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Thursday, June 04, 2015

Welcome Back, Elayne

Last week, my wife and I were wondering whatever happened to Elayne Boosler. She was one of our favorite comedians of the eighties and nineties, who stood apart from female comics of the previous generation (Joan Rivers, Totie Fields) in that she didn't do self-deprecating humor. She was topical and modern, a clever writer with a sharp wit and great stage presence.

In 1986, Boosler became the first woman to get her own hour-long standup special on cable, although she had to self-finance it because some idiot executive said no one wanted to see a woman being funny on TV. The special did well enough for Showtime that she did several more, winning a slew of Cable Ace Awards, and was a constant presence on late-night TV and touring all over the country.

She kept touring and became very involved in animal rights, but Letterman and other TV shows stopped booking her, so we hadn't seen her perform for over a decade -- until she popped up on Jimmy Fallon's show last night. It's clear that Fallon understood her place in the comedy pantheon and even if she did get stuck in the final slot, Boosler delivered, proving that, at age 62, her voice, timing, and writing are still sharp...

Here is a classic Boosler appearance on one of HBO's "Comic Relief" shows a quarter-century ago...