Elayne Boosler’s comedy career began by working the door as the hostess at the original Improvisation club in New York City in the 1970s. For over forty years, she has appeared on seemingly every talk show ever on TV, has written and starred in five of her own one-hour Showtime standup comedy specials, written and directed two movies for Cinemax. She self-financed that first special, 1985’s “Party of One,” because TV networks would not let a female standup have a special. In 1993, Boosler was only the second woman to perform at the White House Correspondents Dinner, and the first comedian to be televised live on C-SPAN. She’s now putting out a boxed set “Elayne Boosler – Timeless”, which includes four of her iconic specials plus a brand-new CD of stand-up. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Tails of Joy – the animal rescue non-profit she founded in 2001. There’s a lot to get to, so let’s get to it!
Maeve Higgins was a bestselling memoirist and comedian in her native Ireland when, at the age of 31, she decided to move to America. So immigration isn’t just the subject of her hit podcast, Maeve In America: Immigration IRL, but also a first-hand experience. She co-hosts Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk on National Geographic, as well as the weekly comedy showcase Butterboy in Brooklyn with Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone. She has written for The New York Times and The Irish Times, and her new book – MAEVE IN AMERICA: Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else – is out now. We talk about our respective Irish heritages, what it’s like teaching comedy in the Middle East while ISIS is around the corner, and much more. So let’s get to it!
Judd Apatow and Pete Holmes first met on a podcast, and ever since, have developed a wonderful working relationship. Holmes first pitched the idea for Crashing to Apatow on his late great TBS late-night show, and I caught up with both the stand-up comedian and the writer/director/producer on the set of HBO’s Crashing at The Comedy Cellar, where they were filming an upcoming episode for the comedy’s third season. Apatow and Holmes told me why Pete makes Crashing different from all of the other TV series about comedians, how they keep it real onscreen and onstage, and much more. So let’s get to it!
Zainab Johnson had other plans for her life, perhaps professional basketball or teaching, before a tragic accident changed her life and her worldview. Johnson tells me how she absorbed the lessons of the comedians she hung out with before jumping into comedy herself. So far, so good. After being named a New Face at Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival in 2014, she has appeared on HBO’s All Def Comedy, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Arsenio, BET’s Comic View, MTV’s Acting Out, and AXS-TV’s Gotham Comedy Live! She’s also developing a TV series with the help of Wanda Sykes. So let’s get to it!