my city : Alexis Guerreros
Alexis Guerreros : Comedian, Writer, Podcast Host, Soccer Super Fan, & Pizza Expert
Hitting the Pavement with Alexis
I met up with Alexis at the end of his podcast recording for "Show Me Your Bits". This week he had LA comedian Chris Millhouse as a guest, the two say their goodbyes and we get on our way. (I photograph the photos that accompany this weekly podcast recording so this is something that's also become part of my weekly routine.)
We quickly head downtown to grab an iced latte. The "coffee ritual" before heading out for the day or prior to a show is something that's common for many comics and Alexis is no exception. We are tight on time - we start out on the train but end up taking a cab the rest of the way. I am slowing him down today & he is not shy about reminding me.
What did you do today I ask. "Did laundry today. Prepared for my podcast, prepped for my show". Me: "thats it?" Him: "What do you mean thats it!?!?? ok if you must know Follow up emails for tickets to my show, finalized social media stuff for the show. Uploaded a podcast, recorded a podcast, Confirmed guests that signed up online, forwarded that list to the hostess, confirmed the comics, reached out to the guest sets. Finished a joke".
We are on our way to Fair Folks & A Goat. A coffee shop, store, artists space. For a flat fee he can frequent the space as much as he wants and drink as many lattes, iced tea, or coffee - and use their wifi. "It's a great little spot and the price is great for what you get." Community is very important to him, it's why he likes the building he lives in, comedy, soccer and small business.
Alexis is a huge supporter of Mom and Pop/ small business. "I like going into a place and they know you, you're a regular, they know what you want before you do, its comforting". There are coffee places in his hood, but not like this (normally he buys his coffee from the taco cart on Broadway so he can discuss soccer with the owner and listen to him complain about his son) so trekking a little further for a coffee or food is not something unusual if it means supporting a small business.
From there he has a few errands to run in that area and needs to pick up items for the show tonight. We walk, and walk. As we walk I get an education about random landmarks we are passing and their significance to NYC history. At one point we walk past NYU (a school he was accepted into but didn't attend because it was too expensive) Are you upset that you didn't go to NYU? I ask. "Nah not at all. I would have never met you. I would have never met the love of my life... The love of my wife. haha see what I did there?" He continues to laugh, and just keeps laughing. I don't even think it's that funny. But honestly I love when he does this. I actually love when any comedian does this. When they come up with something on the spot and make themselves laugh. For Alexis I have learned to treasure this cause Im seeing him in his rawest form. Its hasnt been thought out, tried and reworked at mics, or texted about at 2am with other comedians. You're getting a joke or quip/bit whatever as its born. And its so funny to them that they cannot even get it out fast enough. They dont even care if you think its funny. And I didnt. But that didnt stop him from laughing and continuing to repeat it to me as we walked up 5th ave.
Whenever you walk around the city with Alexis he always runs into someone he knows. I ask him if he thinks thats gonna happen today. "I doubt we are gonna see a lot of comics on 5th avenue" with a laugh. 10 minutes later we run into a fellow comedian. This happens again as soon as we step off the train in LIC.
While on train, he looks over his set, answers more texts about the show for tonight and corresponds more with the club manager. He then looks up at me - "No one on my podcast has heard any of my bits. Most of my guests have seen me live and me perform....I've done 60 episodes of other peoples bits. But never of my own. I was thinking of bringing a comic back for the 100th but now I think I might do one of my own. Not sure who will interview me? A round table? Not sure. I've been doing this for two years and never thought about it till now."
We arrive in Long Island City and make our first stop at The Creek and the Cave, Alexis catches up with some comedians quickly as he has 25 minutes to spare before his show. On our way to Laughing Devil he brings me to Peteys Burgers which is a place he will grab a burger at when he's in LIC. "The burgers are pretty good, they are allegedly the In & Out Burger recipe..I don't know cause Ive never had In & Out but a lot of West Coast comics say they are similar."
At this point I'm starving. So is Alexis. I ask him if he's gonna grab something to eat and he tells me no. We will wait until he gets to his spot at the STAND (for his show) as he will get a discounted meal for performing. Do you stop for a drink? No, not unless I get a drink as part of me performing. When we get to The Devil I'll have a beer cause I'm on the show.
