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Entries in Comedy (46)

Tuesday
Nov142017

Call Redialed: Julie Halston: "Life, Death & Filler" at Broadway at Birdland

Julie HalstonI have interviewed Julie Halston multiple times over the years, but this NEW interview is truly the most heartfelt one we have done! Whether acting on stage or performing stand-up comedy, Julie knows how to get the laugh! But even the funniest people out there experience heartache and Julie recently experienced the worst heartbreak of them all - losing her mother, Julia Madeline Gardner Abatelli.

But like any performer, Julie is using her comedic talents to get through the grief. A staple in her one-woman comedy shows, Julie will be paying tribute to her mother in her new show Life, Death & Filler on Monday, November 20 at 7pm at Birdland (315 West 44th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue) as part of Jim Caruso's Broadway at Birdland series. Click here for tickets! 

For more on Julie be sure to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Julie Halston, Photo Credit: Bill Westmoreland1. On November 20, you are returning to Birdland with your new show Life, Death & Filler. What can you tell us about this new show? Well it is a mix of new and old material but even the old material is a bit updated. I have a NEW Joan Crawford reading along with some oldies and it is all coming from the perspective of what I have experienced lately which is the death of my Mom and the addition of some new facial Botox! Because when your Mom dies it's good to get Botox! Grief causes lines – get rid of them!

2. What do you think will surprise fans about this show? I think what may surprise people about this show is that I am talking about death so openly – but epic topics are important to address and especially humorously.

3. I am LOVING the different posters you are using to promote the show. My favorite poster thus far is your homage to "What Becomes a Legend Most." How did you come up with the idea to use that campaign for this show? This photo was from an amazing shoot I did with Jim Caruso, Billy Stritch, Natalie Douglas and Klea Blackhurst a year or so ago for a magazine called BLEEP. Our photographer was the divine Bill Westmoreland. That photo came out and Jim immediately picked up on the Legend theme from the 1960's ads for Blackglama -- He created the ad -- It's HEAVEN and people LOVE IT!

Julie Halston4. Life, Death and Filler is your first show since losing your mother just a few months ago. Did you put this show together after her passing as a tribute to her or was this something you were working on prior? I definitely am using this show as a tribute to my Mom. My mother was hilarious without realizing it of course (the best kind). She just said the funniest things so as I said in my eulogy to her -- "Mom I'm NOT retiring you from the act!" I mean this was a woman who after seeing HAMILTON said, "Well it's not Cats but I loved the stagecraft." Crazy huh?

5. What do you think will be the hardest part about performing? How do you think performing will help you move forward with the mourning process? Performing is always hard in one sense because it takes ENERGY – especially Comedy which not only takes a great deal of energy but also PRECISION TIMING IS PRECISE! If you hit the wrong note in music, we will hear that -- It's the same in comedy -- The wrong note (timing) is hit and the laugh crashes.

Performing when you are down or sick or just low in energy is especially difficult -- HOWEVER, I have always found that even when I feel like I have nothing to offer, the audience enlivens me and it helps me to feel better emotionally and physically. Performing will definitely help me move through the mourning process. Also, my Mom loved the theatre very much so every time I get up on a stage, I can in a sense keep her alive!

Julie Halston's Mom, Julia Madeline Gardner Abatelli6. What do you miss most about your mom? What I miss most is calling my Mom and telling her what I’m working on next -- she just LOVED hearing about my work and I feel so sad I can't just call her and tell her my upcoming new gigs! (which I can't talk about yet)

7. Since the show is called Life Death and Filler: How do you approach life today since losing your mom? Did her passing change your thoughts about death? How will you "Fill" the time in between - meaning, what do you still want to accomplish that you haven't? What I still want to accomplish is so many things - Bigger roles, more complex roles, a house in CT (working on that) and some filler on my face (no joke). And of course losing that last five pounds. Getting older means it's getting harder to lose that middle age spread thing and its hideous. Call me deeply shallow but I simply MUST have a certain amount of glam in my life. And that means being a bit fitter and thinner. I'm not trying to fat shame anyone, just myself.

8. I do have a new segment to my interviews called "I Can See Clearly Now" where I aim to clear up misconceptions about people. What do you think is the biggest misconception out there about yourself that you would like to clear the air about? I think because I have played some tough divas in my life so people think I might be a big ole diva bitch --- I pride myself on being a team player so that would be something I'd like people to know -- although don't cross me 'cos I am Half Sicilian!

Julie Halston, Photo Credit: Bill WestmorelandMore on Julie:

Julie Halston is one of New York’s busiest actresses. Well-known to theatre audiences, she was recently nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her critically acclaimed performance in You Can’t Take it With You. She was also singled out for her performance in Charles Busch’s The Tribute Artist, and for her performance as "Mother" in the Kennedy Center production of The Guardsman. She has appeared in many Broadway and off-Broadway productions including Anything Goes, Hairspray, Gypsy, The Twentieth Century, (Outer Critics Circle Nomination), The Divine Sister (Drama Desk Nomination), Love Loss and What I Wore, and numerous others. Julie was a founding member of Charles Busch’s now legendary theatre company, Theatre- in-Limbo and has co-starred with him in over ten productions including Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset (Drama Desk Nomination), Shanghai Moon and Olive and The Bitter Herbs.

