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Alex Borstein on Life After Divorce and “Mrs. Maisel”

Happily, Alex Borstein, who has a new comedy special, is just as much of a badass as she is as Suzy on "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."

Watching Alex Borstein talk to the audience during her new Amazon musical comedy special, Alex Borstein: Corsets & Clown Suits, you can’t help but see a little bit of Susie, her no-nonsense, brutally honest character on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

In real life, the veteran comedian is just as much of a badass, voraciously unafraid to speak her mind about a variety of provocative topics. Talking openly about loss and the death of her marriage, Borstein will instill a sense of empathy in her viewers who may well be reminded about their own failed relationships.

Borstein compares divorce to ‘coming out of a 20-year coma.’ 

“I have spent 40 years of my life in a clown suit,” she acknowledged during the special. “Twenty years I have spent with the same person. Only it turns out, I didn’t really know that person. My perception was way off. The joke was on me. The clown has been clowned.” 

Borstein, thankfully, is one plucky chick, and she was determined to find herself again, moving to Barcelona with her two children. Comparing divorce as “coming out of a 20-year coma,” she was tasked with navigating in this new arena, redefining her life as a newly single woman. “Post-divorce, I would do anything to be seen . . . anything.”

Read More: The Brilliance of Hacks: It’s About Facing Failure through a Female Lens

Laughing in the Dark

The talented actress is especially endearing while performing in front of a live audience, as she tackled other subjects that piss her off, like abortion legislation, aging, motherhood, childbirth, menstruation, and super heroes. Borstein was equally passionate about women’s equity and trans-equality, and she even joked about a subject most comedians don’t touch: Hitler. 

‘I think to some extent, you kind of have to joke about things and keep them in the conversation.’

“In my special, I have certain jokes that some people might be like, ‘Oh, that’s not a good idea, you might be further darkening the antisemitic line,’” she told NextTribe. “But I think to some extent, you kind of have to joke about things and keep them in the conversation. By shutting up completely, you completely stop the conversation.”

Amid the recent wave of antisemitism, Borstein often happily expresses her Jewish heritage through hilarious social media posts as well. 

“For each of us, that kind of sharing on that kind of tiny personal level, where someone looking at their phone late at night sees someone who celebrates this, or is doing Shabbat, or someone whose work they like, and then they find out they happen to be Jewish—that’s really the strongest thing you can do, I think, to combat the ugliness of antisemitism or hate of any particular people,” she noted. 

“You have to humanize each person and kinda educate just by sharing.”

The Voice

While you may know Borstein as the animated voice of Lois Griffin on FOX’s Family Guy for the past 21 seasons, you may not know she can sing! One of the many bright spots in the special is hearing her sing David Bowie songs and other fun ’80s tunes with her two band members on stage. Together their band is called The Amstergang.

The special is a wonderful distraction to Borstein’s legion of fans who are very sad that Maisel is ending after its fifth season.

“They always say most comedians really want to be rock stars!” she enthused. “I love singing more than anything; it’s one of my biggest joys. I just love it. I think in this capacity, it’s perfect for me–being able to storytell and then intersperse it with song. To me, it’s the best of all worlds.”

The special is a wonderful distraction to Borstein’s legion of fans who are very sad that Maisel is ending after its fifth season.

“It’s devastating that it’s ending,” Borstein said. “It really feels like a funeral in some ways. It’s like a death. It’s hard because you’re saying goodbye to your character and then you’re also saying goodbye to all these people you worked with. So it’s a double whammy.”

Goodbye to Maisel

Among her very favorite memories working on Maisel is that very first episode in the first season.

‘We talk about not wanting to be insignificant in this world. That hit very close to home.’

“There’s that pivotal moment in the pilot where I sit with [Rachel Brosnahan’s character] Midge at The Gaslight, and I tell her I think she should be doing stand-up, and we talk about not wanting to be insignificant in this world,” said Borstein. “That hit very close to home, and I think so many people are feeling or have felt that in their lives. So that’s a really strong memory.”

The last few days of filming the show are equally special to her. “You know, I’ll never forget looking Rachel in the face and saying things like, ‘Tits up’ [a fun expression they say to get Midge to be a badass performing on stage] and knowing it’s going to be for the last time. That was emotional. That was a lot!” 

Borstein also loved the swimming scene in Miami, which she notes was “torturous, but also fun and ridiculous.” She adds: “I know I’ll never do anything like that again in my life. That’s a big, big shiny memory!” And who doesn’t love lots of those?

Read More: How Surviving Cancer and Rape Taught Fran Drescher to Fully Embrace Life


Alex Borstein: Corsets & Clown Suits is now streaming on Prime Video. You can also catch her in FOX’s Family Guy as the animated voice of Lois Griffin and in season five of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

By Susan Hornik


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