If you don't know by now, Alex Barnett is very Jewish and very married to a black woman. And, if you didn't know that- well then, you must not be keeping up with his comedy because it's kind of his shtick since he's dubbed as the Multiracial Family Man. But no worries! I intend to fill you in on this hilarious bundle of a person.
I first saw Alex perform at The Stand (if you can't tell by now, it's one of my favorite comedy clubs in NYC). I wasn't sure what to expect since he didn't look like the typical comedian, in his seemingly business casual attire, as he stood stage left waiting his turn to perform. In fact, for awhile I thought he was an audience member just trying to get a better view. But clearly, I was wrong and what a delight it was to be wrong in this instance because Alex came with full energy and a set packed with laugh wrenching jokes.
Much like how I was surprised that he was a comedian, I was also surprised to hear him open with "My wife is dark with a big afro...". My attention immediately perked up because for some reason, I always find it interesting to learn that a white man is coupled with a black woman. It seems to be so much more common the other way around and despite having friends in interracial relationships and shows like Scandal broadcasting the reality- it still has that unicorn effect on me. Alex has found a way to flawlessly bring awareness to the challenges, injustices, and misconceptions about multiracial families, especially life as a biracial child, all while making you cry with laughter. And, not in a "I can say this because my bestfriend is black" kind of way (we all know that person *eye roll*).
I have biracial nieces and nephews and sadly, I have to admit, I never spent much time pondering what their experience is like and how they (or if they) struggle with their identity. And, that's mostly because... well, Alex put it best: "Biracial just means black, in America". Yes, yes... applaud my ignorance. But, it's this kind of humor that we need more of. The kind that educates and makes us aware of our surroundings. The kind of humor that inspires conversation and forces us out of our comfort zones. Have you ever wondered what a biracial boy expects from his white father? Or how about a biracial girl with her kinky, coily hair asking her straight haired Asian mother for hair advice? And in reverse, how do the parents feel being responsible for providing the best guidance to their children?
Thanks for helping bring awareness to multiracial issues in America, Alex!