Whether you consider yourself a comedy aficionado or you’re just someone who enjoys a good laugh — and who doesn’t — you’ve likely enjoyed the influence of Andrew Alexander in the world of comedy. The well-known producer has helped develop the careers of some of the most famous names in his field, including Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Jim Belushi, Andrea Martin, and Steve Carell. Since he’s had such an outsized impact in the comedy world, we’ve taken some time to share his efforts with our readers. Below you’ll find an overview of the producer’s lifelong journey that’s helped him shape his field in many profound ways.
The early work of Andrew Alexander wasn’t as focused on comedy as some people might think, given the impact he would later have. He studied at Tri-State College in Indiana and Ryerson University in Toronto and would go on to hold a number of jobs as he sought out his passion. This work included time as a cab driver, waiter, tree salesman, magazine editor, and more. At that time in his life, like many twenty-somethings, he was still trying to find himself. Though his eventual career would lead him in a different direction than those first endeavors, he still credits that time in his life for informing his later work in comedy.
The first indication that he might be suited for a role in the world of comedy came about in the mid-1970s after he was in the audience for an improv show in Chicago. Though the field of improv was quite a bit different than the force that has since become a springboard for some of the world’s most prolific comedians, it was already an area of much interest in those days. Watching those shows, the producer began to feel he was really connecting with the art form. He found himself enjoying it in a genuine way that he felt others might also get benefit from.
The producer has long talked about the role his work has played in the lives of others in terms of building joy and laughter wherever possible. That idea was present even when he first was struck by the power of live comedy all those years ago in Chicago. He felt that if he could help spread the feeling that he was getting from watching those talented performers, then he might be able to make a lasting and positive impact on the world at large.
Building his work
In the years that followed, the producer did just that. He took that spirit to make an impact back with him to Toronto and began producing and developing comedic theater shows. The shows quickly became a well-respected part of the city’s comedy scene and began drawing audiences in increasingly larger numbers. It seems he was correct in his sense that this style of comedy would resonate with people across the world since his work began to help define a new era of comedy that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s.
In the process of building out his work in theater, the producer also worked with a wide range of performers that would distinguish themselves throughout their collaborations. Many of these performers would go on to perform on the world stage through live comedy, television, and films. In many ways, the producer’s efforts began to be known not just for the ways in which they made people laugh in the moment, but also for the ways in which they helped contribute to the careers of many of the people that would later become some of comedy’s biggest stars.
Following the success of his work in Toronto, the producer began to expand his efforts elsewhere. Famously, he would also bring his efforts back with him to Chicago, the city that first helped spark his love of comedy. Through his work in that city, he helped establish it as a center of comedy that has almost served as a rite of passage for those seeking a career on the national stage. In fact, to this day, many performers still spend time in the city honing their chops, so to speak, before moving on to opportunities elsewhere.
As his work became increasingly well known, the producer brought his efforts to even more audiences around the country. He eventually began splitting his time between Chicago and Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world. Over the course of this continued expansion, he pitched, produced, and developed content for television and films with some of the largest media outlets in the business. This has included work with NBC, ABC, CBS, HBO, Showtime, Disney, and more. The clearer it became that the producer was able to connect with audiences through his comedic sensibilities, the more these networks and studios sought him out for a chance to work together.
Throughout his storied career, the producer has been known for his influence on the world of comedy, but he’s also long sought to make an impact beyond his work on the stage or screen. Much of this has centered on his participation with various organizations to help support performers and others in the field of entertainment, without whom he knows his work would not be possible. Perhaps one of the best-known examples of these efforts is his collaboration with the Alumni Fund, which seeks to assist actors and entertainment support staff during times of illness or economic hardship.
No matter what walk of life you come from, it’s likely that comedy has had an impact on your daily experience. The ability for the field to bring a sense of joy or humor to some of life’s most troubling times can be a true godsend for individuals around the world. The role that Andrew Alexander has played in helping to develop our modern conception of comedy has helped further that mission in more ways than one. His efforts to produce and develop content while also furthering the careers of many comedic greats have firmly cemented him in the halls of comedy history. The producer’s efforts to bring his talents beyond the field of comedy have also shown his capability to make an impact in other areas as well, a pursuit that many around the world are watching with great expectations.