alex borstein

I am Alex Borstein (Lois from Family Guy & Dawn from Getting On) Time for my AMA!

Hiya folks. Here to chat about everything Family Guy and all things Getting On.

What is your personal favorite episode of Family Guy and why? Also, who is your favorite character?

I had fun doing the ep where Peter puts a bar in the basement and Lois starts singing nightly. I also loved the ipecac scene, can’t recall which ep it was, though. “Who wants chowder?”

Out of all the dirty, raunchy things Lois has said over the years, which line is your all-time favorite?

He’s knockin’ on the back door. Should I let him in?

In the first few seasons of Family guy, compared to now – or when it came back on the air Lois’ voice is very different. Any reason why?

Both Seth and my voice has changed a lot. It seems to have gone up in pitch. No idea why. You’d think as we aged it would get deeper, but it’s the opposite.

Seth McFarlane credits you with A LOT of the jokes and writing from earlier seasons in particular – any funny stories with you and him?

Seth and I have been friends now since 1997, which is hard for me to wrap my head around. There are way too many stories and none of them appropriate for Reddit.

I heard you on the Comedy Bang Bang podcast recently and it was hilarious. What’s your experience been with improv comedy shows? How much improvising do you get to do on Family Guy?

I started at a theater in LA called ACME Comedy Theatre where we did a lot of improv in the school. Then we wrote sketches and performed them. All writing comes from improvising, it’s just not always done aloud and in front of an audience. I will very rarely alter a line in the FG script because the brilliant writers have worked their asses off to make the scripts great and who the hell do I think I am?

I know Family Guy has had a lot of controversial episodes and I bet a lot of ideas get scraped. In your opinion what episodes did you think Fox wouldn’t allow but got aired anyway?

Fox had originally banned the WHEN YOU WISH UPON A WEINSTEIN episode, but then it was released on DVD. Also PARTIAL TERMS OF ENDEARMENT.

How were you cast as Louis and how were you cast as Dawn?

I was working on MADtv at the time and the woman who had developed MAD for FOX was then developing FG with Seth. She asked me at some party if I would be willing to help out with some voices for a pilot presentation of an animated series. I says YES!!!! Then I met Seth at a recording studio a few days later and the rest is history. For Dawn, I was working with the BBC folk who were developing GETTING ON and they thought of me for the part. And thank god they did! I had just had my baby up in Seattle when I got the email regarding the audition, so I put myself on camera and emailed the audition down to LA and viola! Here I am.

Was there any sort of rivalry between MAD TV and SNL? Did a lot of the MAD TV folks try out for SNL, or vice versa?

We always wanted to be as great as SNL and as popular, but I don’t even think SNL knew we were on the air. So, no rivalry. I never auditioned for SNL, not sure about any other MAD folk.

Which quote do you hear most often from fans?

He look like a man!

What’s your favorite time of the day?

Don’t care for the day. I’m a night girl.

Which do you prefer: voice acting or being on screen and why?

I really love them both. I do find that when I do one for an extended period of time I start longing for the other one. Voiceover is great because the characters are limitless. I’m not stuck playing people that my body dictates for me. But then getting to do shows like Getting On gives me the opportunity to become the character in 3D, to use my face and my whole person to convey what I want.

What’s it like working on Showtime’s Shameless and which character is the most fun to write?

I LOVED writing on Shameless. The only bummer about doing Getting On is that the schedules conflicted and I wasn’t able to write this past season. But I did get to come back as “Lou” Frank’s sleazy lawyer, so that was fun. I always liked writing anything for Joan Cusack because you never knew how she was going to deliver it. She is truly one-of-a-kind.

What was it like to work on the early episodes of Gilmore Girls, and did you like the direction the story took in the later seasons?

I did the pilot as Sookie and had a blast. Amy Sherman Palladino is one of the most talented writer/director/creators I have ever worked with. She makes it all so easy for us actors because her words do all the work. I then did the roles of Drella and Miss Celine, which were a blast. Although having to take harp lessons wasn’t easy.

Is there a film/show that you’ve worked on that you think went under the radar?

