Alex Edelman’s Roaring Fork Valley homecoming
Valley favorite takes the mic in Snowmass on Wednesday
There was a time not too long ago that stand-up comedian Alex Edelman wasn’t sure he would ever get back up in front of a mic. It was mid-pandemic, around August, the status of live performing arts still in limbo, and Edelman got to thinking about the state of his profession.
“I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll never do stand-up again, or stand-up will never exist again, or people will ever want to see stand up again,’” he said in a July 13 phone interview.
He was, mercifully, wrong. Edelman is back on the live comedy circuit with several shows under his belt and two sets slated for Wednesday night at The Collective Hall in Snowmass Base Village as part of the Snowmass Live performance series. The desire for stand-up is there too: Tickets for both the 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. shows are waitlist-only on Eventbrite.
Still, there’s an adjustment period that comes with getting back into the swing of things.
“Some days I feel like a baby deer, but some days I feel good, and some days I’m like, ‘Man, I’m not back to 100% yet.’ … You do something every night for six years, and you get used to it, and taking a year and a half break changes how you feel about it, and I still feel like part of me is working out how I feel,” he said.
One thing he is feeling good about is the return to the Aspen area, a near-annual stop for the Boston-born, New York-based comic who has made multiple appearances at the Aspen Laugh Festival and scored a headliner gig at the Wheeler Opera House in 2019.
“If I’m being honest, I love the people, the people there are really nice to me, and it’s become a bit of a third home I guess — but not in a way that the super wealthy folks in town, you know, have their homes,” Edelman said.
“That was a joke, by the way,” he quipped. The way Edelman sees it, Aspen likes him back, too.
Recurring appearances have allowed him to build a community here in the local arts and culture scene, forging longstanding working relationships with folks like Maddy Overton and Gena Buhler at the Wheeler Opera House, he said. (Buhler has since moved on from her role as director of the Wheeler to new ventures, one of which involves booking the comics — Edelman included — for the Snowmass Live comedy series.)
“I just know these people, and I know they run a tight ship and care a lot about their comedians and care a lot about culture in Aspen,” Edelman said. “And every time I go, I’m excited, one, to perform for the people there, and two, to be, you know, performing in a venue, in an environment that I know is like really excited to have me, and three, just to see all the people again, like I come back, really psyched to see the folks who I saw the time before.”
Buhler can attest to that sense of a kinship between Edelman and the valley community because she helped make it happen as a booker on the local comedy scene; the two have forged a professional friendship through a collaboration that spans nearly five years, Buhler said in a phone call Monday.
“I think the great thing about the whole Roaring Fork Valley’s connection to Alex Edelman is that he’s been in the community and able to grow his show and his relationship with the community over the years. … It’s not just about coming here when you’re big and everybody knows you and you have the Netflix shows and the podcast and everything else,” Buhler said. “But that early-on relationship with that growth of a comic is something that I think is special and unique, and Alex has been able to do that with this community.”
As Edelman’s comedic style evolves, he’s getting more involved in longer-form comedy; think more hour-long sets rather than a tight 25 minutes. That’s been more demanding, he said, but a welcome challenge, too.
For now, Edelman’s glad to be out among people again, not just as a performer but as an avid people-watcher and as someone who appreciates social connections.
“I forgot how much I’ve missed strangers, or their capacity for becoming new friends, and so I’m excited to get that back,” he said.
He’s even encouraging those strangers (potential friends, rather) to reach out with recommendations for local must-dos and must-sees in the area while he’s here — not that they need the encouragement, he noted.
“Unsolicited, people have reached out to let me know that I should go somewhere or eat something or visit somewhere, and I figure that I might as well cut them off at the path and just say this is now solicited. … If people have things that they want me to see or do they should definitely message me on Instagram, because I really, I love coming to Aspen and I cannot wait to come back honestly,” he said. “It’s going to be great.”
To join the waitlist for Alex Edelman tickets, go to bit.ly/edelman-smass.
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Aspen’s annual comedy festival has canceled for the second year in a row because of the coronavirus pandemic.