Boosler goes retro with ‘Balderdash’
Aug. 12, 2004
LOS ANGELES – Elayne Boosler likes to think of her new game show, Pax’s Balderdash, as a throwback to the programs she watched as a youngster.
Picture Kitty Carlisle and Bennett Cerf elegantly dressed and tossing off witticisms on I’ve Got a Secret or What’s My Line? and you’ve got an idea of how Boosler frames her work.
So is there a Boosler dress code for guest celebrities and players? Balderdash is based on the board game and tests contestants’ ability to discern fibs and facts.
“It’s more of a mind-set in my head that I think of those shows,” the comedian replies. “I think, hey, there’s probably little kids watching, going, ‘Wait, is this show business?’ ”
Although, Boosler quickly adds, “Adults know game shows aren’t show business.”
But isn’t show biz her career?
“No, I’m in vaudeville. I’ve said that for 30 years. . . . I’ve always wanted to do stand-up, period,” she said.
Sitcoms are considered the rainbow’s end for comedians – case in point is Everybody Loves Raymond star Ray Romano’s reported $1.8 million an episode – but for Boosler, they mean waiting around all day to deliver “lines that aren’t funny.”
The Balderdash gig, on the other hand, allows her to work in a genre that honors improvisation – and reminds viewers that they might like to catch her on stage.
“TV is a commercial for my live act,” she said. “People think there’s something wrong with you when you don’t want a sitcom. But when I started . . . the goal wasn’t to get a sitcom. The goal was to be Richard Pryor.”
The game show also gives her the chance to give back to fellow comedians, especially younger ones who could use the exposure.
Balderdash calls on comics and actors to present information that may or may not be true and asks contestants to figure it out to win. Among the guests: George Wendt, French Stewart, Shelley Morrison, Tim Meadows, Regan Burns, Loni Love, Bruce Vilanch, Maria Bamford and Todd Glass.