As a graduate of Second City’s Conservatory program, and an ex-pageant queen, Ali overcame disabilities and found a love of the spotlight. Her southern charm, and quick witted, often time bitingly sarcastic, digs at herself prove that she truly is a raw and optimistic comic.
On Getting Started:
After I graduated [college], I moved to Louisville Kentucky to be an acting apprentice at Actors Theatre of Louisville. At the time I had been writing my first one-woman show, Deborah DuBois, which was a comparison of my Mama to Blanche DuBois from A Street Car Named Desire. Writing a theatrical solo show is very different than writing stand-up but I did not know that at the time; so I decided to do five minutes on different vagina names. Not only did people not laugh, but there were quite a few women who wanted to punch me in the face. I still have a page and a half of different vagina names that I’m determined to use someday.
Comedians are survivors. We have had crazy experiences, been to the bottom, and have somehow survived growing up with our families. I think comedians tell jokes, myself included, because we chose to not give up; to not lie down and cry about life’s hardships. Instead we choose to make fun of the good the bad and the ugly.
I’ve been doing stand-up for the past four and a half years, but I’ve been a comedian my whole life. I got tested and found out I had an entire rainbow of learning disabilities (LD) when I was eight. I’m Dyslexic, Dyscalculic, and ADHD which basically means I’ve spent a lot of time feeling stupid. I wasn’t excelling in school and sports were not for me because I had the coordination of a drunk toddler; so mama decided pageants would help me get some self-esteem.
On Unique Perspectives:
I think being a southern bisexual gives me a unique perspective. I have so many family members that are so close-minded. They think marriage should be between a white man and white woman. I could spend my time and energy trying to make them see the light of day but I can’t change who people are, I can only change myself. So, I choose to love them as they are and write jokes about their stupidity.
On Women In Comedy:
There are currently two times more female stand-ups in Chicago than there were when I started. Amy Schumer has blown up this past year. A large portion of Chelsea Handler‘s writing staff is female. Fortune Feimster is a personal fav; she’s also from NC and I think we should be best friends even though we’ve never met. Us ladies are making strides!
On Comedic Triumphs:
I moved to Chicago so I could study comedy and the last four years have been a wild ride. I graduated from the conservatory at Second City, I ran an open mic for a year, I’ve gotten drunk and went I stage when I shouldn’t, I finally started talking about being bi on stage and about the biggest southern no no of all (dating black men), I wrote and performed my one-woman show I’m Different, Not Dumb, I’ve been featured in TBS Just For Laughs Chicago three years in a row, and I was on BET this year.
Ali is currently working on a web show called What Am I Looking At. She is also a part of an all female comedy group called WhiBlasian with Kelly Howard and Leah Eva. Check her out on Tumblr and on Twitter @AliClayton86.
Check out the full schedule of performers at BridgetownComedy.com.