Louis Anderson – If You Never Saw Him Live You Really Missed Something

Another great has passed, and though we will always have his body of work to enjoy, there is nothing like seeing a master comedian at work. If you never had the chance to see Louis Anderson weave comedy gossamer live on a stage, you really missed something.

Comedy can be many things, but in my forty-nine years as a comedian I have never seen anyone do comedy the way Louis did. He gently, unhurriedly, delivered the most poignant, incisive, empathetic, hilarious, honest comedy I’ve ever seen. He was so gentle the harsh truths of his and all our lives didn’t sting. But they certainly hit their mark. He took his time onstage, as if spontaneously thinking of what to say next, yet the show was so beautifully written, so well reasoned, it surprised and delighted at every turn.

Louis could play anywhere, because his act was so human, so humane. He could probably do the same show at a retirement home he’d do to Hell’s Angels and get a standing ovation in both places (okay, maybe not a full standing ovation at a retirement home). We worked outdoor, out of control, wide open county fairs together back in the day. Open air stages in the bright sunlight of late afternoon. Motorcycles speeding by right in front of us, laughter, eating, running, shouting, music; I don’t remember but I think the money must have been great for us to venture into that comedy hell. And yet there was Louis, as quiet as ever onstage, having faith that they’d come around, lean in, start to listen, always triumphing in the end. He emanated vulnerability, the seeming opposite of much comedy, but it made people love him.

I loved the show “Baskets”, where Louie played Christine, a character based on his mother. Not a moment’s hesitation for the audience to suspend disbelief. His Christine was so real, so believable as a put upon woman dealing with two sons and romance and life, and never once gave us a distorted parody of what someone who had no idea of women’s lives thought a woman should be. What a heart he had! There was a scene at the end of one of the episodes where Louis as Christine puts on her black bathing suit and all alone, walks into the water, finally enjoying the relief of it, looking at the lights, breathing out, and I cried my eyes out. I wished she was my mother.

He was so full of love, onstage and off. He never walked by a panhandler without giving, he never left a waiting fan without an autograph or photo no matter how many he’d already done. He kept in touch with friends and went above and beyond. The last time I saw Louie was right before the pandemic when our mutual friend Doug Kleiman took me to New York’s Cutting Room to see Louie’s act. That show blew me away. To have been in comedy that long and still come up with a show as strong and stunning as in the beginning is no easy thing. I was floored. He was fantastic.

Please don’t say to me “Sorry for your loss”. We weren’t close friends, but part of the comedy family where we all seem to keep tabs on each other. With his voice silenced, I would say to you rather, “Sorry for our loss”.

The 500 Podcast with Josh Adam Meyers streaming now Dec 2021

Comedian Elayne Boosler screams out the blues and breaks free from society’s constraints, all to the sound of her idol Janis Joplin and her band Big Brother & the Holding Company’s 1968 album Cheap Thrills.

The point of rules is that they are meant to be broken, and boundaries are meant to be pushed. Otherwise society never changes and we are doomed to entropy and internal collapse. That’s why artists like Janis Joplin remain so eternally relevant and worth our attention and praise. Leading her band Big Brother &The Holding Company, she roared against the buttoned-down conformism of her era with powerful albums like 1968’s Cheap Thrills. And still to this day she is a major inspiration to comedian Elayne Boosler, who smashed through barriers in the entertainment industry as well, becoming the first woman to ever record a one hour stand-up special.
Listen on Apple podcasts.
And here.

NY Post, August 16, 2021 –Jean Smart, Elayne Boosler, Hacks

Cindy Adams

CINDY ADAMS

The stars are preparing for the Emmy Awards

(An edited version appeared in the NY Post. Here is the full article.)

Funny Jean Smart very smart for playing wisecracking lady comic in “Hacks.” Now Emmy nominated she cites a few other female funny gals she’s fond of.

Jean Smart: “I’ve always loved watching comedians, Roseanne Barr was hilarious, loved Phyllis Diller as a kid, I remember Ellen DeGeneres’ first appearance on the Johnny Carson show and of course Joan Rivers, especially the early stuff. But of any woman I think my character is closer to Elayne Boosler in terms of rhythms and things like that. I like playing a comedian without the real risks of being a stand-up.”

Your intrepid tale teller and humble hilarity hounder found Boosler, a ‘Tonight Show’ regular over the last 30 years vacationing in Italy. It was late there. She was still funny.

Elayne Boosler: “I am thinking of suing Jean Smart. I cannot believe she is using my name to further her career.” Bawdy Boosler guffawed and then got serious. Elayne Boosler: “I can’t believe she even KNOWS my name! I am beyond fatutsed–that’s flattered in Brooklyn–that she knows my work and beyond that, that it has even one teensy molecule of contributing to the outstanding character she plays on one of the best, funniest and most enjoyable shows ever.”

Also Emmy bound, Smart’s also smart costar Hannah Einbinder. She was already a comic. On the show she’s brought in to punch up Smart’s punchless punchlines. Elayne Boosler: “I think the dynamic between Hannah Einbinder’s character as an ‘alternative’ comedian, and Ms. Smart’s character as a comedian, is brilliant. I look forward to having my name mentioned at least eight to eleven more times. Not many people know this, but Ms. Smart also based her character in ‘Mare of Easttown’ on me. I am thinking of living in Italy. I would only come back to hand Ms. Smart her Emmy for Hacks.”

