Ahead of his appearance at SXSW; I got the chance to speak with Alex English of National Lampoon. Alex speaks about his career and the upcoming National Lampoon Podcast from the convention.
How did you become involved with National Lampoon?
I was on my phone while getting a pedicure and got an email from them asking me to join the cast. I was filled with so much excitement that I mistakenly kicked the woman working on my foot in the face. So I hope National Lampoon continues working with me so I can pay off the rest of that lawsuit.
With such a long history and many names of note being involved over the years; does it ever get overwhelming or humbling?
Both. My thought process is as follows: “wow, what an honor to be part of the same show that Bill Murray did” then immediately after, “oh shit, I’m part of the same show that Bill Murray did.”
How has working for National Lampoon changed you?
I grew a whole inch! Also, I think I’m getting better at characters?
How did the Podcast come about as I would assume it evolved from the radio show?
I’m not entirely sure. My theory is National Lampoon taped a bunch of comedians’ headshots to a wall then made Cole Escola and Jo Firestone throw darts at them. Wherever they landed is who they cast, so god bless their aim, I suppose.
Many topics that were considered outrageous and controversial back in the day are now fairly common in comedy. How do you push the envelope in a day when many audiences are jaded?
I try to not think too much about what the audience wants. When you create something “for” any group that’s what makes them bored, because they expect it. Surprising the audience and giving them something they didn’t even know they wanted is the most satisfying. Anything I write/perform stems from what makes me laugh first and once it’s done I hope the people who love it receive it.
How much of the show is scripted vs Improv?
The show is entirely scripted. During one recording day I tried to go off-script and Cole threw a shoe at me. It wasn’t even his own shoe. It was Jo’s. My memory is a little fuzzy on if Jo handed it to him or if he removed it from her foot himself.
What can fans expect from your show at SXSW?
Well personally you can expect the music stand with the script raised incredibly close to my face because I am cripplingly near-sighted. Also, really cool outfits. Seriously, the most effortlessly stylish cast in the biz.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my friends, as well as enemies. I love seeing live music (especially Jazz), going on walks, cooking (cereal), and watching basketball.
What other projects do you have in the works?
Presently, I’m at the 45-minute mark of my first hour of stand up that will one day soon be aired on a popular television station or streaming service.