The first thing you'll notice about talking to Ali Macofsky is that she's observant. Like, really observant.
She’s sarcastic, biting, and quick. She's got the DNA of the old school like Norm MacDonald, but is distinctive with her candor and deadpan delivery.
Macofsky can turn a phrase at breakneck speed, using self-deprecation as a metaphor to bring the audience together, but within a moment's notice, pull them apart again with a joke delivering on a cerebral level.
Just check out her Just for Laughs set from 2019 about Googling how to orgasm, and you'll hear threads that are razor-thin but link a narrative together that crushes thanks to its relatability:
A set like that is a clear indicator of why she's one of the best new comics in the game.
Seated at probably the smallest P. Terry's burger stand in Austin, Macofsky was eager to eat, "you're popping my Terry's Cherry. I've wanted to try this."
We didn't order a simple combo meal. Instead, we gorged. Spicy chicken sandwich, a double cheeseburger, and then fries - all we were missing was a few large milkshakes to top off the coronary clogged afternoon. The double cheese was meant to be split in half so she could try it. When they gave us two, and she tore into hers, I had to match her voracity.
Being a native Californian, she also crossed one of the unspoken cultural no-no’s, "In & Out is overrated. It's a decent burger. I’d never tell someone they have to eat there."
Having lived in Texas for the last eight years, this made me like her immediately.
As the tailpipe fumes from the endless stream of cars, looking for a sack of grease to bring home to the family knocked a few minutes off our life expectancy, we touched on age, experience, and what makes her happy.
It's an interesting paradigm shift when talking about the lens of life experience, and point of view because Macofsky is young - twenty-five years young. Which in the comedy world, much like baseball or writing, it's infrequent to see someone rise who's not at least in their early 30's.
With her demeanor and humility, you'd never know, just over a decade ago, she was "Lil Ali" making prank calls for Ryan Seacrest on local Los Angeles radio.
"Being on the radio as a kid was a huge influence. I was like you can be funny for money? And that was it. That was the job I wanted. Once I found that out, it was pretty much ruined for me."
And she's not slowed down since hitting the LA comedy scene, earning regular spots at the Comedy Store, as well as touring nationally – all before getting that "after 30" cheaper car insurance.
And she embraces her age by being active on social media, "I don't watch reality tv shows, I don't care about seven rich women who live in Orange County and are housewives. I want to know what this bitch Britney from my high school is doing."
Sitting at our small, strawberry red table, people notice Macofsky and want to talk to her. A
n old man decked out in his weekend the University of Texas burnt orange gear came over the table, asking if we were comedians, "I've got an old buddy who does comedy. He's out in Bakersfield, California!"
And the older timer gave us his name, proud to share for a moment that could relate.
Makofsky was earnest. She hadn't heard of his friend, working the smoky lounges somewhere out in the murk northeast of Los Angeles, featured in Sam Tallant's Chasing the Light, but left the old-timer happy that he'd just met someone being interviewed, a personal cool point for the day.
Taking a sip of water, she smiled, "I love sweet old men."
A younger kid hung on the perimeter, getting the perfect angle to make sure it was her, and once she noticed this, offered a quick hello, making the young cat's day, even complimenting him on his shirt, leaving him an adorable shade of fuchsia.
As the grackles chirped in the distance, we danced on the knife's edge of identity as a not only a younger comic but also a female one, spending a lot of time around men.
"I try to be a good feminist, but I'm not a perfect one. In LA it feels like people are always trying to do the right thing. And I always don't know what the right thing is."
It's that acute sensibility that's precisely why her comedy thrives. There are no absolutes, she can see the situation on all sides, which equates to a more robust worldview, and stronger comedy because it's observational, and genuine.
"I want to be in the middle. I don't want to be so polarizing or isolating. I think the best kind of people are the ones who are changeable.”
As we wrapped up our meal, she added, “The word 'woke' sucks. I want to be progressive. I want to be up with the times. I don't want to be some crotchety bitch. How can I do that, but also poke fun at certain things? People don't understand sarcasm or satire."
Looking at her phone, she had to go, she was recording an episode of her podcast with rapper, Danny Brown, she was optimistic about her future, "I used to think I knew everything. I knew what to say, where to go, and I realized, the more I don't know, the better experience I'm going to have. I try not to know everything."
I don't think there's a better point of view one can have.
We should all be so lucky to share her worldview. It would make life a lot easier and probably a lot funnier.