By the way, schlepping to Italy, was Boosler visiting ruins? In a small local cafe sipping espresso? No. Her very ciao Bella behavior. Elayne Boosler: “I just finished watching Friday’s Mets game.”

Come back Elayne, the Mets play on TV here too.

 

 

Media Path Podcast w/ Fritz Coleman & Louise Palanker Streaming Now 2021

Elayne Boosler is a trailblazing woman in #standup comedy; she talks about producing her own specials because the cable channels said NO + Robin Williams, Rodney Dangerfield & as if pioneering in #comedy wasn’t a huge deal, there’s also her #animalrescue!
Elayne Boosler carved a path through the comedy landscape that led her from tiny New York clubs to huge stadiums and enormously popular standup specials. Her strategy? Just be funny. Yes, she faced challenges and obstacles but as women in every field are learning to do boldly… she persisted. Elayne is hilarious and kind and she is bringing the joy!

Double Threat Podcast with Julie Klausner & Tom Scharpling – Streaming Now 2021

Tom and Julie celebrate the life and career of the legendary Charles Grodin (1935-2021) with help from legendary guests Martin Short, Elayne Boosler, and Merrill Markoe. They talk Clifford, Grodin’s infamous appearances on Carson and Letterman, Midnight Run, the invention of cringe comedy, The Heartbreak Kid, unlikeability, Real Life, and more.

Listen here.

Tea With Paul Mooney

When I started performing at The Comedy Store in 1976, Paul Mooney was already a star there, leaving audiences exhausted from laughter. I remember so many of his great bits. They were always funny first, but also always packed with cultural awareness and justifiable anger. Paul was a justice crusader his entire life. He was funny, smart and fierce; scary if you didn’t know him and sometimes scary even if you did.

One day I ran into Mooney down my street at Ralph’s grocery store (comics are always amazed to see each other in daylight). I invited him up the block to my house for coffee.

“I don’t drink coffee.” (And remember, he really liked me.)

“Well how about a cup of tea?”

“Oh, you wanna bring a black man up to a fancy white neighborhood to see a fancy white people’s house you think he’s never seen before?” That was Mooney’s first response to everything and anything you might say to him.

“Paul, let’s go to the movies.”

“Oh, you think a black man never saw a movie before? He needs a white lady to get him into the movies?”

He agrees to come over for tea. In those days, I drank only one kind of tea. I thought it was the most special delicious tea I’d ever had. So Paul’s sitting at the kitchen table and we’re talking, and I’m boiling the kettle and putting the cups on the table. And he’s talking and I put the box of tea on the table and go back to the sink, and I realize I don’t hear him talking any more.

“Paul? Paul?” He’s nowhere to be found. I hear his car pull out of the driveway. I don’t know what happened. Then I see it. There on the table is the box of tea: “Plantation Mint”.

The Apocalypse: It’s the Pits.

I love tv shows about the apocalypse, the dystopian future, contagions; the end of the world. Since I have been staying home to stop the spread of Covid, it’s become all the more real. I have no trouble believing flesh eating zombies exist. I can buy into space creatures, time jumping, intergalactic wars, islands disappearing and reappearing, dead characters showing up again, erudite chimps and Fish Men. I love it. And just when I am IN 100%, a fierce woman in a desolate landscape raises an arm, and BOOM! Her shaved armpits break the spell and ruin the whole construct. In the midst of all that Emmy winning great dusty deconstructed set decoration, they are startling. I can’t get past it. It’s like that Starbucks cup in Game of Thrones.

Somehow, no matter how many years we’re expected to believe it’s been since the world ended, or the cast has been stranded on an island, or in space, no matter how dirty people have become, or how many zombies are banging at the gates, women on tv still shave their pits… What are they shaving with? Clam shells? Covid has kept women like me home indoors for a year. I have running water and fifty kinds of soap yet I’m sure I’m not the only woman who now ignores her Lady Schick. And I’m not even fighting for my life in hostile territory with murderous predators at my heels. I have leisure time.

I can accept everything else; Zombies all wearing jeans because it seems the world ended on casual Friday. Fine. New fair Hollywood hiring practices that put overweight women four years into the apocalypse despite there having been no food for the last two. I’ll buy it. No candles in the apocalypse despite there having been five Pier I stores in every city in the world. Why aren’t the suburbs buried ten feet deep under Cinnamon Arugula wax? But okay. Still buying. Everyone on tv knows how to start a generator with a shoelace and a toothpick. No doctors survived but any grocer can take out a bullet, sew you up and you’ll be just fine. Why not? I love it! Even the women’s hair, except for one fine character whose hair looks like mine at home these days, is all pretty awesome. Symmetrical spiraling curls. Soho worthy cuts that definitely demand product long since discontinued. Shiny curtains of gossamer tresses. All teeth are whiter than white. Sure, I can go there. But no hairy pits? How fragile do you think we are?

And this my friends is why we need more women behind the cameras in Hollywood. This pits business is all because men can’t handle the truth. Men will show the Real Housewives getting their tushies bleached and waxed on tv, because, well, tushies! But hairy pits? No, man. You want ratings like in the old days? ONE show where the women have hairy armpits would be written about non- stop for a year. They’d all win Emmys and they’d raise their arms in an apocalyptic salute and get a standing ovation from the whole world. Especially Italy.