Around that time, Leifer met another comic, Jerry Seinfeld, who happened to be the emcee that night and would prove to be an important person in her life. While doing a routine at the Comedy Strip, David Letterman unexpectedly showed up and caught one of her performances which led to 25 appearances by Leifer on "Late Night with David Letterman" (NBC, 1982-1993) and numerous other guest appearances on NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962-1992), "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (NBC, 1992- 2009), and other top-rated nighttime and daytime talk shows.
As a stand-up comedian, Leifer dished out clean jokes that consisted mainly of her observations of life's absurdities and relationship issues. Unlike lesser comedians who could not get past the usual comedic fare - such as making fun of their own looks or racial and gender stereotypes - Leifer was an original. She never belittled herself or the opposite sex.
While Leifer became known for her stand-up routines, she was also a writer of many hit shows including the long-running sketch comedy "Saturday Night Live," wrote and co-produced the late night fictional talk show "The Larry Sanders Show" (HBO, 1992-98), and created the short-lived "The Ellen Show" (CBS, 2001-02), starring Ellen DeGeneres as a former Internet executive trying to adjust to small-town living. She also wrote scripts for the award-winning comedy "Seinfeld," starring her real-life ex-boyfriend as a neurotic New York comic saddled with three equally if not more neurotic friends played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander. Leifer inspired and created some of Elaine's funniest and most authentic moments such as the Barney's "skinny mirrors" skit, where she bought a dress on sale at Barney's because it looked great on in their mirrors but not wearing it anywhere else.
In 2007, Leifer went back behind-the-scenes as producer and writer of the comedy "Rules of Engagement" (CBS, 2007- ), which followed the lives of two couples and their single friend as they dealt with marriage, dating and commitment issues. In 2009, Leifer released When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win, a collection of humorous essays about life after 40, and most importantly, the moment she discovered that she was gay and how her life changed for the better after coming to terms with her sexuality.
Leifer, who had previously been married to writer Ritch Shydner, came out when she was 40 years old and began a long-term relationship with real estate agent Lori Wolf, with whom she adopted a three-year-old son, Bruno, in 2006. In 2009, she humorously announced that she had gone vegan because she felt that as a Jewish lesbian, she was not part of a small enough minority.
In 2010, inspired by her fellow Jewish comedienne Joan River's season two win, Leifer joined the cast members of NBC's reality competition series, "Celebrity Apprentice," which featured well-known contestants competing in grueling business tasks around New York City to raise money for their favorite charities.
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