Strange. Over the top. Weird. Hilarious.
Those are just a few of the descriptors Toronto Film School’s self-appointed class clown, Alex Almeida, rhymed off the top of his head recently when asked to characterize his approach to stand-up comedy.
“When I was younger, I was definitely seen as the class clown. My mind moves a mile a minute, and I had no clue where to apply all this energy…so I used to think that I was this weird, strange little kid just bouncing around the high school halls,” said the 25-year-old Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre student, who will be performing at Yuk Yuk’s Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
“But now I’m doing stand-up…I think embracing all those things that you find weird about yourself – but that actually make you uniquely you – is important, because that’s what sets you apart from everybody else.
“Besides, ‘normal’ doesn’t lift people up. No one goes out to see ‘normal’, they go out to see us – they go out to see the people who are weird, who are strange, who are hilarious.”
Citing fellow Canadian Jim Carrey as his biggest comedy influence, the “over-the-top” Cambridge, Ontario native guarantees that all who come out to see his five-minute set during Yuk Yuk’s upcoming New Talent Showcase are “gonna laugh their butts off.”
After all, he’s spent nearly the last year since his first-ever appearance at the famous comedy club learning to calm his nerves, hone his craft, shape his material, and eliminate the word ‘um’ from his vocabulary.
“Last time, I was really nervous and I said ‘um’ a lot. I also felt like I was kind of speeding through my jokes, because I wanted to get to the next one, I wanted to get the laugh done, and I didn’t want to leave any dead air,” he explained, noting that he’s since learned the value of such comedic pauses.
“This this time I want to come in feeling more prepared in the sense that my set is more seamless, I want to enjoy the dead air, and I want to promote it better…it’s a great thing to have your friends come out and watch you. I love doing stand-up, and I want to keep the art alive.”
To those ends, Almeida said his Yuk Yuk’s comedy set this time around could run the gamut – revolving around everything from his personal experiences as a server, to his “crazy” dating life, to his unique observations on subjects ranging from relationships, to the TTC, to fast food.
“I like to write about the fun things I experience in the crazy city that I live in. I like to always make it personable and relatable…but also kind of out the window, so people can relate, but also laugh at the ridiculousness.”
He’d also like to keeps things a bit looser on stage this time around, and credits Toronto Film School’s Clown and Improv classes for helping him quicken his on-stage wit.
“One thing I didn’t realize I needed help with was my ability to really let go of what I want people to laugh at, and what I think people want to see or hear. Those classes let my brain kind of open up and be ready for any type of joke, any type of conversation, any type of witty comeback,” Almeida said.
“When I was doing comedy before TFS, it was kind of a little bit scripted, a little bit rehearsed. But being able to do improv, it lets me be in the moment…so my brain can zip off and do all these funny things I didn’t realize before.”
At the end of the day, Almeida said he’ll be happy if his second ever Yuk Yuk’s set brightens just one person’s day.
“I feel like life is hard enough to endure day to day as it is, because we all have so much going on, so I think being able to help someone escape their world for five minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes…it’s a fantastic feeling,” he said.
“I just want to spread positivity…Everyone needs some form of escapism and comedy is one that lets people enjoy themselves. The main reason I do it is for other people.”