Hard working Boosler to bring humor to NIU

By Sean Leary

Working the comedy circuit “since the age of three” and being on the road for “57 years” certainly qualify Elayne Boosler as one of the hardest working comedians around today.

Seriously though, the multi-talented comedienne has certainly made her mark upon the entertainment world. Besides her many appearances on “Late Night with David Letterman” and “The Arsenio Hall Show,” she has also appeared on “Night Court” and has produced five cable TV specials.

Despite her hard-earned success, Boosler is very down to earth about her fame. “The great reward for me is being able to do something I enjoy, and pay the rent doing it,” Boosler said. “The greatest satisfaction is in getting better as a comedian.”

Boosler grew up in New York, amidst a “real melting pot” which she believes was a good background for her success as a comedienne. “It was great growing up in Brooklyn, because I came in contact with a lot of different types of people. This way, I got to see the world through a lot of different viewpoints,” Boosler said.

In her youth she described herself as “very pensive” and “not very interested in comedy.” This changed as she came into contact with comedians such as Jackie Gleason, Phil Silvers, Lenny Bruce, Richard Klein, and Richard Pryor, who she lists as her primary influences. “They really opened up comedy to me,” she said. “Before them, a lot of comedy was like, ‘Oh, my wife can’t drive, blah blah..’ but then all of the sudden they were taking topics from the news pages and using them in their material, and it really changed the face of comedy.”

After a brief stint at college in Florida, Boosler tried her hand at stand-up comedy. She says her sex had little to do with her being accepted as a comedienne. “With stand-up, a lot of times you get up on stage and you have about ten seconds to be funny. All that matters is if you are funny. A club owner isn’t going to say, ‘Gosh, she’s hilarious, too bad she’s a woman, or well, he’s terrible, but we’ve got to have a man.’ You’re judged primarily on whether the audience laughs,” Boosler said.

Boosler’s rise to success can be credited to two big factors: hard work, and the advent and wide-spread success of cable TV. “Cable opened up a whole new area of opportunities for comedians, being able to present their acts to a wider audience,” Boosler said.

Elayne Boosler certainly doesn’t have to worry about getting exposure. She’s one of the top comedy performers today, and her talents keep getting richer and more diverse. She will appear Friday at 8 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center Sandburg Auditorium. Tickets are $3.00 and will be on sale through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Founders Memorial Library.