve been to a few places with Simon Amstell but I’m finally getting to do something I didn’t think would ever happen so I’m so excited about getting to all the places I’ve never been able to get to. I’ve never been to Manchester. I’m so thrilled about going to Glasgow as I’ve never been there. I’m performing in Edinburgh outside the festival which is so cool for me because the only time I’ve ever been there is for the festival. My career started in the UK so, without the UK, I’d be sitting in an office somewhere. I’m sure my family blames “you lot” for me not becoming an ad executive or something [laughs]. Seriously, I’m excited the most but my family are too and I think they’re going to join me on a few of the dates.”
2. What can we expect from your show?
“Comedy! An hour or so of pretty solid jokes. The show is the best reviewed show from Edinburgh in a few years from the festival. It has a strong narrative but it also has a lot of jokes in it. The show is about a meeting of white supremacists that I went to in New York and I’m really thrilled to do it.”
3. For people in the UK who don’t know you, could you give us a brief life story ?
“Sure. I’m from Boston in the United States. I come from a nice family. I had a bit of a difficult time in High School but a lovely time in College. I went to University and had some great professors. Spent some time living in Israel in my younger years. Did really well after college with a bit of stand-up and found a group of people in the UK who I loved. They were alternative comedians so I worked with them pretty hard. Did the Edinburgh Festival, won the Perrier in 2014 for Best Newcomer which was a real boost for my career. I came back with a show in 2015 which did even better which was nice then I wrote on some TV shows in the States for a while. I love writing TV and Radio. I do a radio show about the lives of young people and some other stuff. Now live in Los Angeles and spend as much time as I can outside of Los Angeles. This show is the 2018 show and it’s really timely about what it’s like to be Jewish in America right now as I felt like it really wasn’t something I could not tour so I’ve tried really hard to tour it.”
4. Who was it that inspired you to take up comedy and why ?
“I’ve had a couple of inspirations. Mel Brooks was big when I was a kid and I always loved this comedian called Brian Regan. Comics I know like Gary Gulman and comics over in the UK that encouraged me to pursue a career are people like Joel Dommett and Josie Long and they’ve been really helpful. Simon Amstell and Ricky Gervais have had me open for them while Eddie Izzard and Stephen Fry have both been fairly kind with their time and advice so those are my big ones I guess. I’d be really remiss if I didn’t mention Josie Long and the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society which is the group that I fell in with when I first started coming over.”
5. I was going to ask what you know about our British comedians ?
“Well, I am both a British comedian and an American comedian. I dedicate a lot of time and frankly resources to making sure that I’m relevant over here and I’m keeping my hand in over here and being aware of what the standard is for live comedy. I see as much as I can and I do as much as I can. My peers here are the ones that I admire the most.”
6. Like you said, you split your time between the States and the UK. Any plans to settle down in either country ?
“My ideal scenario would be where I have a house in both places. I keep real close attention to the UK and the UK is very good to me. Also the quality of life here is really high – sure, the weather sucks, you guys have the worst weather anywhere.”
7. You’ve played at music festivals, done TV, played the big comedy festivals, what has been your favourite experience of your comedy journey so far ?
“My favourite thing is when I get to do a gig and just after the gig I get to hang out with my friends who are comics. The comics I love are all up and coming comics around my age. I really enjoy festivals like Latitude where I get to see my friends. The best thing is to do a gig on a Sunday night then go out and find the only place that is open and hang out with your friends. I got into comedy for one reason, to sit around late at night making jokes with people my own age. There’s also opening for Eddie Izzard in Berlin and Moscow but there’s nothing better than BF’ing late at night and just forgetting what time it is. You just want to hang out with people who get you so, when I get to do that, it’s just the best thing for me! ”
8. Having done festivals like Glastonbury and T In The Park, what’s your thoughts on the UK festival culture ?
“Festival culture in the UK is why the UK is a superpower. It’s prioritized more highly than in any other country. It means the average UK punter has the working and contemporary knowledge of the comedy and music scene that would rival an industry person and their knowledge. It’s integral, it’s so important and it’s so much fun. That’s why I started coming over because I wanted to do the festivals because they looked so much fun. The first festival I did was T In The Park. I’m staying with people now while I write my radio show that I met at that festival. My most enduring friendships have come from people that I met at festivals because they’re like little mini Summer camps where all you do is drink your face off and hang out!”
9. Curveball question now. You’re about to get into a fight, what song would be playing for you ?
“Ooh, I love that question? Who am I fighting? Right, it would be Coldplay’s Fix You because that song always makes people cry and I’ve heard it so many times that it doesn’t make me cry anymore so I’d be the only person in the room not crying. I think that puts my at a huge advantage.”
10. Just to finish then, apart from the tour and your radio series for Radio 4, what else do you have lined-up for 2020 ?
“Yeah! I’m going to be focussed on touring but I’m writing some television and some radio. I’ve got a TV show that I wrote on which is coming out on Netflix in 2020. Like I said, I can’t wait to tour so thank you if you’re coming out to the shows and, if you do then come and say hi afterwards, I love to hang out and see what people think about the show especially in the UK. I’m an observant Jew so I’m always interested in what people are upset about or worried about, it’s part of who I am so make sure you come to a show and say hi!”
Get all the details on the tour here.