Sunday, July 22, 2012

Out Spotlight

Today's Out Spotlight is an American comedian, writer, producer and actor whose career as a stand-up comedian started in the 1970s while in college.  They were discovered by David Letterman while performing in a comedy club in the 1980s and They have written for some of the most iconic comedy shows on television including for The Larry Sanders Show, Saturday Night Live, and most notably, Seinfeld. Today's Out Spotlight is comedian Carol Leifer.

Carol Leifer was born in East Williston, New York,  on July 27, 1956, to an Ashkenazi Jewish family, the daughter of Anna, a psychologist, and Seymour Leifer, an optometrist.

As a child, she put on shows for family and friends in her basement, and by the time that she was ready for college, she had come around to seeing entertainment as a possible career. Leifer enrolled in the theater program at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where she dated Paul Reiser, who would also go on to success in acting and comedy. After watching Reiser perform on open mic night at the Catch A Rising Star comedy club in New York, Leifer, then a college sophomore, developed her own routine and also took the stage. The audience loved her, and she loved being there. In order to have greater access to the clubs of New York, Leifer left Binghamton in 1977 and transferred to Queens College to complete her senior year. After graduating, she continued to work in New York clubs, including the Comic Strip where she was introduced by emcee Jerry Seinfeld.

David Letterman was in the audience for one of Leifer's performances at the Comic Strip in 1979, and he immediately recommended her to the talent coordinator of the Tonight Show. That did not result in an appearance, but when Letterman became the host of his own late-night show in 1982, he remembered her and has since booked her as a guest more than two dozen times.

From the beginning of her career, Leifer's stand-up routines have been based on events in her own life, including especially her family relationships and encounters with others.

Her stand-up experience includes opening for Jerry Seinfeld and Frank Sinatra. Sinatra praised Leifer as "one funny broad!" and "I wish my mother had been that funny – I wouldn't have had to work so hard."

In the early 1980s Leifer made two important changes in her life: she married a comedian named Ritch Shydner in 1981, and she moved to California to pursue a career in television.

Leifer's career in Hollywood was not limited to stand up she became a writer, producer and actor and has been involved in such shows as Seinfeld, It's Like, You Know..., Alright Already, and The Larry Sanders Show. With Mitchell Hurwitz, she is the creator of the short-lived The Ellen Show (2001). In 1988, she had her own special on Cinemax titled Carol Doesn't Leifer Anymore, which was produced by David Letterman. This was shortly followed several more specials, tiled Carol Leifer Comedy Cruise (1989), Really Big Show (1990), and Gaudy, Baudy, and Blue (1992). She was a writer on Saturday Night Live during the 1985/1986 season.

She has performed on Late Night With David Letterman 25 times, and has appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Dr. Katz, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, Hollywood Squares, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Her hosting duties have included four seasons of A&E's Caroline's Comedy Hour, as well as guest stints on Talk Soup and Later. She has written for the Academy Awards for most of the 21st century.

Leifer joined the Seinfeld writing staff during its fifth season (1993–94), and wrote six episodes for the show between then and its seventh season (1995–96). She has been dubbed "the real Elaine," the character having been partially based on her. Her episodes, listed chronologically, are:  Season five: "The Lip Reader "The Hamptons" (co-written with Peter Mehlman); Season six: "The Secretary" (co-written with Marjorie Gross, "The Beard", "The Understudy" (co-written with Marjorie Gross); Season seven: "The Rye"  She shared an Emmy Award nomination with other writers and producers of Seinfeld for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1996.

The following year she earned another Emmy nomination as both a writer and producer for The Larry Sanders Show.

Leifer starred in, created and executive-produced the WB sitcom Alright Already. called one of the "10 Best New Shows of the New Season" by the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post. Despite good reviews, the show only ran one season.

She was also a force behind The Ellen Show (2001-02), serving as both writer and executive producer of the short-lived second vehicle for Ellen DeGeneres, who had courageously come out during the run of her previous series.

Leifer is a writer and co-executive producer of the CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement, which debuted in 2007 and was recently renewed for a fifth season.  While continuing her stand up career she is also a writer and co-executive producer of the CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement, which debuted in 2007 and was recently renewed for a fifth season.

Leifer began filming as a contestant for the 3rd season of Celebrity Apprentice in October 2009. However, she was the first to be eliminated on the premiere episode which aired on March 14, 2010.

Leifer's "inner monologue" observational style is often autobiographical encompassing subjects about her Jewish ancestry and upbringing, coming out, same-sex marriage, relationships (having been married previously to a man and now partnered with a woman) and parenting.

Leifer had a life-changing experience when, at the age of forty, she met and was attracted to Lori Wolf, a realtor. "I did go into [the relationship] thinking this would be a fun fling and a great story and brief," she stated to Rachel Dowd of The Advocate. "The last thing I expected was to fall in love with this person," she said, but that is what happened.

