Sep 27, 2013
07:10 AM
Arts & Entertainment

"Jason Alexander and His Hair" Bring One-Man Show to Hartford's Bushnell

"Jason Alexander and His Hair" Bring One-Man Show to Hartford's Bushnell

Jason Alexander is coming to The Bushnell in Hartford in early October to perform his hilarious one man show, "An Evening With Jason Alexander and His Hair," a comedy variety show that features stand-up comedy, music, improvisation, and audience participation, according to the Bushnell's website.

The performance is presented as WRCH’s 16th Annual Nite of Lite Laughter, Oct. 4 at The Bushnell. Tickets start at $38, with proceeds to benefit the Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital.

Tickets can be purchased The Bushnell Box Office, by phone 860-987-5900, or online at www.bushnell.org.For more information, visit bushnell.org.

Connecticut Magazine caught up with Alexander in advance of the Bushnell show to chat about Seinfeld and more.

How the show developed: “When I first started doing anything near this kind of performing seven years ago, I began by doing a character, Donny Clay. I never appeared as myself; I was always Donny. Donny was billed as America’s fourth-leading motivational guru, but the premise of the show was that I was actually the world’s worst motivational speaker. All the comedy happened through my interactions with the audience, teaching them ‘life lessons,’ and of course I was the biggest schmo in the room. That show did beautifully; it worked its way to a nice run in Las Vegas—but what we found was that my agents were running themselves ragged trying to sell it. Finally, they turned to me in frustration and said, ‘Can’t you just be you?’ Well, I got into acting so I could hide from people. So I thought, ‘If I go out in this hairpiece I wear occasionally—for various and sundry reasons—and I have to account for that, that’d be a funny way to introduce myself to the audience as me, but I’d still have this little buffer of it’s not the real me.”

What Jerry Seinfeld taught him about comedy, part I: “What Jerry became known for was pointing a finger at things that everyone has experienced to some degree or other. His particular genius is seeing the thing that no one else sees in that experience. We’ve all lost a sock in the dryer, and we’ve all thought, ‘Where the hell does it go?,’ but Jerry does a whole routine about runaway socks. I can’t go near his imagination. But the idea of looking at things that are universal and playing with them in that way is something I’ve picked up from him.”

Part II: “Most of the shows I do are really PG-16. I may say, ‘goddamn,’ or ‘crap,’ or ‘ass,’ but I’m not dropping f-bombs. Jerry really has a work ethic about that: It’s not that he’s afraid to use foul language, he just thinks it’s low-hanging fruit. He prides himself on finding the laugh without having to go there. Given the audiences I generally play to, I’ve learned to admire that trait rather than think, ‘Oh, if I could just say “s--t” here, it’d be so much easier!’”

On the public fascination with his hair(piece): “The reaction is different from different people. Bald men, who I get a lot of flak from, say ‘Hey, you’re throwing us all under the bus. What’s wrong with being bald?’ My answer is, ‘Nothing. I’m bald.’ I make no bones about it. I haven’t become non-bald; I just cover it sometimes.”

Why he was attracted to comedic acting: “I wasn’t. The truth is, as a teenager, when I first became intent on being a performer, I wasn’t interested in comedy; I didn’t think of myself as funny. I was a ‘Star Trek’ nut; Bill Shatner was my idol—he was not intentionally funny as Kirk—so I wanted those big, dramatic roles. When I went to Boston University, one of the drama professors was a man named Jim Spruill. He called me into his office during my sophomore year and said, ‘I know that your heart and soul is Hamlet, and that you’d be magnificent in the role. But look in the mirror. Nobody’s going to cast you as Hamlet. So you better get good at Falstaff.’ I now enjoy immensely the fact that I can make people laugh, but I’ve never, ever been completely comfortable with it. It’s still not the thing that comes most naturally to me.”

What does come naturally: “My friends will tell you I probably should have gone into politics or teaching. I love engaging with people on areas of common ground or disagreement. Twice, during Barack Obama’s presidential runs, I’ve been on his surrogate squad. I’ve been able to get into some really fascinating conversations with people who disagree with most of the things I believe in, without antagonizing or belittling them. I feel that I’ve been able to expand my own thinking as well as others’. That excites me more than anything else.”

 

"Jason Alexander and His Hair" Bring One-Man Show to Hartford's Bushnell

Reader Comments

comments powered by Disqus
 
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed