It was November 2019 when we said a fond goodbye to Portland comedian Alex Falcone, who after winning Portland’s Funniest Person 2018, and becoming a featured performer on Portlandia, as well as an occasional contributor to this publication, moved to Los Angeles to build on his already promising career. He also got married to a woman who everyone pretty much agrees is an “objectively great” person. But then… surprise! PANDEMIC.
The Mercury didn’t hear anything from Alex for awhile, until the very welcome announcement that not only was he featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in July of this year, he's returning to record his debut comedy album on 800 Pound Gorilla Records at Mississippi Studios this Saturday, October 2 with special guest (and former Portlander/Mercury columnist) Bri Pruett. That’s going to be a really good show… so we decided to catch up with Alex to find out what he’s been up to, and more importantly, how his objectively great wife is doing.
MERCURY: The last time I interviewed you it was November 2019, just as you were moving to Los Angeles. That means you arrived in a brand new city just in time for the greatest year in the history of humankind: 2020. How did that work out for you?
ALEX: That's true, I moved to LA to hang out and they promptly outlawed hanging out. Not ideal. On the other hand, my Portland friends were suddenly way more into talking on the phone than they would have been, so it made the transition a lot easier. Plus with the whole industry shut down it put off my having to try at all, which was nice. I'm not one of those weirdos who flourished during panda, but I did a lot of corporate Christmas parties over Zoom and had a bit of success as a TikTok-er, so it could have been a lot worse.
You made your national TV debut on Late Show with Stephen Colbert this past July—and you were funny! But I gotta say that spending the entire set talking about how great your wife is (and she is objectively great) was a bold choice. How did you decide on what material to perform for your debut?
There's this trope in classic late night sets from the 80s/90s where a guy comes on and just talks shit about his wife for five minutes. And it's awful. It's also disingenuous for me because, as you noted, my wife is the coolest. So I thought it would be interesting to flip it around and do a themed set saying positive things about my wife. I was extremely lucky to find a show that was willing to take a risk on something as wildly different as stand-up about a healthy relationship.
What’s it like backstage at the Colbert show? In particular I want to know about snacks, but would appreciate any interesting anecdote.
I recorded my set on the very first day the show was back in their theater, so the staff was just so happy to see each other that everybody was hugging and crying all the time and I just pretended that was because they were thrilled to have me on the show.
I'm a big fan of Stephen's band leader, Oscar-winning composer Jon Batiste, but I didn't get to see him until I was out on stage. I was so starstruck seeing him when I came jogging out, that I gave him a little finger gun like THE BIGGEST DORK. I have absolutely no memory of doing it, but it's there on the tape and real embarrassing. I never give people finger guns! Jon doesn't give people finger guns! Where did the finger gun come from?!?
Oh, and the snacks. I don't know if it was panda related, but the snacks were pretty standard. But they did have these cookies my wife really likes, so I stole a bag and brought them home since she couldn't come to the taping. Ugh, I'm doing it again, aren't I? The snacks were fine.
Tell us about this comedy album recording session you have lined up for this weekend. Is it all about your wife? (Who, once again, is objectively great, so I wouldn’t mind.)
I grew up listening to comedy albums, so I've always dreamed of having one of my own. But at this point it's kinda like dreaming of owning a really nice horse-drawn carriage after cars came out, or owning a really cool local alternative newspaper after the internet came out. It's a weird choice. Fortunately, there's still a market selling comedy albums to SiriusXM for truckers to listen to so they don't fall asleep. That's what's making it possible for me to reach this career milestone. I'll definitely talk about my wife, but since I've already done that on TV it wouldn't be as groundbreaking here. Instead, it'll be all of the best jokes I've written over the last 10 years—or at least the ones I think truck drivers would like.
Interesting… but back to your wife. How is she, by the way?
This is starting to get weird. She's good, but she's, um, taken.
I don’t see her as the type of person who would enjoy being labeled as “taken”... but I’m happy for you both. Anyway, now that you’re a Los Angeles expert, what’s the one thing that Portland should copy about LA, and conversely, what should LA steal from Portland?
The main thing LA should steal from Portland is trees. There are palm trees here and they look good on postcards, but they do fuckall in terms of treeness. Really miss trees.
On the flip side, there's this great ice cream place down the street from me called Salt & Straw; Portland should get one of those. There's also a Blue Star Donuts not too far away, and the coffee shop on my block sells Stumptown and Heart coffee. Hopefully they all make it up to you someday.
Alex Falcone w/ special guest Bri Pruett, Saturday Oct 2,
7:30 pm UPDATE: THE FIRST SHOW HAS SOLD OUT AND A 10 PM SHOW HAS BEEN ADDED, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, $15, tickets here. Hopefully his wife will be there, too.