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Boosler reflects on Clinton, Trump, Andy Kaufman and being a prominent female comedian

The 40-year comedy veteran performs in Great Falls on Friday

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Stand-up veteran Elayne Boosler knows a thing or two about what it takes to succeed as a woman in a field that is still overwhelmingly dominated by men.

If you want proof, you can see her comedy in Great Falls this weekend at the Montana ExpoPark Exhibition Hall on Friday. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Elayne Boosler performs her stand-up show on Friday at Exhibition Hall in Great Falls.
Elayne Boosler performs her stand-up show on Friday at Exhibition Hall in Great Falls.

Boosler has been a stand-up comedian for 40 years. She’s performed on multiple comedy specials, appeared on various talk-shows, written for comedy sitcoms and was the first female stand-up comic to have her very own cable TV special anywhere on television.

If you take a look at her list of credits online here, you start to marvel at how long she’s been able to excel as a comic while at the same time staying current. Plus, really, who else can claim to have been on ‘Night Court’ ‘The Cosby Show’ ‘Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher,’ ‘Hollywood Squares’ AND the ESPY Awards?

With that kind of longevity and expertise, it’s no wonder, then, that she’s with Hillary Clinton this upcoming election. Not only does she and Hillary have striking similarities, she’s also performed with the Clintons in the past during Bill Clinton’s time as president. Boosler said she’s witnessed how incredibly kind and funny both Bill and Hillary can be when they’re allowed to let their hair down, so to speak.

Boosler stands with Hillary Clinton back in the 1990s.
Boosler stands with Hillary Clinton back in the 1990s.

“I got to spend time with the Clintons and the Gores, and I wish everybody could see the warmth and genius and humor there when there is no pressure on them,” she said.

Some of Boosler’s claims to fame include the fact that she was the first comedian invited to perform at the White House Press Correspondent’s Dinner in 1993. She also entertained congress and the president at Ford’s Theater the next year.

In regards to what makes Hillary a worthy candidate, firstly she said she’s sick of hearing how people are simply voting for her because she’s a woman.

“I like Hillary because she’s brilliant and over qualified, and with my forty years in a male dominated field, it would mean the world to me to see a qualified and talented woman become president because I know what she has gone through, what she has been subjected to, what she has had to take to keep going,” she said. “I wouldn’t just vote for ‘a woman’ I wouldn’t have voted for Sarah Palin, for instance.”

On the other end, she said Donald Trump’s given her a lot to joke about, at least, unleashing several of those quips during our interview. She said more than anything, Trump has put a spotlight on how much misogyny still exists in politics.

“You don’t think there’s sexism in politics anymore? How come nobody told Trump to ‘Smile more?’ Trump also says he got a ‘small stake’ from his dad. True, only $14 million. It’s hard pulling yourself up by your Gucci loafers. Ted Cruz endorsed Trump and right after that, Mrs. Cruz signed Ted up to Ashley Madison. Then finally, Trump has three marriages and five kids, so, we know he’ll carry Utah, right?”

Over the years Boosler has interacted with many famous people, but perhaps her most notable relationship was the one she had with Andy Kaufman back in the mid 1970s. The two lived together for a period and she’s said that Andy was the person who encouraged her to get into comedy.

She said she imagines that if Andy were still alive today he’d be just as funny and incredible as he was all those years ago.

Elayne Boosler and Andy Kaufman pose in in a Coney Island photo booth in 1974.
Elayne Boosler and Andy Kaufman pose in in a Coney Island photo booth in 1974.

“Andy Kaufman never called himself a ‘comedian.’ He always referred to himself as a song and dance man,” she said. “Truly, he was an entertainer in every sense of the word. And a true artist, maturing and developing all the time, just as great painters do. I think, if he lived, he would still be one of the most relevant, interesting and exciting entertainers of the day, as he still is in death.”

Boosler added that she feels that Kaufman had that innate talent like other legendary performers who can entertain “anyone anywhere.”

“Their acts don’t rely on a specific time, place, nationality, shared knowledge,” she said. “They are simply funny at the very deepest part of the human soul and that lasts forever. People like Chaplin, Keaton, Jacques Tati and of course Andy.”

As for what makes her laugh, she said it can be a wide spectrum of things.

“I love the silliest things, and the most profound things,” she said. “I have always laughed at most anything; from the most slapstick to the most seriously smart. I’m just a great audience.”

Boosler said she’s looking forward to performing in Montana again, mentioning that it’s been a while since she’s been back here.

“I know I have performed in Montana because I remember how beautiful it was,” she said. “But I do drink so I can’t be more specific.”

Tickets to Friday’s show, which includes opening act Taylor Tomlinson, are $25 and are available online here. The show is the first part of the two-day What Women Want Expo. The evening also will feature no host wine, chocolates and gourmet caramel apples.

You can follow Boosler online on Twitter and Facebook. Check out her website here, as well.

 

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