Monday, March 11, 2013
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Some days stick with us. 9 March 2002 is one of those days for me.
It was the night I met Elayne Boosler.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, she was ubiquitous on Comedy Central and Showtime. With humor that was almost always based on relationships. It was a bit edgy, but nothing like the foul-mouthed screed that passes for humor these days. Sarah Silverman comes to mind.
But obscenity is not Elayne Boosler's style. Her humor is about the human condition.
Like insights on male-female relationships: "I know what men want. Men want to be really, really close to someone who will leave them alone."
Or soft digs at religion: "The Vatican is against surrogate mothers. Good thing they didn't have that rule when Jesus was born."
And, of course, a good dose of self-deprecation: "I am thankful that geniuses and artists and good people, no matter how hard it is, will eventually be recognized. I am doubly thankful that also goes for idiots."
Whenever she would come through Oregon -- usually playing the big auditoriums in Portland -- I would attend. Her shopping trip with her boyfriend for a pair black pants is still one if my favorite comedy routines.
When I lived in Salem, I was a season subscriber to acts booked into the Elsinore Theater. The type of guy who drops a check into the show business collection plate to see his name in the program.
On 9 March 2002, Elayne Boosler took the stage. Funny as always. I sat amongst the other patrons laughing myself -- well, silly.
Her show that night was a benefit for a local animal rescue group. And most of her jokes centered around her relationships with dogs.
After the show, she was signing autographs in the lobby when an idea hit me -- one of those ideas where no reflection is allowed.
I jumped in my Escape, drove home, and returned to the theater with a rather befuddled Jiggs. He didn't know why he was going to the theater, but he knew he was the center of attention.
Waving off the usher, who futilely attempted to maintain a dog-free theater, we rushed up to the table where Elayne was just competing her last autograph. To say that she beamed when she saw Jiggs would be an understatement. She grabbed his leash and struck up a conversation with hm.
For my effort, she presented me with a video tape of her latest show. Autographed it. And gave me a kiss for each of the X's she inscribed on the cover.
That tape is now on its way to Goodwill, along with several other show business mementos. And, of course, Jiggs himself is long gone.
But it was fun to find the tape and re-live that night when my favorite comedian fell in love with my favorite dog.