Bostonian comedian. Jew. Sweetheart. Alex Edelman’s first show, Millennial – about very traumatic stock photos and young people – won the Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Newcomer, the first show by an American to do so since 1997. The follow-up, Everything Handed to You – about identity and the availability of plug sockets in airports – was even more acclaimed: selling out its entire Edinburgh run and was the second best reviewed of any comedy show at the Festival. It was also filmed in its entirety for a special called Live From the BBC, which is currently available on Netflix.
The 29 year old’s third stand up show ‘Just For Us’ is what comes next and has already received a Barry Award nomination in Australia. The show this year – a return to the fringe after a two year break – comes to the prestigious Pleasance Courtyard Cabaret Bar for the month of August. It’s his best work to date.
‘Just for Us’ covers many different topics – Edelman’s newly-minted Olympian brother, a surprising encounter with Prince William at the BAFTAs, his ADHD, what being “brave” means in this political climate and a gorilla that can do sign language are all given hilarious space – but at its astonishing centre is one significant and unfortunately timely story. After a strongly anti-Semitic strain of online abuse was directed at Edelman in January of 2018, he decided to covertly attend a meeting of those same anti-Semites in a New York City apartment. The result was an explosive confrontation…
Having cut his comedy teeth while at NYU in 2008 (where he was taught by professors like Zadie Smith and Susan Orlean), the New York Underground Comedy Festival quickly recognised Alex as one of the city’s ‘Best Comedians Under 25’. Soon he was across the pond on British soil with invitations to perform at noted comedy and music festivals such as Glastonbury, T in the Park, Machynlleth, Latitude, Bestival, End of The Road and Edinburgh.
His debut, award-winning Edinburgh show ‘Millennial’ went onto be recorded for a BBC Radio 4’s stand-up special that was included within Radio 4’s ‘Pick of the Week’ and chosen for Radio 4’s ‘Comedy of the Week’. He garnered a second nomination for Best Newcomer at the 2015 Chortle Comedy Awards & invitations to perform across the globe including San Francisco Sketchfest, New York Comedy Festival, Leicester, Brighton, Lund (Sweden), Melbourne and many more. Alex also completed three sell-out runs at London’s noted comedy haunt The Soho Theatre, supported Simon Amstell on tour, developing various television & radio projects, and travelled to Berlin and Moscow with Eddie Izzard to perform two shows to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Over the last two years Alex has split his time between the UK and America, where he was a writer for ‘The Great Indoors’ sitcom starring Joel McHale and Stephen Fry. The first series of the show was extended twice for CBS in the United States and aired in its entirety on ITV2. After production wrapped, he returned to the UK to record a two-part series for Radio 4 entitled, ‘Alex Edelman’s Peer Group.’ It has since been recommissioned for a second series at twice the length. Most recently, Edelman made his late-night American TV debut on ‘Conan’, completed high-profile support slots for Ricky Gervais’ West Coast run, and, curiously, opened more than a dozen shows for musicians Ryan Adams and Beck (!) on their 2017 US tours.