It's an abrupt switch for the former "Seinfeld" star. The play he's directing, which opened June 30, "has a lot to say that is not positive about the current policies that seem to be going down," Alexander told The Associated Press.
"Then I come to DC and I am the star-spangled kid. So I'm covering all bases this holiday," he said.
In the play, Sam Shepard's "The God of Hell," a totalitarian government puts patriotism and loyalty above everything else, intruding into the lives and freedoms of ordinary folks. There are torture scenes, one of which recalls the hooded prisoners in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.
Alexander said he didn't think twice about accepting the offer to host the red, white and blue tribute to America that airs each year on PBS.
"What the Fourth of July should be is a celebration of American culture and our American history," he said. "I've got a lot of problems with politics these days, but I have no problems with what American democracy tries to be and what it stands for."