Carol Leifer

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Carol Leifer
Carol Leifer 2011-05-14.jpg
Born (1956-07-27) July 27, 1956 (age 59)
East Williston, New York, U.S.
Occupation Comedian, Television writer
Nationality American
Alma mater Binghamton University
Queens College
Genre Comedy
Subject LGBT, Jewish and women's issues
Spouse Ritch Shydner (1981–1987)
Partner Lori Wolf (2002–present)
Children 1 son (adopted)

Carol Leifer (/ˈlfər/ LEE-fər;[1] born July 27, 1956) is an American comedian, writer, producer and actress whose career as a stand-up comedian started in the 1970s when she was in college. David Letterman discovered her performing in a comedy club in the 1980s and she has since been a guest on Late Night with David Letterman over twenty-five times as well as numerous other shows and venues.[2] She has written many television scripts including for The Larry Sanders Show, Saturday Night Live, and most notably, Seinfeld.[2]

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.[2][3][4]

Leifer has become 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."[5][6][7]

Early life and education[edit]

Leifer was born in East Williston, New York, to an Ashkenazi Jewish family, the daughter of Anna, a psychologist, and Seymour Leifer, an optometrist.[8]

While studying for a theater degree at Binghamton University, Leifer accompanied her then boyfriend Paul Reiser to a comedy club to see him perform at the open mic night at Catch A Rising Star.[4] Later she tried performing at New York's Comic Strip and was introduced by emcee Jerry Seinfeld.[4]


Leifer is a stand-up comedian, writer, producer and actor and has been involved in such television 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 by several more specials, titled 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, but has only been on his show once since 1992. Leifer has also appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Dr. Katz, Politically Incorrect, 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 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.

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."[2] She continues working the stand-up circuit and is reportedly writing an original picture for DreamWorks. Additionally, Leifer is a writer and co-executive producer on the CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement.

In September 2007, Leifer won an auction for the handwritten notes used by Michael Vick during his apology for his role in dogfighting.[9]

Leifer began filming as a contestant for the 3rd season of Celebrity Apprentice in October 2009.[10] However, she was the first to be eliminated on the premiere episode which aired on March 14, 2010.[11]


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.[12] Her episodes, listed chronologically, are:

Season five
Season six
Season seven

Personal life and other works[edit]

Leifer is currently engaged to Lori Wolf,[13] who works in commercial real estate.[14] They share a $3.2-million, 5,000-square-foot (460 m2) home in the Santa Monica Hills.[14] They have one adopted son, named Bruno, who was born in 2007.[15]

Lefier has also written for several Academy Awards shows, including the recent 84th annual Academy Awards.

Her first book of humorous essays, entitled When You Lie About Your Age, The Terrorists Win was released on March 10, 2009.[16][17] In it, she discusses the moment she discovered she might be gay and how her life has changed for the better.[18]


  1. ^ "Say How? A Pronunciation Guide to Names of Public Figures". Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  2. ^ a b c d Successful Woman:Carol Leifer By Danielle Cantor; Jewish Woman magazine. Spring 2009.
  3. ^ "Women Leaving Men for Other Women" on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" airdate 25 March 2009.
  4. ^ a b c The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America by Lawrence J. Epstein; PublicAffairs, 2002; ISBN 1-58648-162-2, ISBN 978-1-58648-162-9.
  5. ^ "Confessions of a Jewish *** Vegan |". Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  6. ^ "Carol Leifer Gets Weirder: Now Jewish, Lesbian, AND Vegan". Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  7. ^ "Carol leifer: a vegan and a lesbian – The Howard Stern Show". 2009-04-28. Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  8. ^ "Carol Leifer Biography (1956–)". Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  9. ^ The Washington Post  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  10. ^ Starr, Michael (17 October 2009). "'Celebrity Apprentice 3' cast revealed". New York Post (New York, USA). Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  11. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Lyman, Rick (1997-09-07). "Touching moments with Leifer? Get real!". The New York Times. Retrieved Apr 29, 2009. 
  13. ^ Interview with Howard Stern, The Howard Stern Show, April 7, 2014.
  14. ^ a b Ryon, Ruth (2006-07-30). "Stand-up adds a new home, baby to routine". The Los Angeles Times. 
  15. ^ "Bruno Leifer-Wolf". Variety. 2007-03-11. 
  16. ^ Shapiro, Gregg (2009-01-28). "Leifer = laughter: an interview with out comedian Carol Leifer". Chicago Free Press. [dead link]
  17. ^ Donahue, Dick; Martinez, Juan (2009-01-26). "Spring 2009 Hardcovers: Biography & Memoir". Publisher's Weekly. [dead link]
  18. ^ Neglia, Ashley (July 2009). "Gay After 40: Carol Leifer and Her Mid-Life Change". AOL Health. Retrieved July 2009. 

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