To find Ali’s plays, go to New Play Exchange.

Or you can find her work in Applause Books’ She Persisted, 100 Monologues from Plays By Women available on Amazon.

Or in several Smith & Kraus anthologies, available on Amazon or on their site. 

Online writing samples:

David Sedaris Humor Prize winner – short story

The Land of Soy Milk and Honey

The month I moved to LA, I hit the ground running with the gung-ho attitude of a high ponytail. I was determined to make the most of every opportunity, every little morsel that came my way. I quickly found it was like riding a tidal wave of sheer panic upon realizing you had decided to bet your entire life on black. However, I zestfully pressed forward with fists pumped into the air ready to take on anything: life, debt, water…            

I enrolled in Groundlings improv classes upon the advice of a few actors who knew I had excelled in the inadvertent pratfall portion of my theater conservatorship. During the day, I interned for a small production company which searched for heartwarming properties that could be made into Hallmark type films. If anyone sitting in that place was being honest, or willing to break their confidentiality clause to be so, the place was really a vanity production shingle. It was a lark for a very rich housewife, Pamela, of a very rich head of another studio. There were a lot of meetings, lunches, and scripts optioned, but not a lot of production going on.             

I wanted to learn as much as I could about the business, so I was happy to be in the middle of everything. I figured it was better than waiting tables or stocking shelves somewhere, even though I was only making two hundred bucks a week. I was getting paid by Hollywood, I told myself when I would rock myself to sleep. This 9-5 (8:30ish if I was lucky) set-up made auditions impossible, but I hadn’t yet landed an agent and I could still make some of my Groundlings classes at night if traffic wasn’t too gnarly. I showed up to work plucky, happy, and smiley and I generally creeped everybody out. They most likely figured I was either A) on a new strong strain of anti-depressant their shrinks hadn’t yet told them about, or B) would one day snap and murder them.           

 I started out answering phones on a desk until eventually they let me double task as a reader. I thought this meant they trusted me. In reality, they realized they could get me to read for free instead of paying script analysts (unemployed screenwriters) to do it. I quickly learned how to do ‘coverage’, a glorified book report, on the scripts that were dumped at my desk in waist-deep piles. The most interesting one was a film version of Jane Austen’s Emma, being pitched by some outside producers. I was excited to eavesdrop on meetings and find out how they were going to make this happen in a town that usually demanded movies with explosions and high body counts. I didn’t get to hear the answer because mostly I filed papers, typed up notes, and ran errands.             

I soon learned that the indie film Swimming with Sharks with Kevin Spacey was not an exaggeration. The federal crime of, for instance, mistaking Sweet ‘N Low for Equal was grounds for dismissal, if not a humiliating dressing down in front of the entire office. I did my perfectionist best to get every detail perfect. I took copious notes, put post-its everywhere, and arrived to work early to double check that everything was in place. If I forgot to send a memo, it would wake me up in the middle of the night in a blind panic. Alas, I had no Mission Impossible way of getting inside the building before morning without tripping the alarm. If a vase of freesia was put on the wrong coffee table, it was on par with a hate crime. If I dropped a call, somewhere in an ICU a baby’s liver failed. It occurred to me that if these idiosyncrasies didn’t get in the way of daily meetings, a movie might have gotten off the ground, but I kept that efficient idea to myself.             

It was common knowledge that Pamela had many dietary restrictions. Some were preference, but others were for health reasons. We were never sure which were which, because they tended to shift with the tides, but we knew that under no circumstances were we to bring any lunches or snacks that violated her food policies. Now there were others in the office that had conflicting food allergy issues, so planning an in-office lunch took the delicate diplomacy of NATO and the calculus skills of someone who, unlike me, actually showed up to math classes in college. I tried keeping charts with different items hi-lighted in different colors. Finally, I realized that my only real job was to keep Pamela alive. Beyond that, if someone turned purple, well, they’d just have to rely on their luck with Beverly Hills 911 emergency services.           

