HEAR more of Irv and Judy Borstein's stories about a younger Alex's school day antics.
LISTEN to Alex's brother Adam Borstein ruminate on class clowns from a teacher's perspective
READ and post your own class clown stories.
When you meet the Borsteins you begin to think it was overdetermined that Alex would become a comedian. She is the youngest of three kids, and the only daughter, of permissive parents - both mental health professionals. She was quick and grew up around a table of fast talkers. "Verbally, we were training with weights on at home," her brother Adam remembers; in fact, he too is a professional comedian. Alex also remembers, "If you wanted to talk about your day at school at our dinner table, you'd better do it quick and make it funny, damn it. Or no one would listen. It was a rough room!"
Alex got her first paid gig when she was 16 years old and convinced the patron of a local seedy bar to let her do standup there. She had to be chaperoned by her parents to get in for her show. She remembers that they brought the whole family to fill the bar.
Older brother Adam came to professional comedy later than she did. "When she made trouble, they sent her to drama camp. When I made trouble they clamped down and said, 'Go read Torah!' But I'm not bitter..." he explains.
Adam writes comedy and does standup. He works as a substitute teacher between gigs and so had a lot to say about funny kids - the enemy - in the classroom.
Contents Copyright 2001, National Public Radio