Q&A: Comedian Alex Falcone returns to Portland to record his first comedic album and talk about his great wife – Blogtown
It was November 2019 when we said goodbye to Portland comedian Alex Falcone, who after winning Portland’s funniest person in 2018, and went on to become a featured artist on Portlandia, as well as an occasional contributor to this publication, has moved to Los Angeles to continue his already promising career. He also married a woman who everyone agrees is an “objectively great” person. But then… surprise! PANDEMIC.
The Mercury didn’t hear anything from Alex for a while, until the very welcome announcement that he was not only on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in July of this year, he returns to record his first comedy album on 800 Pound Gorilla Records at Mississippi Studios this Saturday, October 2 with a special guest (and former Portlander /Mercury columnist) Bri Pruett. This is going to be a really good show… so we decided to catch up with Alex to find out what he did, and more importantly, how is his objectively brilliant wife.
MERCURY: The the last time i interviewed you that was in November 2019, just as you move to Los Angeles. It means you’ve arrived in a whole new city just in time for the biggest year in human history: 2020. How did it go for you?
XANDER Right, I moved to LA to go out and they quickly banned going out. Not ideal. On the flip side, my Portland friends were suddenly a lot more likely to talk on the phone than they would have been, which made the transition a lot easier. Also, with the entire industry shutting down, it kept me from trying which was good. I’m not one of those weirdos who thrived during the panda, but I did a lot of corporate Christmas parties on Zoom and had a bit of success as TikTok-er so it could have been be much worse.
You made your national television debut on Late show with Stephen Colbert last July and you were funny! But I have to say that spending the whole set talking about the quality of your wife (and her is objectively great) was a bold choice. How did you decide which material to play for your debut?
There’s that trope in classic 80s / 90s late night sets where a guy walks in and talks about his wife for five minutes. And it is awful. It’s also misleading for me because, as you noted, my wife is the coolest. So I thought it would be interesting to flip it over and do a thematic set saying positive things about my wife. I was extremely lucky to find a show that was willing to take a risk on something as completely different as the stand-up on a healthy relationship.
How it goes behind the scenes of the Colbert spectacle? In particular, I want to learn more about snacks, but would appreciate any interesting anecdote.
I recorded my set the very first day the show was back in their theater so the staff were so happy to see each other that everyone was kissing and crying all the time and I just pretended it was was because they were thrilled to have me on the show.
I’m a big fan of Stephen’s conductor, Oscar-winning composer Jon Batiste, but I haven’t seen him until I got on stage. I was so amazed to see him when I went out for a run that I gave him a little gun like THE BIGGEST DORK. I have absolutely no recollection of doing it, but it’s there on the tape and really embarrassing. I never give guns to people! Jon doesn’t give guns to people! Where did the gun come from?!?
Oh, and the snacks. Not sure if it was panda related, but the snacks were pretty standard. But they had these cookies that my wife really likes, so I stole a bag and brought them home because she couldn’t come to check-in. Ugh, I still do, don’t I? The snacks were good.
Tell us about that comedy album recording session you scheduled for this weekend. Everything revolves around your wife? (Which, again, is objectively tall, so I wouldn’t mind.)
I grew up listening to comedy albums, so I always dreamed of having one of my own. But at this point, it’s kind of like dreaming of owning a really nice horse-drawn carriage after the cars are out, or owning a really cool local alternative newspaper after the internet goes out. It’s a weird choice. Fortunately, there is still a market selling comedy albums to SiriusXM for truckers to listen to so they don’t fall asleep. This is what allows me to reach this important stage in my career. I’ll definitely be talking about my wife, but as I’ve done on TV before, it wouldn’t be so revolutionary here. Instead, these will be all of the best jokes I’ve written in the past 10 years, or at least the ones I think truck drivers would love.
Interesting… but back to your wife. By the way, how is she?
It’s starting to get weird. She’s good, but she’s, uh, taken.
I don’t see her as the type of person who would like to be labeled as a “taken” … but I’m happy for both of you. Anyway, now that you’re an expert on Los Angeles, what’s the one thing Portland should copy about LA, and vice versa, what should LA steal from Portland?
The main thing LA should steal from Portland are trees. There are palm trees here and they look great on postcards, but they do it all in terms of the tree. The trees are really lacking.
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On the other hand, there is a great ice cream parlor down the road called Salt & Straw; Portland should have one. There’s also a Blue Star Donuts not too far away, and my neighborhood cafe sells Stumptown and Heart coffee. I hope they all catch up one day.
Alex Falcone with special guest Bri Pruett, Saturday, Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m., Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, $ 15, tickets here. Hopefully his wife will be there too.