 One day Pamela had an extended lunch meeting with some producers. They decided to order lunch in which, as she made clear, meant that there was a possibility that she could die on my watch. They selected their entrees from the menus and I called the order in to The Palm and then went to pick it up. Often if an order wasn’t correct, or it lacked pepper, or the dressing wasn’t on the side, or it was on the side and there wasn’t enough of it, or there weren’t enough napkins, or she didn’t like the texture of the napkins that were in the office kitchen, back out I went to the Palm, or Spago, or The Grill, or Mr. Chow, or The Ivy to start over. On this frabjous day, all salads with dressing on the side were consumed without incident. I sat back down at my desk and high-fived myself with the pride of someone who just made peace in the Middle East.

But then…Pamela called out to me.

Actually, she didn’t so much call out to me as throw a pen out into the hall at me, which indicated that I was being summoned into her office. I ran back into the office where she informed me that they were going to screen a movie for research and that I was to bring in a round of Perrier and popcorn. I was to make fresh popcorn, but fresh microwave popcorn, and not any that was made with palm oil. Pamela was allergic to palm oil.             

I ran into the office kitchen and rifled through the cabinets. There were several boxes of microwave popcorn, but all had palm oil as ingredients. Fuck. I grabbed my keys, ran out the door, and tore out of the garage to the closest supermarket.  At the grocery store, amongst mere civilians, I determinedly set out to complete my important film biz mission with focus and efficiency. In the snack aisle, I scoured the backs of all the microwave popcorn packages, looking for any brand that didn’t have the nefarious palm oil. I only found one, a Healthy Choice styled version. My reading the back of the package wasn’t good enough proof. I needed a second opinion, lest the words I was looking at with my eye balls weren’t the same words that were being translated by my brain juices. I called for back-up.             

“Hi. Does this have palm oil in it?” I shoved the package at the beleaguered grocery store manager. He looked it over, reading the contents.             

“No, it doesn’t look like it. No. No palm oil.”  I didn’t budge.            

“How can you be sure?” I asked. The manager looked at me like a guy who was not in the mood for my bullshit, but who was used to this type of bullshit hourly.            

“Because there is no palm oil listed in the ingredients on the package.”            

“I know that. I read it. But how can we be sure that some didn’t get in there anyway? Like some rogue palm oil…” The manager sighed.          

 “I guess we can’t be one hundred percent sure. Other than sending it to a lab and testing it.”            

“Do you do that?” I asked, hopefully.            


“Oh,” I said disappointed.           

 “But the chances of rogue palm oil forcing its way into a box of microwave popcorn from other boxes of microwave popcorn is pretty slim. I have yet to see it happen in my seven years here.”          

 “But you’re not ruling it out,” I said, warily.            

“Nope. Anything is possible. I still audition for commercials and I haven’t gotten one job in twenty years. So, I can’t say I rule anything out. But again. Probably not gonna happen.”            

I looked at him, comfortable in his supermarket vest, and suddenly I was comfortable in the knowledge that this box was a palm oil free zone. I raced back to the office, zapped the corn and put the fluffy contents into a porcelain bowl. Balancing the bowl on a tray with a group of Perriers, I entered the office beaming. Pamela gave me an exasperated sigh for interrupting and a hand motion to usher me out.            

I sat back down at my desk, sweating and breathing heavily. I was relieved Operation Popcorn had come to a close.             Another pen came flying out of the office into the hall. Then I heard a curdled scream. I stood straight up in a panic. Pamela came out of the office clutching her throat.

“Are you trying to kill me?” she half yelled, half stage whispered through a strained throat. The other women executives in an array of pastel suits gathered around her in concern. “This popcorn has palm oil in it! You’ve poisoned me!” Pamela grabbed the porcelain bowl and threw it at my head. It whooshed past me, centimeters from my face, smashing into pieces behind me.            

“Oh God, my throat is closing up. Someone call 911! Quickly!”  One of her pastel cohorts went to grab the phone. I ran for the kitchen and turned over the trash can, wading through spoiled half-eaten lunches, coffee grinds, and soiled wrappers. I found the bag from the microwave popcorn and looked again on the back. No palm oil. I ran back to the office.  

“Pamela! It says no palm oil. I even asked at the store. They said it had no palm oil! I swear. Look!” I frantically pushed the wrapper at her, trying to save myself from a lengthy murder trial. She glanced over at the wrapper. Then her entire body relaxed.             

