By JUSTIN PAPROCKI
Elayne Boosler started out in the comedy business close to 40 years ago. She got to know the late comic Andy Kaufman while she was working the door at a comedy club. Occasionally, she’d get a chance to get on stage and sing. Kaufman told her to forget singing. Comedy was her future.
She became one of the biggest comedians of the 1980s, playing everywhere from state fair auditoriums to Las Vegas casinos. She hit her stride with her five, hour-long comedy specials on Showtime, opening doors for female comics on TV.
She still performs standup (she’ll be at the Hilton Head Comedy Club this Monday), but has diversified her interests recently into political commentary, animal rights and even a little bit of hip-hop, recently releasing the faux-rap “Facebook is a Clocksucker” on YouTube.
Boosler discusses her life in comedy.
Question. Do you still have the same desire to perform live that you once did?
Answer. I love having the luxury of switching between writing, performing and living a bit. I can gather more experience for material, and do all kinds of different shows. Nothing is as immediate as performing standup, and with the way the world is today, it’s great to be able to get everything out there and get feedback.
Q. I’ve read where you’ve talked about the difficulties women faced breaking into standup back when you first got into the business. Are you finding it any different these days?
A. When I started doing standup decades ago, the audiences were ready and receptive from day one. The audience is smart and open, the audience was and is never the problem. The problem is that men run the world, and most businesses, and that is where women are still held back. Sorry, but it’s more true today than ever.
Q. I saw you’re writing a book. What’s it about?
A. My book is almost done. It’s not an autobiography, but stories of the early days of my starting out in comedy, and all the amazing and funny stories involving all the comics then; (Richard) Pryor, (Lily) Tomlin, (Jay) Leno, (David) Letterman, Richard Lewis, Larry David, Rodney Dangerfield, Jimmie Walker, Marsha Warfield ... all the experiences as a new comedian working with so many stars on the road.
Q. I heard you rapping on your site. How did the “Facebook is a Clocksucker” idea come about?
A. “Facebook Is a Clocksucker” came about because I could not get off Facebook. I figured if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
Q. What prompted you to start your animal rescue charity, Tails of Joy?
A. I started volunteering hands-on in rescue in 1996, working with Boxer Rescue L.A. after my boxer Petey died. By 2001, I had helped build them into such good shape, I wanted to do that nationwide. I underwrite costs, and we’re all volunteer, so 100 percent of every donation is used to help animals.
IF YOU GO
• WHEN: 7 and 9 p.m. Monday
• WHERE: Hilton Head Island Comedy Club, 430 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island
• COST: $20
• DETAILS: 843-681-7757, www.hiltonheadcomedyclub.com