Day 28: Ted Alexandro

Day 28. Each day in the month of May, I’m sending out some stand up I really like and discussing why I enjoy it. Today I’d like to share a 2014 Ted Alexandro set from Conan. Here’s some reasons I’m into it:

• GUMBYING. Ted contorts his body in unexpected ways throughout the set, giving his punchlines a physical dimension that gets me laughing even more. Take his DJ character. He could’ve just stood straight and delivered those lines, and I would have laughed, but by turning his body and then swimming in the air while speaking, he enhances the creepiness of the character and the pop of the joke.

• JOKE PAIRS. Many of Ted’s jokes will reveal a funny observation, and in order to heighten the comedy, he’ll present a normal world before the funnier world: Coffee, then Wine; Not Flirting with Baby, then Flirting with Baby; Straight Voice, then Gay Voice; Flight Layover, then Sexual Layover. With the two side-by-side, I crack up because I can see more clearly the funny of the observation. (For Parallel Players, see also: Sam Morril, Day 16.)

• FUNNY WORD. In Ted’s joke about people telling him that their child’s flirting with him, Ted repeats the word “baby” ten times. Treating babies seriously can be funny (see also: The Serious Silly, Aparna Nancherla, Day 7). But the word “baby” itself is funny. In addition to being evocative, “baby” hits the “buh” sound twice, and “buh” (like “kuh”) is just inherently funny. Ted could have used synonyms, but that would have muddled the joke. Instead, he leans into the word while he speaks, really driving home the image and his point.

Hope you enjoyed it, and for more Ted Alexandro, check out his Instagram: @tedalexandro