When most people were 14 years old, they probably didn't have the foggiest idea about which particular career path they'd eventually follow in life. Not so with Alex Lemoine, as the Valley teen believed he was destined to be a stand-up comedian.
The 16-year-old junior at Skyline High School in Mesa is arguably the Valley's youngest comedian and has spent the last couple years honing his craft at a variety of open mic nights and DIY comedy shows. He's too young to perform at such local clubs as Stand-Up Live or the Comedy Spot, but that hasn't stopped Lemoine from dreaming of someday headlining shows at such venues.
In the meantime, he'll keep dishing out the quips at venues like at the Trunk Space, where he'll celebrate his second anniversary as a jokester on Saturday during the Catawumpus 3D comedy showcase. Lemoine recently spoke to Jackalope Ranch about his embryonic career, as well as how his fellow high schoolers have helped inspired plenty of jokes.
What is your particular style of comedy? When most people think of what a teenager would be doing with stand-up, they'd probably be complaining about things. But I try to deviate from what people would expect me to do and tell jokes about things that not many teenagers would talk about. I have jokes about like death and dying, and cancer, stuff like that and serial killers too. Some of it's kind of dark...yeah, I'd say it's slightly darker material. But I also have normal jokes about food and other teenagers and things like that.
It's said that comedy is tragedy plus timing and your humor seems to typify that statement. Yeah, it does.
How did you get into comedy? Well, I just started writing some jokes and after I thought I had enough, I tried to find an open mic night I could perform at. And eventually I found one that would let a teenager perform and I went to it.
Who are some of your comedic inspirations and heroes? My biggest comedy influence is Paul F. Tompkins. He's really good. And Louis C.K. and Mitch Hedberg and people like that.
Does high school life provide you with a lot of fodder for jokes? Yes it does. A lot. I'd say most teenagers that go to my school do and say a lot of dumb stuff and that helps provide me with a lot of material.
Have they ever found out they're the butt of your jokes? I'm pretty sure they don't even know I'm a comedian. I generally just try to avoid them and observe what they're doing so I would be surprised if one of them knew about a joke I wrote about them.
Are you an outsider at your school or a loner? I'm not really sure. I mean, I have friends, so I'm not a complete loner. I'd say you could probably describe me as an outsider. Yeah, I guess that sounds good.
Are there things you won't joke about? I'm sure there's probably something but I haven't found that yet.You've performed at a lot of DIY comedy venues, correct?
Yeah, I've had to go to some indie venues to perform, like the Trunk Space, which is not like a normal comedy club. And I've sort of had to go to these other places like Cup O Karma in Mesa and make my own shows because I'm not really allowed to perform in most of the comedy clubs.
Is there an age limit for local comedy clubs? Yeah, I think I'm too young to perform there.
Has that made it hard for you to hone your craft as a comedian? Yeah, it does. Obviously since I can't perform at some of the main [comedy] places on Phoenix, I don't get as much stage time as the other comedians do.
Is it frustrating? Yeah, it's really frustrating. I really, really wish I was older so that I could go to more big places.
Excuse us, but we have to slip into guidance counselor mode for a second: The life of a stand-up comic is generally a hard one. Are your certain this is something you want to do with your life? Yeah, I really, really like doing it. It's a real passion of mine, so I think I can get through the tough stuff and build up my tolerance for it.
Like bombing? Yeah, I've bombed many, many times. Its not a good feeling, but it helps to develop my material and to make it better.
Catawampus 3D feat. Alex Lemoine, Teddy Bearskovich, Steve Marek, and Jamie Sanderson takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Trunk Space. Admission is $5.