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Along for the Ride
Alex in a limo.
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Alex and MADtv's Will Sasso spoofing entertainment reporters at the Billboard Music Awards

alex borstein

From their first season 6 years ago, MADtv (a.k.a. the other sketch comedy show) has offered up comedy clearly written and delivered by a relatively diverse cast of men and women. The cast took big risks, not all of which paid off. But the energy they brought to bear each and every time was, and is, a lot of fun to watch. Alex joined the cast for its third season and has become one of its brightest talents.

The range of characters Alex pulls off in her sketches is stunning: Regis Philbin, Ms. Swan (an alien), the Gap Troll (a troll who lives under the Gap), Jose Carreras (in a mock 3 tenors rap), the singing secretary, a 10 year-old boy who travels with Santa to his workshop (read "sweatshop") in Nicaragua, an Entertainment Tonight reporter, the annoying baby sister, and more. Few comedians show that range on television today. And even fewer comediennes.

Some of what I guessed about Alex from her comedy turned out to be true. She is open, smart, willing to take risks. And she pulls elements from a very big, diverse world into her comedy material, so I figured she'd be hooked into many communities in the LA area where she lives. That's how we ended up at John Marshall Fundamental, a 6-12 school in Pasadena. She had been meaning to visit a teacher-friend's classes there, and I suggested that she interview her students. We had no idea when we started out that the story would evolve into a search that took Alex closer to home.

Melissa Giraud
March 3, 2001
theride@npr.org