Elayne Boosler

Elayne Boosler (born August 18, 1952) is an American comedian.[1]

Elayne Boosler
Elayne Boosler on David Feldman's podcast.jpg
Boosler on David Feldman's podcast in 2016
Born (1952-08-18) August 18, 1952 (age 68)
OccupationComedian, writer, actress, Founder of Tails of Joy non-profit animal rescue org.
Years active1974–present
(m. 2007)

Early lifeEdit

Boosler was born into a Jewish immigrant family[2] and raised in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. She was the youngest child and only daughter of her father, a Russian acrobat, and her mother, a Romanian ballerina.[3]

She attended public schools in Brooklyn, including Shellbank Junior High School and Sheepshead Bay High School.


Early workEdit

After a job as a singer/dancer in touring companies and many unsuccessful waitressing jobs, Boosler worked as a doorman at The Improvisation comedy club in New York City for two and a half years.[4][5]

While working there, she met comedian Andy Kaufman, a regular at the club, who convinced her she should do standup comedy. They lived together in Greenwich Village for three years and remained close friends until Kaufman's death.[6] For her "comedy education" Boosler credits Kaufman as well as her other peers at the time, which included Freddie Prinze, Jay Leno, Larry David, Richard Lewis, Richard Belzer, Jimmie Walker, and Ed Bluestone.

Cable showsEdit

In 1986, Boosler became the first woman to get her own one-hour comedy special on cable when Showtime aired Party of One. Having no credit cards or borrowing power, Boosler saved her money to produce the special herself when cable executives told her that they did not believe people would tune in to see a woman do an hour of comedy. She successfully toured for 50 weeks a year performing a two-hour comedy show.

Up to 2011, Boosler has done seven cable specials. Her one-hour standup comedy concert specials for Showtime include Party of One, Broadway Baby, Top Tomata (broadcast live from Omaha and voted Best Comedy Special of the Year by readers of Cable Guide magazine), and Live Nude Girls. Her New Year's Eve comedy-variety special, Elayne Boosler's Midnight Hour, was a 90-minute special from a Town Hall in New York and telecast live on Showtime. She wrote, directed, and acted in two half-hour movies for Cinemax: Comedy From Here (a drama) and The Call.

Boosler hosted the short-lived game show Balderdash on PAX (now ION Television). Other television guest-hosting duties include A.M. San Francisco, The Late Show, The Midnight Special, Comic Strip Live, Friday Night Videos, The Gossip Show on E!, and many specials. She has contributed field pieces to many shows, including The Today Show, Not Necessarily the News, and Donny and Marie.

In the early days of cable, Boosler wrote and hosted the Cable ACE Awards. Her specials were nominated every year they premiered. She has also written and hosted awards shows for the Writer's Guild of America (both west and east), for New York Women in Film and Television twice, for the Pollstar Awards three times, the Daytime Emmys, the "Casting Director's Guild," and many others.

Cable and network television appearancesEdit

She has guest-starred as an actress on Night Court, The Cosby Show, Living Single, Dear John, Sisters, and Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist and done cartoon voiceovers. She guested on Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect 32 times. The year before Andy Kaufman's death, she and Kaufman wrote his last special together, Soundstage: Andy Kaufman, where she and Kaufman performed an interview with Kaufman seated at a desk that towered over her by eight feet. Boosler appeared on HBO's "Comic Relief" for six years.

She appeared on ABC's A Festival at Ford's Theater, entertaining President Bill Clinton and Congress. Her specials ran for years on the BBC, and she has performed twice at the London Palladium once for a live Easter special and once at the Command Performance for the Queen. She was the first comedian chosen by President Clinton to perform at the White House Press Correspondents' dinner during his first year in office.

She guest appeared as herself in the last season of Crazy Ex Girlfriend.

Political activismEdit

Boosler is active in liberal politics. On July 11, 2003, she moderated a Democratic presidential candidates debate on C-Span hosted by the National Organization for Women. She is also a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post.[7]

She works on behalf of women's reproductive freedom and has been honored by the Women's Reproductive Rights Assistance Project. She was a frequent guest during election cycles on Larry King Live and after-debate roundtables on CNN and local news channels. She appeared frequently on CNN and Company. For several years, she was the permanent guest host on The Stephanie Miller Show, a progressive radio talk show.[8]

Animal rescue and advocacyEdit

Boosler began volunteering at Boxer Rescue of Los Angeles in 1995. She eventually joined its board of directors and raised the down payment needed for them to buy a rescue kennel. She moved on and founded, in 2001, her own animal rescue and advocacy organization, (Elayne Boosler's) Tails of Joy, a nonprofit organization that benefits the smallest, neediest rescue organizations and individual cases nationwide.

Personal lifeEdit

Boosler had a live-in relationship with comedian and actor Robin Williams in the 1970s.[9] Boosler married in 2007 to Bill Siddons, a music industry executive and former manager of The Doors.[10]

Comedy special releasesEdit

Year Title Studio Video formats Audio formats
1986 Party of One Showtime/Comedy Dynamics Broadcast / VHS (1993) / DVD, streaming (2018) Download/streaming (2019)[11]
1987 Broadway Baby Showtime/Comedy Dynamics Broadcast / VHS (1993) / DVD, streaming (2018) Download/streaming (2018)[12]
1989 Top Tomata Showtime/Comedy Dynamics Broadcast / DVD, streaming (2018) Download/streaming (2018)[13]
1991 Live Nude Girls Showtime/Paramount/Comedy Dynamics Broadcast / VHS (1997) / DVD (2018) / Streaming (2019) Download/streaming (2019)[14]
2018 50/50 Club Comedy Dynamics none, audio album only CD/download/streaming[15]
Timeless Brooklyn Productions/Comedy Dynamics 2xDVD boxed set CD[16]


  1. ^ Boosler profile, nytimes.com; accessed January 28, 2017.
  2. ^ Lawrence J. Epstein, The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, pg. 192. PublicAffairs, 2008; ISBN 0786724927
  3. ^ Comedy programs on HBO and Showtime, nytimes.com; accessed April 3, 2017.
  4. ^ https://www.savannahnow.com/article/20110824/NEWS/308249690
  5. ^ https://www.vulture.com/2011/01/illustrated-comediennes-of-the-stand-up-boom-elayne-boosler.html
  6. ^ https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2000-jan-28-me-58687-story.html
  7. ^ Elayne Boosler index, HuffingtonPost.com; accessed January 28, 2017.
  8. ^ https://www.elayneboosler.com/bio/
  9. ^ Browne, David (September 11, 2014). "Robin Williams, 1951–2014". Rolling Stone: 38–47.
  10. ^ https://www.post-gazette.com/ae/breakfast/2004/08/09/Elayne-Boosler/stories/200408090082
  11. ^ "Elayne Boosler – Party of One". Apple Music. 2019. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  12. ^ "Elayne Boosler – Broadway Baby". Apple Music. 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  13. ^ "Elayne Boosler – Top Tomata". Apple Music. 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  14. ^ "Elayne Boosler – Live Nude Girls". Apple Music. 2019. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  15. ^ "Elayne Boosler – 50/50 Club". Apple Music. 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  16. ^ ""Elayne Boosler – Timeless" SIGNED DVD Boxed Set". elayneboosler.com. 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2021.

External linksEdit