The Lookout. Such a great movie written and directed by Scott Frank, starring Joseph Gordon Levitt

What grinds YOUR gears?

other humans in my way when i wanna do stuff

Have you ever been so furious with Seth you physically harmed him?

No. We;ve only had one “fight” in our whole relationship and it was over an ostrich. I kid you not. But he made up for it by giving me a Lois painting that now hangs in my bathroom.

If you could have a crossover Family Guy episode with any other animated franchise, which would you choose and why?

The Jetsons. Cuz flying cars…duh.

Is there anything Peter could do that would make Lois divorce him?

Nope. She’s stuck.

Are there any up-and-coming talents that you think are worth checking out?

Lateefah Holder was just on Getting On with us and I thought she was amazing. It was her very first acting gig post college.

Which character of yours is your favorite to voice and why?

I love Lois, of course, but it’s so much fun to show up and see some new random character that I get to make up a voice for. Just did a 1920’s librarian the other day that was fun.

Do you ever get annoyed/tired/etc. by your own voice?

YES! I find my voice incredibly annoying, not just when I’m doing Lois. I feel like I talk all day long and this two hour Reddit break of just typing is actually such a relief.

Are you anything like Lois in real life?

We both have vaginas, boobs and children.

How long do you estimate Family Guy will be on the air?

I’m hoping for 2025…oh my god, that could actually happen, right?

How much influence do you have in the material that makes it into the episodes of Family Guy? Or is it simply just providing the voice of Lois?

For many years I was also a writer on FG, so for those episodes I had lots of opportunity to pitch in for Lois and al the characters. And I am actually thinking that I might return as a writer next season 🙂

What’s your favorite movie?

Being There, The Jerk, Ordinary People, Defending You Life, Tootsie, A New Leaf, Wall•E

Because your name is kind of ambiguous, did you ever get mistaken for a man when sending in a resume or paperwork?

Yes. That was the reason I used Alex as a nickname, actually. It was always easier to get interviews, open mic spots and called back.

What’s on your Netflix queue?

Waiting for new Scandal season. Just finishing up The Fall and loving it!

Do you have any real life persons that you base the character of Lois Griffin on?

my cousin in Long Island. please don’t tell her

If your were a real-life Pewterschmidt heir, would you still marry someone like Peter Griffin?

Hmm, probably not, but what do I know. We all make mistakes, right? Some just happen to weigh 365lbs

Have there been any family guy jokes that you were uncomfortable with or you thought may have gone too far?

Nope. Most of the horrific stuff never makes it on the air. We have so many table reads and reviews that anything that sucks is cut.

Would you ever consider doing sketch comedy on television again?

It would have to be a really different format, just to do something new. It’s always hard to try to relive something that had it’s time already. Might feel like going back to college and living in the dorms.

What is it like to work on a television show for such a long time, and to see something as simple as a show for adults bloom into something that millions of people watch?

It is almost unheard of to get the opportunity to work this long on one project. I feel so lucky, so appreciative and aware of the fact that it could end at any moment. Life is good and I’m happy to help make some people laugh every week.

What happens when preparing to do voices with other cast members before an episode?

We all record our parts solo now. Our schedules are all nuts, so it’s no longer possible to do scenes together.

Can you tell us something about yourself that we may find surprising?

Not a huge fan of g-string underwear for men.

What did you know about Family Guy and what were your thoughts about what it might be before you auditioned?

As soon as I read the script I knew it was very different. It wasn’t like anything else I’d ever read. I had no idea it would become the cultural phenom it has, but I knew it was bent in all the right ways.

Has playing a character with such strong personality for x years impacted your own?

No, probably the opposite. I think I’ve seeped into Lois a bit 🙂

Did you enjoy dressing up in burlesque for the “Lady MadTv” video?

YES! That was so much fun. That wig was to die for. The wardrobe and make-up and hair people on that show were total unsung heroes. AMAZING!

How do you feel about the fact that women have it so much harder in comedy than men?

Women have it harder in life, so why should comedy be any different? We have old white men in suits and robes across the country deciding what we get to do with our bodies. We have little or no consequences for people who abuse us and aging is a bitch on boobies.

Why do you stay with Peter? I mean you’re such a babe and could do much better in my opinion?

Good question! I guess the heart wants what the heart wants.