Substitute teacher by day, stand-up comedian by night

Elina Bishoyi | The Chronicle

From the art of stand-up to the classrooms of Mason High School (MHS), substitute teacher Alex Schubert practices connecting with different audiences. 

Alex Schubert has been doing stand-up comedy since 2012. As an aspiring full-time comedian, Schubert began his career performing at local comedy centers in Cincinnati at the age of 19.

“I started writing jokes in high school to pass the time when I got home from

school,” Schubert said. “The moment I left high school, I knew I wanted to do [stand-up], so I just started doing open mics almost immediately after I left high school.”

Drawing inspiration from professional comedians as a high schooler, Schubert said he knew that stand-up comedy was his dream occupation, but also knew of the challenges that accompanied pursuing it.

“Stand-up comedy is one of the hardest art forms,” Schubert said. “You’re by yourself with a microphone with [the audience] staring at you.”

Having worked with the IMPACT Innovation program, a program to provide adults with autism with employment opportunities at the University of Cincinnati (UC), Schubert said he enjoyed working with people. He decided to carry that interest with him to substitute teaching at Mason High School (MHS) alongside performing stand-up comedy.

“A lot of comics just have normal jobs,” Schubert said. “So I [teach] during the day and do stand-up at night. [Substitute teaching] has been awesome. I’ve gotten to meet so many really cool kids. ”

Pursuing his passion for stand-up, Schubert said he majored in Communications at UC to hone his public speaking skills as a stand-up comedian. Schubert said that his strengths have always been focused on writing, an ability that is important in stand-up comedy.

“Right now I call [stand-up] my “jobby,” Schubert said. “Sometimes it’s my job, and sometimes I’m at an open mic just to work stuff out for fun. Stand-up is a long grind. You hope you get lucky, which is a long ride, but it’s also a ride to get better. ”

Aside from performing his passions on the stage, Schubert said that stand-up provided him with [work ethics] that have helped him in other aspects of his life.

“It’s best to not be afraid of [failures], and learn from them when they do happen,” Schubert said. “No matter what you do, whether it’s comedy or not, you should always strive to get better.”

Schubert has been substitute teaching since January 2019. Schubert said that stand-up comedy has allowed him to build connections with students.

“One thing I encourage kids to do, because of stand-up, is to have a passion outside of their typical daily life,” Schubert said. “It’s a great way to make friends as an adult when [they] meet people with common interests.”

Schubert said that the flexible nature of both substitute teaching and comedy has proved useful to him in furthering all of his diverse interests. Performing in multiple cities outside of Cincinnati, Schubert said he has enjoyed the unique opportunities stand-up comedy provides him.

“Stand-up is my excuse to travel anywhere in the country,” Schubert said. “I can go to basically any big city in America and find places to perform and, if I’m lucky, get booked on a couple [of] shows.”

Schubert said that the lessons he has learned through stand-up comedy have translated beyond the stage and to the classrooms he helps teach.

“Anytime I get a chance to talk to a kid one on one I ask, ‘What makes you happy?’” Schubert said. “If it’s music, poetry or art, pursue that. Have a passion outside of your daily grind.”