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Alumni & Friends

Alumna Alex Borstein smiles as she stands wearing a matching pink jacket and skirt and holding a tiny purse daintily to the sideFunny Business

As Alex Borstein (B.A., '92) tells the story, one risqué song brought an end to her comedy performances on campus during the early 1990s. "Someone complained to the administration," she recalls during a telephone interview. "The song really wasn't that bad."

In a failed attempt to prove her point, Borstein proceeds to sing the song in question. Thankfully, she is not on speakerphone.

Borstein's student comedy troupe may have lost their regular gigs at Mary Ward Hall, but it didn't hurt her career. She went on to do stand-up across the country and to act on the silver screen, most recently in "Catwoman" in a supporting role to Halle Berry.

At SFSU, Borstein earned her degree in speech and communication in just three years, then headed to Los Angeles. After a successful audition for "MADtv," she spent five seasons as a regular cast member on the sketch comedy show.

The self-deprecating comedian, who jokes that she's "five-feet tall and five-feet wide," believes that she can be a role model to young females simply by maintaining a visible presence in the entertainment business.

"It's okay to be different and you can't be as different as me and Halle Berry," she says.

Borstein has been carrying that message to audiences across the country in her comedy show, "Alex Borstein: Drop Dead Gorgeous in a Down-to-Earth Bombshell Sort of Way." Soon to be released on DVD, the one-woman show focuses on her search for more realistic female role models in movies and on TV.

Borstein has also been in the recording studio preparing for the upcoming season of "Family Guy." The off-beat animated series will be back on FOX in June. Borstein is co-producer and the voice of Lois Griffin, mother to Stewie (the baby intent on world domination). She can also be spotted from time to time in a recurring role as the bitter harpist named Drella on the WB's "Gilmore Girls."

Fans still approach Borstein with requests for a few words from her best-known character from her "MADtv" days -- the unintelligible, yet strangely endearing Ms. Swan, a woman remembered best for the catch phrase, "He look like a man." Borstein hopes to begin shooting a film based on the character this summer.

The comedian has come a long way from her first live performance which she traces back to childhood. The gig? A living room stand-up act for relatives at Passover.

"It was my first big break and I think that's true for a lot of Jewish performers," she says. "Passover can be your first drunk crowd, and probably the warmest and most receptive one you'll ever have."

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