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Friday, February 15, 2013

Q&A with Alex Koll: Another Local Comedian Heads to New York

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM

  • Mindy Tucker
  • Alex Koll

One of the most visible, prolific, and best of San Francisco's stand-up comedians, and a co-founder of The Business (SF Weekly's 2012 Best Night of Cheap Comedy), Alex Koll is, well, leaving us. Though raised in L.A., he has lived in the Bay Area since he was a teenager, and this is where he cut his teeth as a comic.

We've seen Alex on several occasions, and his inventive, high-energy sets straddle that perfect, difficult fine line in comedy: They have an improvised, loose feel, while bearing all the hallmarks of hard work and high polish. You'll have one more chance to see him before he goes. On Monday, Koll headlines at the Punch Line for one last big show.

Koll took some time with us for a short "exit interview" to talk about his years as a San Franciscan.

Why are you relocating to New York?

Rent is just too cheap here! Oh, and I want all the pastrami. I grew up in L.A. and lived in the Bay since I was a teen. I love both, but I kind of have this strong desire to live on an unfamiliar coast. I'm a naturally curious guy, so maybe that desire comes from the same place as my desire to see what dog food tastes like. But either of those desires are rife with adventure!

What do you see as the biggest benefit to your career in moving to New York?

More of everything. More shows to do, more of my writing partners live there, more work, more opportunity ... more rent and more pastrami. I want to overdose on comedy.

Will The Business continue without you?

Absolutely! The Business has been booming this last year and continues to as we settle in to 2013. Two of its four founders Sean Kean and Bucky Sinister (myself and Chris Garcia being the other two) are still in the Bay. They are keeping the show going strong every Wednesday night at The Dark Room Theater on Mission, along with the amazing Caitlin Gill and our newest "employee," Nato Green.

Former S.F. Business members Chris Garcia and Chris Thayer both moved to L.A. last year and started a chapter of The Business there, which is thriving as well. So we're not going anywhere anytime soon, in fact we seem to be expanding. Perhaps there is a Business NY in the future.

What will you miss most about San Francisco and the S.F. comedy scene?

I'm speculating the ample green space here in S.F. will be heavily missed. I've been to Central Park and still think it's got nothing on Golden Gate. No windmills! I'm curious how my long-running #onthebus Twitter reports will make the jump to #onthesubway ... if at all. Not every city's filthy, semi-dangerous public transportation has ample wi-fi like MUNI and BART.

The Bay Area is a place of great stage time, smart audiences, and a really diverse comedy/performance community. The scene here is so fertile and creative and nurturing. I'm going to miss the audiences and all the folks here I get to be part of the scene with. I'm very lucky to have the S.F. Punch Line as my home club; it's one of the best clubs in the country. I know when I come back here it'll be like a thirsty man stumbling upon a crystal clear river.... that's not too dramatic, is it?

So I guess I will miss everything. This is the greatest place to live. Really. Please don't make me second guess this move. Wait ... pastrami ... okay, I'm good to go.

Alex Koll performs at the Punch Line at 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18. Admission is $16. The Business continues every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at the Dark Room.

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Casey Burchby


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