Illustrated Comediennes of the Stand-Up Boom: Elayne Boosler

Between 1978 and 1988, over 300 comedy clubs with names like “Chucklehead’s” and “The Ha Ha Hut” sprung up across the US, ushering in an era saturated with stand-up comedy. Shortly after, pay-cable came to prominence and began augmenting their normally scheduled soft-core pornography and repeated showing of shitty horror movie Cat’s Eye with stand-up showcases. Dyna Moe watched every one of them and presents a small tribute of the comediennes of the boom era of the 80s-early 90s.

Despite appearing on national television since the late 70s, no producer would bankroll Elayne Boosler’s first cable special, telling her no audience would watch a hour of a female comic. She produced Party of One herself, it was a critical hit, and Showtime signed her to do three more. In response, HBO created the “Women of the Night” showcases for female standup that gave tons of now-famous lady comics early exposure (including all the rest in this series).

Relevant Specials: Party of One, Top Tomata, Broadway Baby… (she did a ton of them)

Mode of Dress: Kind of the archetype of “Female Stand-up” — button down shirt, jeans/slacks, a blazer rolled up to the elbows or embellished vest. Desexualizing, yet casual!

Sample Joke: People lose their senses at the beach ‘cause the sun beats down too hard. They say things that just don’t get, you know. Well, you’ve heard this a lot: “Pick up a shell — oh, you can hear the ocean!” You could pick up a bicycle and hear the ocean — you’re at the beach. Put the shell down, you’ll hear the ocean twice as loud.

Commercial Endorsements: Fantastik, Dry Idea deodorant

Trivia: She got started in comedy working the door at NY comedy club the Improv where she met and dated Andy Kaufman, who told her to try stand-up.

Today: Writing for HuffPo and working with animal rescue organization Tails of Joy. Sadly, hair now straightened. Her website is here.

Bonus Video: Singing atop the Doodlebug at the 1993 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Dyna Moe is a NY-based illustrator and non-practicing comic. Her book, Mad Men: The Illustrated World, was the #1 Christmas gift to give people you know nothing about except a TV show you heard they watched a little bit of. Follow her on Twitter here.

Illustrated Comediennes of the Stand-Up Boom: Elayne […]