Shortly thereafter, she had a serious health scare when a mammogram revealed a potentially cancerous tumor. Although the growth was determined to be benign, it needed to be removed, and she went back home to New York for the surgery, accompanied by Wolf, whom she introduced to her family as a friend lending support.

It was some months before Leifer came out to her parents. "The agony was feeling that being gay would disappoint them,"  but in the event, they were entirely supportive. Leifer recalled her mother's words: "Finding love is a gift from God. There should be tears of joy here."

Leifer felt that it was helpful that Wolf—unlike her ex-husband Shydner—was Jewish. "Add a thousand points,". In 2007 she and Wolf added to their family by adopting a ten-month-old Latino boy. They retained his given name at birth, Bruno, but at his brit chayim, the naming ceremony for a Jewish child, they honored the larger family of which he had become a part by calling him Shmuel Chaim Baruch, incorporating the Hebrew names of Leifer's father and Wolf's grandfather, respectively, along with the word meaning blessing.

Her first book of humorous essays, entitled When You Lie About Your Age, The Terrorists Win was released on March 10, 2009. In it, she discusses the moment she discovered she might be gay and how her life has changed for the better.

Recently she became vegan, saying "I recently became vegan because I felt that as a Jewish lesbian, I wasn’t part of a small enough minority. So now I’m a Jewish lesbian vegan.

Leifer and her family live in  Santa Monica.


prairiegirl said...

Wow, Carol Leifer has quite a resume but I love her being a Seinfield writer. The Rye. LOL! That one is just a classic. And on Celebrity Apprentice? Too bad she didn't make it past the first week,

My brother and his fam are up here right now and we had an incredible meal last night with homemade enchiladas, tamales and fideo. Incredible! We celebrated a couple of birthdays belatedly and my brother gave me a terrible time because I wrapped his present in leftover baby shower paper. lol. It was cute paper at least. But he went on and on about it, the kids teased him about it, etc. and then when he saw that I had wrapped Reeses' One Year of Adoption present in a special gift bag with lots of dog stickers, but he only got baby shower gift wrap, ohhhhhh boy, then that became a huge laugh.

So he saved my present for last and I said the pressure to come through was too great. When he opened it up and found the new IPad, LOLLLL!!! He could not have been more shocked and got so quiet as he got a hint from the outside of the box. Then when he realized what it was, Oh man, talk about a laugh as I told him, "Who's laughing now??!!"

It was a killer moment. We all just about died from laughter.Just classic.

prairiegirl said...
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prairiegirl said...

And my nephew has now surpassed my sister in height but I cling to my couple of extra inches. When he passes me, it will be a sad day indeed. And his voice continues to deepen and he is officially not a little boy who used to love Blues' Clues and Thomas the Tank. There is just the saddest feeling of loss as these kids grow and I wish they could have stayed little forever, holding onto my hand as we crossed the street.

It is truly like they say. Years pass and you just don't realize it. Before you know it, children grow up and you do not know where the time went.

Special K said...

An Ipad. Wow what a nice sister.

Now about those homemade enchiladas! YUM

prairiegirl said...

You cannot beat Mom's homemade enchiladas. She doesn't make them as often anymore and I have made them (I have her secret sauce recipe!) but it's just not the same. Plus, she likes to grate her own cheese and I always think that makes a big difference. When you grate your own cheese, it's different than the bagged, pre-shredded stuff.

So anyway, it's always a special occasion when we have enchiladas. And fideo??? You betcha!! The tamales came from the big T, my uncle in San Antonio. They were kind of funny shaped, like little taquitos, but still tasted the same, lol.

Back to reality today though and salad for lunch.


prairiegirl said...

New temp starts today.

Wish me luck.


Seaweed said...

Very much enjoyed learning more about Carol Leifer, accomplished and out-spoken.

Time passes much too quickly PG... it's tough to realize how fast we are all moving along. Just spoke to an old friend who lost her Dad last month at 85yrs old.

Trying to make the best of every day and all experiences, the good, the bad and sometimes even the ugly.

Enjoying the extended good weather up here, pretty amazing stretch for us Maritimers. Hope everyone else is dealing with the weather extremes with good humour.


Is BT over said...

Wow you guys must be getting over jake or else how did PG miss this about Jake in NYC yesterday from facebook and not over analyze it:

:Emily A. C. Osborne Ahahaha yeah it was a nice view. He had a little kid on his shoulders. Turned around and glanced right at me and my beach umbrella."

the real m said...

Destiny, I sent you an email. Letting you know since I dont always check mine every day.

the real m said...

PG, I finally got around to reading you know what. Thanks so much. A nice treat.

My team co worker is on vacation this week so I am covering 2 desks and it was super busy today so I am a bit wiped out. Will visit later after I chill out a bit.

prairiegirl said...

You're welcome, m!!!

prairiegirl said...

Wow, awesome dinner tonight at a great place called J Alexander's. Kinda pricey but well worth it. We met my brother & his family there. Good times!!!