Written by Joe Scotchie Thursday, 18 July 2013 00:00
“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Roslyn’s own homegrown comedienne, Ali Bernstein, uses this quote from Mae West on her email form and since adolescence she has been making sure that this is exactly what happens to whatever audience she can find, using people and memories from her growing up years to forge a comedic identity of her own.
For Ali, it all started when she was only 15 years old. Along with her friends, she was stranded at LaGuardia Airport with a terminal full of angry New Yorkers delayed on a JetBlue flight. Ali decided to entertain the passengers with an impromptu stand-up performance. In time, the passengers temporarily forget about the delay. More importantly, Ali was awarded with a free roundtrip ticket, all of which convinced her that comedy might be a career path.
And that has turned out to be the case. In high school, Ali had a small walking part in a Saturday Night Live skit. After graduating from the University of Maryland, Ali became interested in acting for film and television. But she had also developed her own comedy routine, culled, as noted, from the Roslyn she grew up in.
“I am a native Roslynite born and raised,” Ali told The Roslyn News. “I currently live in Manhattan, but I do plan to return to Roslyn one day in the future.
“I have so many wonderful memories of growing up in Roslyn,” she added. “I hosted the high school fashion show when I was a senior, I was the president of the middle school, and in the fifth grade, I led my class out of Chinatown when we got lost on a school trip. (I called Principal Kaplan from a payphone on Essex Street.)
“My comedy truly started from my experiences growing up in Roslyn. I had been doing impressions since I was about four, but the first time I did stand-up was at age 15. My
comedy was and always has been character-based. And of course, most of my early characters were based on people from Roslyn: My driver’s education teacher, my local manicurist, and a motivational speaker who came to speak to us in middle school about alcoholism. (That was “Wendy the Snapple Lady”).
“I just finished up a run of my one-woman sketch show, ‘J.A.P.,’ which I performed at the Bryant Library as well,” Ali said. “I am now looking to turn the live show into a web series that could one day be pitched for television. I also perform improv with my improve team, Timecop. Additionally, I am doing voiceover work for two web series that are in development.”
On the comedy circuit, Ali has also performed in such acts as “Hebrew School Dropouts,” “Rosie The Irreverent,” “NYC Comedy Club Circuit” and “Caroline’s On Broadway.” Prior to “J.A.P.,” Ali’s first one-woman comedy show was the successful “Big, Bad and Pink” which sold out at clubs all over Manhattan. In addition, Ali has over a dozen film, television and theatre credits, including performances on Spike TV. Plus, she has added her talents to numerous voiceovers, including those for Toys R Us, Chiclets, Norwegian Cruise, a shower facial product and on a more serious note, for a message assisting young people with drug problems. Ali Bernstein remains a comic in perpetual motion and for those interested in following her career, all listings are on her website at www.alibernstein.com.