Rising Star Eric D’Alessandro: “My dream for young kids, especially where I come from, is for them to find what makes them happy”

Yitzi Weiner
Jan 12 · 9 min read
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As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Eric D’Alessandro. New York native, Eric D’Alessandro has always found his place in the spotlight. His passion for comedy is equally credited to his creative mindset, as well as his big Italian family which inspires his raw comedic sketches and uncensored, relatable rhetoric. Having grown up with a camera in his hand, Eric created a YouTube channel where he developed his comedic skills from a young age. Through his sketches which feature original characters like “Maria Marie,” as well as impressions of celebrities like Drake and comedic covers of popular songs, his YouTube platform helped Eric build a loyal fanbase. The millions of views on his videos laid the groundwork for Eric to gain over 98k followers on Instagram. Through social media, Eric is able to share original, timely and relatable content for the everyday American. When Eric isn’t creating his comedic content, he is exploring the opportunities he once dreamed of, including acting, producing, writing and directing.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in the most perfect time in the most perfect place. The 90s on Staten Island in my neighborhood can be found in almost everything I do on stage and online. I’m the youngest of 4 children and I’m what happens if you put my 2 older brothers and my older sister in a blender. I was extremely lucky. My household was very chaotic but in the most beautiful way. They’d all let me hang out with their friends and do things that made me funnier than all the kids my age and just gave me a more mature attitude towards comedy and life in general.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I don’t remember NOT wanting to be in movies or put on skits. It was just like eating or breathing. Like I said earlier, hanging with my brothers and their friends really impacted me. One day when I was about 6 or 7 years old, I tagged along as they walked around with a video camera, just fooling around. We went back to my house and re-watched all the stupid stuff they just recorded. I couldn’t believe my eyes. We were watching a mini movie that we JUST made. It blew my mind. Ever since that day, I’ve been obsessed with making videos and it’s just grown since then.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

The most interesting story would probably be when I got a call from my agent telling me I was going to be in a movie. I never auditioned for it. I just got a call that the directors of this movie called “Nerve” saw some of my skits on YouTube and wrote me into the script. It was the coolest phone call I’ve ever gotten and was my first real time on a movie set. I soaked it all in as much as I could.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’ve made a lot of stupid mistakes. I guess one of the funniest would be telling an uptight audience that they were going to hate my next bit. That was really stupid. I basically told them not to laugh at what I was going to say next. I walked off stage like “what the hell did I just do?” I learned a very valuable lesson. Don’t ever tell an audience they may not like something because they will assume that they shouldn’t laugh. My friends enjoyed every second of my misery so at least someone found it funny.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

The most exciting thing I’m working on now is touring the country. This all has happened so fast for me. It’s insane. I’m very, very lucky. It’s super exciting. I put together an hour of material that I’m still sharpening in each city. Getting to perform my act for people in states I’ve never even been to, with people actually buying tickets to see me is just crazy. I still, kind of, don’t realize how crazy it is.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Diversity is everything. I grew up in New York City with every kind of person you can imagine. I believe that helps shape people. You can’t be discriminatory if you get to know someone. It’s almost impossible. You can only judge someone you know nothing about. If you start seeing how human and “normal” everyone is, it’s really hard to hate them. That’s what great art does. It connects us. We’re all pretty similar, so having all races, religions, sexes and genders represented is extremely important. It tears down all of those imaginary fears. It also gives kids who feel different the chance to see that they can do it too. Not all kids will have the confidence to be that courageous and pave a new path, but if you see someone who looks like you and sounds like you, you may realize you can follow your dreams too. Lastly, diversity makes EVERYONE better. That’s why I’m so proud to be from New York. We have our own language, fashion, food and music all because it’s this giant melting pot of everyone being inspired by each other. It’s the GREATEST thing for art and self-expression.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

5 things I wish someone told me when I first started?

1. It’s not as scary as you think.

I used to be so paralyzed by analyzing things and say, “what if?” You just need to try your best and not give up.

2. Do NOT stop posting on YouTube no matter what people say.

I had this fear that I’d become known too much as a “YouTuber” and “the industry” wouldn’t take me seriously as an artist or an actor. In reality, the audience I grew myself from YouTube is the reason I have anything.

3. Keep doing what’s working until people stop responding to it.

I used to run from bits or characters that worked because I didn’t want to kill them. I wanted to come with something new and different but when you’re trying to grow a fan base, you need to get known for something first. I tried to change too quickly starting out.

4. Move to Los Angeles sooner

Getting out of my house gave me the real fear and drive I needed. I put it off for too long. I don’t have any regrets about it, but I think I could have started this whole process 5 years earlier if I wasn’t so intimidated about moving out on my own.

5. Try to enjoy the ride.

I still need to hear this one. Things have progressed a lot for me in the past year and it’s hard to step back and appreciate how well you’re doing. I guess being a lifelong Mets and Knicks fan has taken its toll. If I think a happy thought, things will most likely go to hell really quick.

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Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I think the only way you’ll “burn out” is if you’re not doing what you really love. Being an artist is really difficult at times because what you love starts to feel like work. So, my advice would be to not overwhelm yourself and just try to be consistent. A nice healthy pace is the best way to go about it in my experience. If you try to do too much, you’re going to feel it.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

My dream for young kids, especially where I come from, is for them to find what makes them happy. It sounds simple and corny, but I think the world needs that. According to society, it’s okay to follow your dream when you’re younger but then when you turn 22/23 and graduate college, then everyone comes at you with the “secure job” talk where you’re not supposed to be happy, you’re supposed to be safe and have a pension. It kills dreams and pressures people into taking jobs they wouldn’t take if they won the lottery tomorrow. Finding your true purpose is so important to me and I feel that it gets labeled as immature. People pressure you about age and marriage and families, so you have all of these people just settling instead of really figuring out who they are.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have two angels from God in my life. My mother and my girlfriend. My mother has supported me in EVERYTHING I’ve ever mentioned, without question. My happiness is all that mattered to her. She didn’t care about any accolades or titles; it was all about love and happiness. I believe she gave me the confidence to want to be happy more than anything else. She shaped me as a young man growing up.

My girlfriend, Leanna, took over for her when I grew up. I’m pretty useless alone. She is my everything. Without her I’m not here, fact. She moved to LA with me and is truly the reason I’m able to get out of bed and try. I have everything I need in life because of her which makes the money and career more fun and not as scary. If I lost everything tomorrow, I’d just need her.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I don’t really have a life lesson quote I just try to remind myself that jealousy and envy are see-through. Be happy for others and don’t compare yourself. Compliment someone when something great happens to them because your jealousy is going to come across to them anyway. This business is crazy competitive and being raised Catholic, my mother also instilled that good always wins. If you’re envious, jealous and do things to get ahead by hurting others, it will catch up to you.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

I think my dream lunch would be with either Brandon Flowers, Vince McMahon or Dave Chappelle. If I HAD to pick one, I think I’d go Vince McMahon. The others I’d just gush over the whole time, but Vince McMahon seems like the most interesting person I’ve ever seen in my life and has impacted me so much. I’d love to pick his brain and try to do something together.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can follow me on everything @ericdalessandro. I know it’s too long, hard to spell and even harder to pronounce but I got to keep it real. That’s who I am.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film…

Yitzi Weiner

Written by

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Yitzi Weiner

Written by

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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