"Since I was a kid I wanted to be a comic. One of my earlier memories.... I went downstairs as a kid at a party and I see my grandfather at the table. He has complete control of the whole room , by making them laugh. And I thought to myself.. I want to know how to do that. As a kid I thought, how does he make them all laugh? I thought he was super human... I couldn't imagine having that much control over people."
We are greeted at Laughing Devil by Tommy and a dog "Emily Brown" (she belongs to the neighboring restaurant). He's at Laughing Devil tonight for a spot on Tommy's Comedy Show/Podcast.
Alexis is back on the phone with the club manager about his show tonight regarding reservations and too many comps on the list he excuses himself to work on that again. When he returns he is still texting back and forth about the show. "I just want to get there to see how many people have showed up, we have sold a lot of tickets, they are afraid we are going to oversell. Which is a good and bad thing."
He's finished with his set, he thanks the staff. Its quick goodbyes and then a rush to the train, as we are on an even tighter timeline now.
"The difference between running a show at a club vs bar. At a bar it's all on on you. You're at the mercy of the venue. At a club more people will go. Club promotes. We are in a tough spot cause Tuesday at 10 is hard for the club to begin with. It's hard for us. They are looking at us for a miracle to fill it again. It's our 2nd show here. Our first was a major success and we were turning people away. There's pressure to do it again and not be a fluke. You want to look good for the club. Normally I'm against producing a show at a club, but this club actually wanted this show and asked us to move it. Which is positive for us. It's rough cause you are what you do best. So we want a great show and work hard to produce it, but you'd rather be known for your jokes and not your show. So eventually we want it to be "oh wow let's go to Illuminati Party to see Alexis , to see Mike." No one is doing that yet. Well maybe but we don't know about it. Right now it about having a fun show, being different and the audience having a good time."
After two trains and a bus we finally make it to The Stand. When we arrive the crowd is minimal, but as we near closer to showtime its another sellout. Mike & Alexis quickly grab dinner pre show Go over their set list, guest spots, lineup.
An employee of the club walks by and congratulates them "This is great, you packed it out again." Simultaneously they both look at each other "Hopefully we can do it again next month."
Alexis' New York
The streets: just being outside. One of the reasons I love living here is the energy. I feel like I'm a part of the city when I'm outside, moving with the energy. I don't wear head phones, don't listen to music. I'm like apart of whats happening outside. We don't use cars, we are walking everywhere, thats where you see people, you're apart of a community. That's where you see your community happening - You're more likely to see your neighbor outside than in your own building. The Energy is nonstop. People moved here to be something (most of em) there's this energy from having all those people together moving around. As far as America's concerned it ancient. Like to the rest of the world they laugh when they hear ancient. But for us 200-300 years is a long time.
My Apt: it's my little bit of NYC that's actually mine. Even though I don't own it. I love living where multiple generations have grown up
The Stand Comedy Club: cause even though comedy is a community that feels like the home base of the community for me. For me it's exactly what I wanted when I wanted to be a comic, was a place like the Stand. I don't know if everyone would share the same sentiment but for me it's like that.
Blondies: First place in NYC that I felt like a regular. Best wings in NYC, also it's the type of place I would have driven in from NJ to go to.
Carmine& Bleecker Streets. I took my wife on a date there to a restaurant 15 years ago and even though the place isn't there anymore a lot of what I love is there. And even though the neighborhood has changed a lot when I walk in that hood I think about how I used to to sit there and dream about living in NYC
Hell's Kitchen: my wife and I used to go to dinner there so much when I was making her fall in love with NYC and every time I'm there it reminds me of those times.
Frankie's Sputino in BK: The cavatelli and sausage. just sitting at the bar and eating.
Brooklyn flea Fort Greene: reminds me of coming into the city on the weekends with my wife when we lived in Jersey.
Gradisca: We celebrated our first two anniversaries there and of course Mama (the owners Mother). We had a great birthday party there too, when i go there it reminds me of NY - its rustic and real. This place signifies rustic Italian to me.
The People: You don't come NYC to do nothing. Its too hard to survive here, you have to do something. People come here to do something. Everyone you run into is here to do something, they have a passion. An activity. Something their doing, everyone has a THING. You cannot survive NY doing nothing, the only people doing nothing are people living with their mom or in a cheap apartment. Everyone else has to struggle to make it, you have to do something to make it in the city. The point being : People don't move here to do nothing, and if you are here doing nothing..move cause you're taking an apartment away from someone that wants to do something.