Believing as I do that it's more fun to celebrate people when they're with us than to eulogize them after they're gone, I'm wishing the legendary Elaine May a happy birthday (4-21).
If you're familiar with May - and any sincerely dedicated comedy writer should be - you know all about the trailblazing work that Nichols and May did, back in the day. This post from Dangerous Minds provides a goodly selection of that unique comedy team's video clips, and this more recent print interview from Vanity Fair gives you an insightful look back from the reunited duo.
Since her best work as a screenwriter and director exists back in the mists of time (i.e. pre-Tina Fey), you may have never had the pleasure of enjoying her classic black comedy/rom-com A New Leaf, which Elaine May wrote, directed, and co-starred in with Walter Matthau. Remedy that, will you? Also worth a look (or second, third, etc.) is the original Heartbreak Kid, written by Neil Simon, in which Ms. May directed her (subsequently Oscar-nommed) daughter.
Because much of May's screenwriting work has been co-credited (Heaven Can Wait, The Birdcage) or uncredited (she famously supplied some of the best laughs in The Great American Comedy, Tootsie), she's tended to be described of late as "mysterious" and "elusive." Her historic industry debacle Ishtar is probably largely responsible (though I think its first act - i.e. before Beatty and Hoffman go to Ishtar - is pretty damn funny).
This post from Jonathan Rosenbaum nonetheless makes a good case for May as a Hiding in Plain Sight auteur. As an actual sighting, this clip of her appearance on the AFI Tribute to Mike Nichols should give you a fine idea of her comedic sensibility.
Above all, the takeaway from Elaine May's formidably fearless career, one that subtly but irrevocably helped to redefine the role of women in comedy, can perhaps be best summarized in her most famous quote: