Lez Stand Out: Bridgetown Comedy Fest

Ali Clayton

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.

On Inspiration:

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.

What’s Next?

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.