By Gab Bonesso
Pittsburgh Current Contributing Writer
Brittany Alexis seems like a modern-day superhero. She’s a criminal prosecutor by day and a standup comedian by night. She keeps our humble city both safe and entertained. It’s hard to believe she’s not some super-creation by the late Stan Lee.
Since this is my first installment of, “This Tastes Funny,” I let Brittany choose the spot. She wanted to try the rooftop bar at the Commoner which is located in the Hotel Monaco near the Courthouse.
I’ve never been to the hotel or the bar so I was excited for the experience. I walked into the lobby and was advised by the concierge to take the elevator to the top floor.
Like most adults with ADHD, I can’t just ride the elevator without also playing on my iPhone. Hence when the elevator door opened I got off of the elevator without realizing that I was not on the correct floor.
I began walking through the halls of the hotel which were creepily reminiscent of the Overlook Hotel from The Shining.
Seriously, the dark, floral wallpaper was both claustrophobic and hallucination-inducing. The only thing missing were twin girls with pigtails insisting that I play with them. I couldn’t wait to get back onto the elevator and away from this Stanley Kubrick nightmare.
Focused and fearful, I got back onto the elevator to finally reach the correct destination. Alexis arrives looking like a legal badass wearing this orange/red business suit that definitely gave her a Wonder Woman vibe.
Neither of us were very hungry nor were we in the mood for booze, so we opted for a couple of appetizers: fresh pretzel sticks and homemade potato chips. We split a bottle of sparkling apple juice and connected over memories of childhood New Year’s Eve parties where that was the non-alcoholic drink of choice.
As with all superheroes, I needed to know Alexis’ origin story in comedy. I knew she started while finishing up law school/preparing for the bar exam, so I was curious if she also took a standup comedy class.
“It’s super weird. Essentially what happened was I went to Hambone’s with my neighbor because I kept seeing cool food specials they had on the menu,” Alexis says. So, we went one Monday when we were both free and there was a comedy show. I met Joey (Marchi) who was hosting, and I said ‘That was really cool, I want to try it,’ and he said all right. And I went back the next week and that’s it. It’s super weird.”
That was June 2017 when she started her comedy journey. I first worked with Alexis in November 2017 and was immediately impressed with her content and her stage presence.
A joke of hers that always gets a laugh is when she opens her set saying, “I’m sure when you heard my name you were expecting a blonde, white girl. That’s okay. Jobs expect that too, and I get a lot of interviews as a result.”
Our pretzel sticks arrive and they were half the size of a Louisville Slugger. They are charged individually and when I inquired how big they were, our waiter said that they are a quarter of the size of a full pretzel. I asked how many he recommended we order and he suggested 3-4. I got 4 (since the Current is paying) and we ate 2. Dammit! Server Up Charge: 1, Current Bank Account: 0. Our homemade chips also arrived and well… We barely ate them. I would have preferred a bag of Utz to be honest.
I was curious what Alexis’ comedy goals are since she has a such a demanding day job.
“It’s a hobby. It’s good for me,” she says. “It forces me not to just work, work, work. My family is very happy I have this outlet. It also makes me stronger as a public speaker. It’s for fun. If it ever stops being fun then I’ll stop, but I don’t see that happening.”
At this point I tell her that I hope she never quits because currently she has my favorite comedy bit in the city.
She does this whole thing about how she wants to be rich or as she calls it, “flat-earth rich.” She then talks about people who believe the Earth is flat like the rapper B.O.B. (“which is just long for Bob”).
It’s such a funny bit and she builds her case for the Earth being round with funny punchline after funny punchline.
She’s really figured out a way to use her skill set as an attorney and translate that into her comedic voice. That combination is definitely what sets Alexis apart from other young comics. She already knows her voice and now she’s just building her material to grow her set.
As both an attorney and a comedian, Brittany Alexis is young and just getting started. She’s a self-described Type-A personality (but only about things that pertain to her life). She is content focusing on the now of her career rather than worrying about tomorrow.
I’m a full-time daydreamer so I had to ask if she would be willing to put law on hold if she were offered an incredible comedic opportunity.
“If it was a good enough opportunity I think it would be worth it,” she says. “I would definitely keep my license active and I have a very deep love of the law so I don’t see myself leaving it entirely; but it’s also a profession where you can go on to do other things and always come back to it.”
We finish our sparkling apple juice like two seven-year-olds on New Year’s Eve night and wrap up our Commoner experience. I don’t think we tried the right items on the menu and I’m sure if we were drinking, it might have made the chips taste better.
I insist Brittany rides the elevator with me because I’m afraid of Jack Torrence and room 237. We get to the lobby and walk together towards our cars. As we separate I begin to imagine her first Netflix special–Brittany Alexis: A Round (the) World Tour