The daily grind: bringing laughter to the people

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

Alex Elkin doesn’t view his comedy in glamorous terms.

The always-entertaining Alex Elkin. Courtesy photo.

The Oregon-based comic sees what he does as a daily grind just like most other jobs. But that’s partly what he sees as the source of his appeal. He’s not out to court favor with Hollywood bigwigs or the special-interest Twitter brigade — he’s just putting together his act one show at a time. Local residents can join the party when he hits the 219 Lounge Friday, May 10. The doors open at 7 p.m. with the show starting at 8 p.m., and tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.

“I hope (my approach to comedy) endears me to the men and women of Sandpoint that are doing the same thing — they’re out there working the grind every day,” Elkin said.

As Elkin indicates in the title of his Amazon Prime comedy special, audience members under 30 years old need not apply for his brand of comedy — or at least not those who aren’t willing to take a joke. Elkin believes that everything and everyone is fair game for comedy, no matter what certain people may consider to be politically, socially or culturally untouchable.

“I feel like if we can’t laugh at everything, we can’t laugh at anything,” he said.

That includes himself, and he’s more than happy to make fun of his own looks and physical characteristics. He only asks that audience members look at themselves with that same good humor.

“The moment I step on somebody’s personal space, they feel like that joke was written about them specifically,” he said of some past experiences at live shows.

At the same time, he’s not out to impress the Hollywood bigshots who gate-keep the comedy scene in the biggest markets. Instead, Elkin believes in getting out around the country to venues like the Niner in Sandpoint.

“I don’t know how anyone could develop a comedy act in LA,” Elkin said. “Moving to Oregon was the best decision I ever made in comedy.”

When he travels, he makes sure every show is different. Each performance is tailored to the individual audience, and Elkin relies extensively on improvisation to keep his act fresh. His material ranges from riffs on current events to reflections on his own life as a father and a husband to his wife of 16 years.

It’s an approach to comedy that seems to be resonating with audiences. His latest album, “Screaming at Shapes,” debuted on iTunes at number six, outperforming some of Elkin’s comedy heroes like Weird Al Yankovich for a time. His embrace of the work of comedy — getting out, performing shows and writing new material — has also won him allies in comics like Morgan Preston, one of the brains behind the resurgence of stand-up comedy in Sandpoint.

“He does quality productions, I do quality comedy,” Elkin said. “We’re a perfect match.”

Check out for yourself why stand-up comedy is a hit in Sandpoint when Elkin performs at the Niner Friday, May 10. And check out Elkin’s new album, “Screaming at Shapes,” on Spotify, iTunes and Pandora.

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