A Conversation With Elayne Boosler

Elayne Boosler. Karen Ray Photography.

The comedian, writer and animal activist talks about being a woman in the world of comedy, her love for animals and why she is throwing her support behind LTV Studios in Wainscott.

Tell me about the LTV Comedy Night Benefit and how you got involved? Are there any topics you’ll be touching on in your performance?

[Comedian] Michele Balan and I were so excited when Angela LaGreca asked us to do this benefit. I get to work with one of my best friends, who also happens to be one of the greatest comedians ever, and we get to bring attention to a community treasure, LTV. LTV is like a mixture of local C-Span, the American Film Institute, The Food Network, and Netflix all rolled into one. I wish we had something like this where I live. It provides great public services, entertainment, and great opportunities for everyone interested in working in media. As for the show, Michele and I always find the funny in everything, so we’ll riff on everything you’re thinking about, but lightheartedly. We believe in joy. And we’ll take questions after our sets and play with the audience.


As a role model for female comics, and women in general, do you have any advice to share with young women entering professions which seem to be dominated by men?

The world is dominated by men. If you’re entering a profession dominated by men (meaning most professions) you have to be at the top of your game. As unfair as it may seem, a woman in a man’s world still represents all women, and if you screw up, that’s their excuse not to hire any more women for another 10 years. Be yourself, stay classy, do your best, never complain, never explain. And for gosh sake, don’t sleep with a Harvey Weinstein.

Are there any up-and-coming comics you’ve got your eye on?

I’m a huge fan of Iliza Shlesinger, she may already be the next big thing. And she’s not up and coming, but Maria Bamford is always who I watch when I need to laugh. And Michele Balan should be as famous as Seinfeld or Chris Rock, she’s hilarious.

Last year, you released Timeless, your comedy special compilation. Can you talk about this boxed set?

File this one under “silver linings.” When I started out, neither HBO nor Showtime would give me a standup special. I finally made my own, and licensed it to them, so I owned it. Once they saw its success, I got five more specials, but I agreed only to license them, so I ended up owning all my shows. I just released them, along with a new hourlong CD recorded around the country while I toured, and I get to support my animals rescue with the proceeds. So, yippee for rejection. Never give up everybody!

You’ve also founded and are involved in Tails of Joy, an animal rescue organization. How did you get involved in advocating for animals?

I love animals, and in touring America for 46 years, I discovered the small local rescue groups in every city save more animals each year than the bloated nationwide “rescues” who waste millions on salaries, fundraising, and sending you crap from China with the money you give them. My Tails of Joy (tailsofjoy.net) is a non-profit, going on 20 years, and we give out our “Little Guy Grants” daily to the smallest, neediest rescue groups across the country, and now beyond. We’re all volunteer, no salaries or costs. The only way you could help animals more directly is to hand a dog or a horse five bucks. Please check out our website, we sell the coolest stuff and 100% of the price is used to save lives.  

What’s next for you?

I’m working on three books, as I have been forever. I am touring less now so I can finish them. I’m also shooting a fun comedy/cooking series up in Sonoma California at the end of July. And I put about five hours a day into running Tails of Joy.

Is there anything else you want to add?

I love pizza.

Comedy Night to Benefit the LTV Media Center, featuring Elayne Boosler and “Last Comic Standing” finalist Michelle Balan, will take place on July 12, beginning at 5:45 p.m., featuring cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, wine, craft beer and savory bites, will proceeds from the evening benefiting the LTV Studios in Wainscott. General seating is $100. VIP seating is $150. Visit ltveh.org for more.