In addition to being a Free For All regular and host at Helium Comedy Club, Alex Grubard is also known for his catchphrases advertising his dire financial situation and living in a North Philadelphia home with three other comedians fondly dubbed the “Saget House.” Alex also produces and hosts a monthly show called Comedy Bonfire at The Fire with his Saget House colleagues, and regularly performs stand-up comedy up and down the East Coast. Here he is answering some questions for us in advance of his appearance at the July 3rd Free For All.
Free For All: You’ve done a lot of comedy in New York and Boston. What do you like about performing in Philly compared to other cities?
Alex Grubard: Philly is a great city for comedy, and a great place for a comedian to live. It’s inexpensive, it’s the fourth largest market, it’s growing for the first time in decades, and it’s a cultured, blue collar, international metropolis. Not only is there a lot of professional and indie comedy going on in the city, but Philly gives a comic a lot of access to perform all over the Eastern US. Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, DC, the entire state of Pennsylvania, and a major airline hub. New York is such a monster it keeps residents there 365 days a year like it’s the island in Lost. Boston’s the farthest North you want to travel before you’re playing for hillbilly hippies in Vermont. In Philly you can play a show in a different state every night of the week and still sleep in your own bed each night. Having access to so many different kinds of stages is exciting. The Philadelphia comedy scene is fun, because every night is different.
FFA: If you had money, what would you spend it on?
AG: I’d buy back all the time I’ve wasted, trust from everyone I meet, and happiness. Then I’d wind up living completely outside my means and immediately go into debt. Credit cards, man. Why did I get them when I finally had money? Now I don’t have any MONEY.
FFA: We heard a rumor (from you) that the format of your show at the Fire is changing. Can you give any details on that?
AG: We’re trying to adjust our format to make everything work to the strengths of what Comedy Bonfire‘s three-show format has been. Our next show on July 30th is our fourth show and what we have been doing is a stand-up showcase, a guest podcast recording, and an open mic. The biggest change is that we’re going to stop doing an open mic every month and do different late-night game shows, talk shows, panel shows and anything we think of that would be fun. We’ve been playing with having a band to open the whole night and that’ll be a thing every show now. Finally the guest podcast is going to be a guest show just to open up that spot to include other funny live shows. On July 30th we already have the band Boy With Robot and the podcast Bob and David are Terrible People booked for the night. What’s fun about Comedy Bonfire is that it’s three shows in one, but that means they have to get as exciting as possible. Since we’re doing three different shows a month we just want to make it feel more unique instead of doing the same three kinds of shows every time.
FFA: Would you call yourself the leader of the Saget house? If yes, compare and contrast your leadership style with that of 1 fictional or historically significant leader of your choice. If no, do it anyway.
AG: Well, in reality I’m a total original, but I’d have to say Steven Gold from Punchline, because he’s a college student and a comedian. No, more like Axl Rose trying to replace the members of Guns N’ Roses. Maybe more like Jake Taylor from Major League. It’s pretty much too late for me, but these kids in Philly are young, sharp, and funny. None of us are recognized in our own hometown, they say it can’t be done, we’ll come in dead last and move the whole organization to Miami with a new roster. So what do we do knowing that’s their plan? Win the whole fucking thing.
Get to know Alex even better by coming to see him perform on Free For All this Wednesday at Rembrandt’s Restaurant & Bar (741 N. 23rd St. Philadelphia) at 8:00pm. You can also follow him on Twitter @Alexgrubard.