Alison Leiby, 39, comedian and writer


Alison Leiby, a comedian and writer whose critically acclaimed solo show, “Oh God, An Hour About Abortion,” drew packed houses to the Cherry Lane Theater, was selected as one of the New York Jewish Week’s 36 to Watch (formerly 36 Under 36). This distinction honors leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers who are making a difference in New York’s Jewish community. The New Yorker said she “succeeds at making audiences laugh at the humdrum realities of abortion during a historical moment when the subject feels red-hot and radioactive.” Leiby lives in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

For the full list of this year’s “36ers,” click here.

New York Jewish Week: Tell us more about your comedy career so far.

Leiby: My show, “Oh God, A Show About Abortion,” in New York City, has received critical acclaim from publications including Vanity Fair, Vogue, The New Yorker and the New York Times. I have been nominated for two Writers Guild of America Awards for writing on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “The President Show.”

How does your Jewish identity or experience influence your work?

The Jewish nature of questioning is part of not only my comedy, but all comedy. It might be why so many Jewish people try and are successful at comedy. Asking questions, about the world, about ourselves — that’s how you get to the kind of truths that make comedy meaningful and relatable.

What is your favorite place to eat Jewish food in New York?

Tie between Russ & Daughters and heading to Zabar’s to pick up my own spread to eat at home.

In one sentence, what was your best experience as a Jewish New Yorker?

The day I met Ilana Glazer for a drink after we had been on a stand up show together, and seven years later we’re still great friends and she is presenting my show off Broadway.

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