Alex's comedy often turns on having fun with, and easing the discomfort of, differences. For example, in school she always made the joke about her weight or height first. The characters she's known for on MADtv take the expression of their difference to a new level. They aren't just different, they're alien.
Her character Ms. Swan is from another planet. Alex's chief inspiration for Ms. Swan is her Czech immigrant grandmother who always used her foreignness and the possibility of misunderstanding to her advantage. She also based Swan on the Icelandic Rock star, Bjork, and on Andy Kaufman's character Latka.
Alison, her singing secretary character, doesn't fit in because she has an annoying tick: she sings Broadway-style stream of consciousness lyrics when she's nervous and never remembers having sung them.
The Gap Troll, although an invention of one of her MADtv writers, fits well into Alex's lifelong use of comedy. She plays an ungendered troll who lives under the Gap and doesn't let Gap shoppers enter the store until they can solve a random riddle. There are Gap buyers and Gap Trolls and Alex Borstein is most comfortable playing the troll.
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