“Oh. I thought I tasted palm oil,” she said. She looked over at the broken shards of porcelain china and popcorn strewn across the Berber carpet. 

“Clean that mess up,” she snapped, as she walked back into the office and shut the door. And thus, ended the chances of Melissa Joan Hart playing me in the Lifetime movie of my murder case.           

 I sat back down, shaking. No matter how much of a glimpse into the film business I thought this was, in reality I was really only learning about catering and PTSD. I could probably sit and answer phones anywhere and learn more about the business with less of a chance of contracting a concussion. It would be worth it to waitress, or even wear a red vest at the supermarket across the street, if I knew I was safe from having shit thrown at me. I wanted to work where I’d be appreciated. Somewhere where my employer would understand that I’m a creative human being with a life outside the walls of the office. I wanted to be taken seriously and treated humanely. 

As luck would have it, that very week a friend referred me to a Hollywood starlet who desperately needed to replace her personal assistant. I felt tingles up and down my spine, like when the universe is trying broadcast something to you. I just knew. This? This would be the perfect job.



For Pypo.com, Stephanie Laing’s comedy site

Selfie U

All the worlds a stage? No, all the world is your captive audience and we are waiting with bated breath to see what you will post next. Sex sells, and these days sex is content.  Hi gloss, hi res, pictures and pixels. 140 characters coming at us to tell us who, what, where, and more importantly, how much you are worth. We want content and we want it now. A constant stream of you and what you are up to. If an Instagram posts in the woods, does anyone really see it? Do they have wifi in the woods? I mean, why even go there?

All you Facebook junkies, fixed gear bikers, mustachio aficionados, famous pooches and lol cats listen up. Our new social media marketing workshop can teach you how to self-reflect, self-aggrandize and selfie yourself to stardom!

Doing donuts on your hover board like Wiz Khalifa? Don’t let that shit go unnoticed. Keep the camera rolling until the ambulance comes. We want to see every second of your life. Sunsets all day, son. Can’t get enough of the daily diaries that show us the human condition. Food pics. We can’t smell it or taste it, but we love seeing what you’re about to chow down on. It tells us that you have enough disposable income, and the will to leave your house. Don’t forget, any hipster b.s. you can overshare to make sure everyone knows you got rezzies at the hottest spot in town, can be made shinier and prettier in a filter like Ludwig or Valencia. Foam art bubbling on an eight dollar free trade coffee, vacation pics, baby pics…so many baby pics. Most importantly, don’t forget guilt by association: You with Jonah Hill at that movie thing you won tickets to. You with Tiesto at that club you got into that one time. You with Grumpy Cat.

Want to get a million more followers? Show us. Get more clicks and swipes by showing your derriere. Filters and airbrushing required of course. Get your tits out and empower women everywhere like Kim. Where would women be without Kim’s Instagram account? Likely without the vote. Show people who you are and what you believe in. Fight income inequality. Snap a pic of you carpooling in your Lamborghini. Bonus points if you color coordinate. Stand for climate change. Show them you only wear natural fabrics while doing super slow pans of a walk-in closet of everyone’s dreams. If you don’t have one yet? Well, that’s what credit cards are for. You may be able to fudge a photo at a store like Alexander McQueen and make it look like your closet at home. The shop girls will give you attitude for wearing jammies and slippers in their store, but you want the photo to be realistic.

Want to take your online image to the next level? Increase your twitter following/sell a script/get a book deal. Start by ‘aggregating’ some comedy bits from others like The Fat Jew. As the saying goes, ask for forgiveness, not permission, or ask for a lawyer to get you out of trouble later. Whatever, just post what’s funny to get you looking smart and your profile looking hot!

It doesn’t matter what you say, it’s how loud you say it and to how many people. Gandhi could have had a Twitter page, but if that diaper wearing lame ass only had 500 followers, no one would hear him whine about how hungry he was. But you? You can say anything and if 500,000 people are listening, you can fart and the world will retweet.

As long as they notice you.


– See more at: https://www.pypo.com/selfie-u/#sthash.hIwy07wA.dpuf