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 the shady cell phone hookups at RadioShack to graphic design photoshopping to packing boxes in a warehouse deep in Elizabeth, NJ. All were perfectly terrible places to prepare me for the emotional roller coaster that is stand up comedy. ? I actually still have a career, before I even started performing, my brother & I opened a Latin vegan restaurant almost 13 years ago in Brooklyn. We are working with one of our restaurants at some point every single day.
2. How did you know you wanted to be a comedian?
I started doing YouTube videos & 3 of them got a nice amount of views so someone suggested that I try to do stand up. I got wasted & tried an open mic where I bombed but had one chuckle to keep me in it. I always joked around since I was a kid but I realized more recently that I really enjoy stand up comedy. I didn’t pursue it much a few years ago but now I’m somewhat addicted.
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 for YouTube or Instagram regardless which is probably a way better easier way to build followers than live comedy. ? so in actuality, I fucked up. I should have stuck with the videos!
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. Trust me, we had a blast on & off stage 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 say but I like LA’s “Amir K” who I noticed is very funny with a following that should be bigger. I saw him at the Gotham Comedy Club.
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 shows don’t matter long term which should help you feel at ease enabling you to have more fun which SHOULD lead to more laughs.
7. When did you feel like you were a pro comedian? I had to close out Broadway Comedy Club’s main Saturday show doing 25 mins because their veteran headliner canceled last minute & he’s a Comedy Cellar comic. I compiled my set from about 40 minutes of material and I made everybody laugh a lot from start to finish. So many comedians & audience came up to me after but what I won’t forget is the variety: the older gentleman from Scotland, young thugs from Brooklyn, a group of ladies from Texas, etc. It was a great feeling followed by getting handed some cash so I was feeling LITTTT. (could have been the edibles, I guess we’ll never know.)
8. How often do you perform comedy per week?
I try to perform 3 times a week minimum. I still don’t even perform as much as I’d like to because of my restaurant and other personal reasons but I now realize the importance of performing at least every other night. For a few years, I only performed maybe once a week which was the real joke assuming I’d get better that way. You just have to do it a lot in front of various audience demographics or don’t even bother. Give up that stage time, hobbyist!!
9. What are your favorite comedy clubs that you perform?
Well, I’ll always love the history and set up of Dangerfield‘s. I really like that there is a piano on stage with you too. I don’t know what it is, but thankfully I can’t remember ever having even one bad set there. Rodney & all the other legends who graced that stage empower me, I guess. ?
10. How do you deal with hecklers?
It’s rare that I’ve gotten any but if and when I do, I don’t get angry or aggressive. I sort of incorporate them and they usually end up saying something stupid that I can utilize 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. ? no lol, I would just remind myself to get on stage more often and to hang out at the good shows and/or comedy clubs. I think it’s very important to network (which I am still getting better at) but you shouldn’t just network with everyone, surround yourself around the people who are winning but humble.
12. How would you describe your brand of comedy?
I’m not quite sure. Whenever I review a set, all that goes through my mind is to yell, “Lesbian Vegan!!” at the screen. Haha, I dunno, I definitely have some energy up there because I get excited. I like to be entertaining by acting out the person I’m joking about versus just talking about them. I also try to keep it conversational so it feels like we’re all hanging out versus some TedTalk youtube commercial.
13. What do you talk about in your act?
I mostly talk about my ghetto Colombian family, working in the vegan restaurant business, playing soccer with all the immigrants of New York & the crazy dating life of the city.
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 Ramano, & Rodney Dangerfield. They all definitely have inspired me. I’ve also grown up around a lot of funny ass crazy New Yorkers 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 keep going and power through. I definitely change topics and thankfully I have a variety where usually SOMETHING will hit at some point. If it’s just going terrible, I don’t really beat myself up, I just make sure to do my full time and get the fuck out of there right after, lol… 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 restaurant. After a bad break up, I got hammered drunk and started doing open mics. I couldn’t pursue comedy back then like I intended because our restaurant got very busy but any little laugh I got kept me in it and now I’m finally focusing on it which I’m truly grateful for. I can’t believe I’ll receive unsolicited messages offering me a gig. I’m always like, “You sure you want me?? Mark Normand is out there too, ya know!”
17. When can people see it? I perform throughout New York City a few times a week plus there are some great guys who revamped our backroom at my restaurant’s East Village location and they produce two great weekly shows which I jump on if & when I’m working. My restaurant is called “VSpot” and the performance venue is called “BrickSpot Comedy.” I’m blessed but it came with a lot of drama & stress over the years so I finally feel I deserve this.
18. Is there anything else that you wish to promote?
I guess just follow Alex Carabaño on Instagram or YouTube for more. April 20th I’ll be on the gorgeous Turks & Caicos islands than in June I’ll be performing in Jamaica ? & in July, I’ll be at the Miami Improv. I am also currently setting something up in Los Angeles. Come check out a show and/or try one of my eateries. We’re in Park Slope & the East Village. And I don’t give two shits if you’re vegan or not… I just wanna pay rent!! Follow the VSPOT on Instagram
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 20% discount on shows.