The title of Ted Alexandro’s new special derives from his proud declaration that he is “44, single, never married, no kids. I did it!” It serves as both a memorable joke and a fantastic setup for the beginning of his new special, filmed last August at The Creek and the Cave comedy club in Long Island City, Queens.
The first half of the show delves into the perks of singledom, as he deems himself a role model for young singles. It’s fruitful ground for Alexandro to explore, serving as a springboard for material on everything from throwing away salad to the messiness of love to the similarity between sex and guns.
Like many comics, his personal material is his strongest. His description of himself as not old but “retired from trying to be young,” segues perfectly into a bit about his declining interest in sex as he enters middle age. Not all of the material flies; there are some iffy domestic-violence jokes that aren’t quite strong enough to justify the horrendousness of the subject matter, and some bits about porn and dick pics don’t shed much new light on these much-covered subjects.
There’s a fairly noticeable switch midway through the special, and the second half feels more like a hodgepodge of bits, likely cobbled together from short club sets. They’re solid jokes of varying quality, hitting topics like magicians, classical music, George Zimmerman and Oprah. There are also a few bits about exercise classes and drunken neighbors that allow for some moments of physicality, and a rant about the unfairness of presidential debates that even he admits doesn’t quite qualify as comedy.
Alexandro is a staple of the New York comedy scene—Time Out New York named him one of the city’s comedy linchpins, and he co-founded the New York Comedians Coalition, which fought to raise wages for club performers. He is, in many ways, the epitome of the dependable NYC city comic, guaranteed to improve any show that he’s on.
Unfortunately, given that pedigree, this special lets him down. The growing trend of filming stand-up specials in small venues (other recently examples include Sarah Silverman’s We Are Miracles and Morgan Murphy’s Irish Goodbye) seeks to recreate the fun of an intimate, tight-knit room, but often ends up just feeling small. Though the crowd for Alexandro’s show is receptive, and the laughs surely felt significant in the 50-seat theater at the Creek, the audience response seems timid without the black-box context.
Overall, I Did It just doesn’t give him the chance to shine. It may serve as a fair introduction to Alexandro’s style for those unfamiliar with his admirable trajectory, but it doesn’t truly showcase just why he is one of the quickest, most socially minded working comics on the scene today. Alexandro is a better comic than this special allows him to be.