Keith Alberstadt, A Good Clean Apostle of Comedy!
Keith Alberstadt is a comedic force to be reckoned with. He’s the most brilliant stand-up comic I’ve ever seen live. If I could see him perform a few times a week, I would never have to go to the gym. His antics and humor will work your abs like a twelve round bought with Mike Tyson. He’s from Nashville, Tennessee, and makes Tennessee proud!
Keith has been on Letterman. He is a contributing writer for Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, and has been overseas performing for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the son of a professor at Vanderbilt University and a craft artist. A recent visit to my video store (yes, those still exist!), I noticed his face, in a space helmet, and inside a rocket ship in The Apostles of Comedy: Onwards and Upwards, a Christian family-based stand-up comedy DVD starring himself alongside Jeff Allen and Ron Pearson—a must rent or buy depending on your love of Comedy (Four Stars for sure). Get to know Keith. He’s one of the greats; he will never fail you when you need a good laugh. He was gracious enough to take a break from his extensive touring schedule to speak with me.
How did you get hooked up with The Apostles of Comedy?
“I heard my face could be photo-shopped inside an astronaut suit, so naturally I jumped at the chance like any normal American. Seriously, I don’t work that particular circuit. I perform around New York City and on the road in comedy clubs, but my comedy is on the cleaner side. When I heard about the chance to bring that to an audience that normally doesn’t go to clubs, I thought it was a terrific opportunity. Besides, being from Nashville, I’ve known Jeff Allen for years. He’s one of my favorite people out there, so the idea of performing with him was too good to pass up.”
Do you have a particular set of jokes depending on the crowds you perform in front of?
“Kind of… But generally, I try to make my material as relatable as possible to any audience. Part of the fun of doing comedy is the challenge of making everyone laugh, regardless of age or demographics. The only time I switch it up is when I’m performing for the troops… They love military material. Plus I get to end my normal jokes with “Hoorah!”
You are the most brilliant comedian I have ever seen live. How do you stay so creative?
“You’re very kind, but it’s not that hard being creative. Every day I take a peek at my latest bank statement. It’s good motivation to write and make sure this telling jokes thing works out. I’ve been writing creatively since grade school. To me, it’s not work. It’s making a career out of something that people usually would do for fun, if they ever find time for it.”
You have been on Letterman a few times. Did those performances make you nervous?
“Yes, they can be nerve racking for sure, but I just remind myself it’s something I’ve worked hard for. So it ultimately comes down to having fun, enjoying the moment, and making sure my fly is up.”
What is your favorite Bible quote?
“Any verse which reminds us to not be afraid, which is the Bible’s most common refrain. Those passages help make things more manageable, like stress and flying Southwest.”
Do you think Vanderbilt will win the SEC in Football this year?
“Absolutely… Especially if I can change my previous answer to the story of David and Goliath. But yes, I believe!!
Let’s. Go. Dores!!! Anchor Down.”
How did you get into comedy?
“During high school, out of nowhere, I began to crave tons of coffee, long drives, and staying up late telling stories. So my guidance counselor suggested I try stand-up comedy, or interning with gypsies. I’ve always enjoyed being creative, and making people laugh. I started doing open mic nights in college, and things just snowballed. I still get calls from the gypsies, though. Some people have a hard time moving on, I guess.”
Who are you favorite comics? Which ones influence you?
“Kathleen Madigan, Brian Regan, Greg Giraldo, Louis CK, and Jim Gaffigan top the list. Each have a unique style and an honesty that’s truly awe inspiring. A lot of my influence, however, comes from family—my mom was very creative and witty, and my dad and brother are hilarious, sometimes without even realizing it.”