Comedian Ted Alexandro opens up about life as a comedian

5 mins read

By Alexander Hugel

Queens College is known as the alma mater of some of the funniest men in comedy such as the legendary Jerry Seinfeld and Ray Ramono, but it was also the old stomping ground of lesser known comedian Ted Alexandro.

A local man born and raised in Bellerose, he attended Queens College during the 90s. Now he’s a well-respected comedian seen by millions on late night TV, performing on “Conan,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Night With David Letterman,” and most recently, “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.”

Alexandro’s animated style and ability to captivate the crowd caught the attention of Jim Gaffigan and Louie C.K. He opened C.K’s show at Carnegie Hall.

Ted most recently wrote and filmed two hour-long specials, which aired on Comedy Central. In his comedy special “As Much As You Want,” Ted acknowledged his QC roots.

“I went to school at Queens College, which is a commuter school. Not a real party atmosphere. All your friends going off, ‘yeah party whoa!’, and away to school. Commuter schools, what’s the craziest thing you could do? Park illegally. ‘Dude I’m at a hydrant right now,’” Alexandro said.

While a student at QC, Ted was apart of a sketch comedy group that founded by his comic counterpart Hollis James, another QC alum. Together they wrote sketches and performed their comedy bits on campus.

“It was one of those things where you feel at home. It was fun [and] it felt very familiar. ‘Saturday Night Live’ was something I always loved. So this just felt like ‘ok man, were going to do our thing.’ That was the first time the light bulb went off that not only can I perform on stage, but I can write stuff that people laugh at,” Alexandro said.

For Ted, sketch comedy was a gateway that inevitably led him to stand up.

“I always loved comedy, but I never really thought of it like ‘I’m going to do that’. But I was a student of it and I loved it from a young age whether it was Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy. Those were my guys,” Alexandro said

Now Ted and Hollis are award-winning writers for their web series “The Teacher’s Lounge.” Stars like Lewis Black, Judah Friedlander and Dave Attell make cameo appearances as members of the faculty on the show.

Aside from writing and performing comedy, Ted is also an activist. He protested during “Occupy Wall Street” and more recently in “Black Lives Matter” protests.

“I love what I do as an activist. I put my opinion out there and almost have a dialogue with people. Lets focus our attention on this issue and lets have a discussion on this. Not even that I have the answers but let’s talk about it and give it its proper attention,” Alexandro said.

Alexandro said activism helped guide him to where he is today.

“It’s weird man because in recent years it’s been less of a plan. Like when I was younger it was more of a plan and I had blinders on for just comedy. So now I’ve kind of surrendered that idea of a plan and just really go where the energy feels right,” Alexandro said.

“When Occupy Wall Street came up, that felt right and you know the people that were there. The activists that I met. Very smart, very driven and very compassionate. So that’s where I put my energy.”

Alexandro also offered advice for students graduating from college.

“The first thing I would say is don’t be too hard on yourself. Set your goals and your compass for what direction you want to go in,” he said. “It’s going to take time and realize that you had a lot of structure in your life, to the point where you graduate college. All of a sudden your going to have no structure and that path to follow is up to you. But don’t stop being a student.”

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