1. What other jobs did Alex Carabaño do before starting stand up comedy?
Man, I worked a lot of random jobs from late-night shifts at The Home Depot to doing photoshop edits for designer Jay Strongwater to simply packing boxes in an old warehouse. All of those were great preparation for the emotional roller coaster that is stand up comedy. Thankfully, for the past decade, I have had a career partnered with my brother as we opened a Latin vegan restaurant in Brooklyn called “VSPOT.” We are at the restaurant hustling every single day!
2. How did you know you wanted to be a comedian?
I started doing YouTube videos & 3 of them got a large number of views (currently all three have unfortunately been deleted off my account with total combined views of around 1.5 million) so someone suggested that I try to do stand up comedy. I was getting over an ugly break up with my ex, so I got wasted & tried an open mic where I bombed but had one chuckle which was enough to keep me at it. For the first few years, I just did it as a hobby here & there. Now? I’m unfortunately obsessed!!!
3. If you weren’t doing comedy, what would you be doing?
Probably just be with my restaurant & much happier, haha. I’d definitely still be doing little online skits but maybe for TikTok or one of those silly apps.
4. Where are some of your favorite places to perform?
I’ll never forget when I opened for Comedy Central’s Tony Woods on the tropical African Islands called Seychelles. We were set up on a beautiful resort & trust me, we had a blast on & off stage (mostly thanks to whiskey)!!
5. Who are some of your favorite up-and-comers in the comedy world?
Man, so many funny people here in NYC so it’s hard to pick one. There’s this one comic who also owns a vegan eatery, he’s hilarious!!
6. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Well, just about every veteran comedian will tell you to “have fun.” This is great advice but they fail to tell you how to have said fun. I think some great comedy advice is that 96% of your shows don’t matter long term which should help you feel at ease when grabbing that microphone.
7. When did you feel like you were a pro comedian?
I had to close out Broadway Comedy Club’s main sold-out Saturday show doing 25 mins because their veteran headliner canceled last minute & he was also a known Comedy Cellar comic. Must have been about 200 people so I chose “the best” of the 40 mins I felt comfortable doing. Thankfully, I was able to make everybody laugh from start to finish. Afterward, many comedians & audience members came up to me but what I won’t forget is the variety: the older gentleman from Scotland, the young thugs from Brooklyn, & a group of moms from Texas. It was a great feeling plus I got paid so I was feeling LITTTT. (could have also been the edibles.)
8. How often do you perform comedy per week?
Not including the COVID-19 quarantine, I try to perform 3 times a week at a minimum. I still don’t even perform as much as I’d like to because of my restaurant duties but I finally realized the importance of performing at least every other night. For quite a while, I only performed once a week, sometimes just once a month, which was the real joke assuming I’d get better that way. You just have to do it a lot in front of various demographics or don’t even bother. Give up that stage time, hobbyist!!
9. What are your favorite comedy clubs that you perform?
Well, I think the most important thing is to have a venue where you can “work out.” Meaning, you can go up there & try new bits or new lines without feeling terrible or getting judged if it doesn’t go well. With that said, St.Marks Comedy Club was my favorite place to train those comedic muscles before Coronavirus shut it down. (Shit is real.)
10. How do you deal with hecklers?
It thankfully doesn’t happen often but if & when it may, I never get angry or “aggressive.” I sort of incorporate them in and they usually end up saying something ridiculous that I can capitalize on to shut them up. I love that & the rest of the audience does too.
11. What advice would Alex Carabaño give your younger self?
Stop going down on girls you just met, lol. No, I would just remind myself to get on stage more often and to hang around the “good shows” and/or higher quality comedy clubs. It’s actually very important to network but you shouldn’t just network with everyone, surround yourself around the people who are winning yet still humble.
12. How would you describe your brand of comedy?
Hmm… whenever I review my set, all that goes through my mind is Lesbian Vegan! Haha, I dunno, I definitely have some energy up there because I genuinely get excited. I like to entertain via acting out the person I’m poking fun of versus just talking about them. I also try to keep it conversational so it feels like we’re all just hanging out versus some TedTalk youtube commercial.
13. What do you talk about in your act?
I mostly talk about my Colombian family, some ghetto ways we’ve had been brought up in Brooklyn plus working in the vegan restaurant business for so many years. I also joke a little bit about playing soccer with all the immigrants of New York & some crazy but true dating stories.
14. How did you develop your style of stand up? Who were your influences growing up; both from the world of comedy and elsewhere?
I always liked Martin Lawerence, Pablo Francisco, Ellen Degeneres, Ray Romano, & Rodney Dangerfield. I’ve also thankfully grown up around a lot of funny ass crazy New Yorkers aka “my family” which just built a solid foundation.
15. I love to interview comedians, Can I ask what happens when you are in front of a crowd, and no one laughs?
Nowadays if for some reason I’m having a bad set, I just power through. I definitely change topics and thankfully, have a variety where usually SOMETHING will hit at SOME point. If it’s just going terrible, terrible, I don’t really beat myself up. I just make sure to do my full stage time and get the fuck out of there right after, lmao. No “hanging out” on nights like that, I drop a smoke bomb & I’m outttt.
16. What made Alex Carabaño decide to be a comedian? Were you born funny?
As I said, I’ve always joked around and tried to just have fun wherever I was from the supermarket to the soccer field to the kitchen. I’m finally focusing on comedy which I’m truly grateful for & still can’t believe I’ll receive unsolicited messages offering a gig. I always feel like, “You sure you want me?? Because Mark Normand is out there too, ya know!”
17. When can people see it?
I have a comedy special on HBO called “The Winners” alongside the hysterical Mark Viera. Airdate: June 19th at 9:30 PM on tv via HBO Latino (in English, jaja) but also available on all HBO streaming formats.
18. Is there anything else that you wish to promote?
I guess just follow me, Alex Carabaño, on Instagram or my FB fan page. And if you’re interested in trying some delicious plant-based Latin cuisine, check out my eatery: https://www.instagram.com/thevspotrestaurant/?hl=en
Thanks for reading this interview with the talented comedian Alex Carabaño. If you like to see comedy shows of Alex Carabaño we like to offer you a 20% discount to all NYC Comedy Clubs on our site. Use promo code Blog20 to save a 20% discount on shows.