In addition to theatre, Julie is known to television audiences as "Bitsy Von Muffling" from the smash hit Sex and The City, "Tina Carmello" from The Class and to younger audience members as "Antigone Carruthers" from The Electric Company. Although primarily an actress, Julie has won awards for the solo comedy pieces which she has performed all over the US including Seattle, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York. Her SRO solo show was extended five times at NY’s famed Birdland Jazz Club. CBS developed a TV pilot based on her one-woman show, Julie Halston’s Lifetime of Comedy, which she wrote and starred in for over six months off-Broadway. She received an Outer Critics Circle Nomination for her writing. Along with co-author, Donna Daley, she wrote the critically acclaimed book, Monologues for Show-Offs, published by Heinemann Press. It is currently being used by many casting directors, acting teachers and universities as an important resource for actors and is now being developed as a dramatic piece. Her most recent essay, The Greatest Thing I Never Did was chosen to appear in the book, No Kidding, featuring some of America’s funniest women writers. Julie was the recipient of the 2013 Nightlife Award for Outstanding Comedy Performer.

Monday
Oct232017

Call Answered: Akron Watson: "The Play That Goes Wrong"

Akron WatsonAkron Watson first caught my eye when he was starring in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple. When I found out Akron was coming into The Play That Goes Wrong, now the longest running play on Broadway, I knew I had to go see him.

I had heard countless people say how funny The Play That Goes Wrong was. Others said their mouths hurt from smiling so much because they laughed for two-full hours. Some had stomach aches from the amount of laughter ensued.

After seeing this show, I 1000% agree with them on all accounts. The Play That Goes Wrong is THE FUNNIEST show on Broadway! This show IS the definition of Broadway Magic! Two-hours of non-stop laughter! A master class in physical comedy! I can't recommend it enough!

Akron is great as "Trevor," the lighting board operator. His character doesn't have as much physical comedy as the other actors in the show, but a lot of Akron's genius comes from the subtle looks he gives throughout the show or the way he delivers his lines. He very much reminds of the way Bea Arthur would deliver her lines or looks on The Golden Girls

I'm so excited to have been able to interview Akron. I just hope this doesn't become "The Interview That Went Wrong!"

The Play That Goes Wrong plays the Lyceum Theatre (149 West 45th Street, between Broadway & 6th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

Follow the show at http://broadwaygoeswrong.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

For more on Akron follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Akron Watson, Photo Credit: Adam Anderson Photography1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was inspired by the men in my life: my dad, my pastor, and Will Smith. My dad was in plays at my church, that my pastor directed. My pastor also taught theater at my high school. And Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was basically all I watched as a kid. It was really inspiring to see a young black man be funny and interesting on TV.

2. I just saw The Play That Goes Wrong this past Wednesday and LOVED it! After seeing the show, I have to know, what was the audition process like for this show? The first audition was pretty standard: a character monologue from the show recited for the creators (who also happen to be the original cast members of the show). It was fun, they laughed a lot and gave a lot of affirmation and feedback.

The call back was very unique: a group of about 30 people all playing improv and clown games. We did a physical warmup, then we dived into improv scenes, half on stage, and half as the audience. THEN, we did two to three scenes from the show as everyone else watched (and provided much needed laughter response). It was exhilarating.

Akron Watson as "Trevor" in "The Play That Goes Wrong", Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel3. I first came to know you after seeing you in Broadway revival of The Color Purple, a very serious musical and now you are in, The Play That Goes Wrong, THE FUNNIEST show on Broadway, where the audience laughs non-stop for two full hours. How do you ready yourself each night for this comedic show as opposed to the seriousness of The Color Purple? I just talk to my castmates honestly. Everyone is SO funny, and smart and full of positive energy. Especially our four swings, two women and two men who basically cover us all, and a huge nod to my dressing-roommate Jonathan Fielding, who is basically the most hilarious person I've met. I interact with the audience a bit in this show, and I've learned that I can rely on my castmates to get me in the right headspace to be my best "Trevor."

4. There was quite a bit of interaction between the cast and audience on the night I saw the show. What is the funniest thing, so far, to happen both between cast members & between the cast & audience? There are so many moments that are "choreographed" to go "wrong" in our show, that the funniest moments for us are usually when things actually go wrong. Once Mark Evans mushed a line, which is super bizarre because he's so consistently perfect. It was one of the rare serious moments intended to give information and the information given that day was not the most accurate.

Akron Watson & the Cast of "The Play That Goes Wrong", Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel5. In The Play That Goes Wrong, you play "Trevor," the lighting board operator, who's only working on the show so he can pass his engineering course. What is one job you took because you knew it would help you get to the next step? The Full Monty. Actually "musicals" in general was my next step job. I just wanted to work more, in certain places with certain people, and musicals were my way in. There were also just more musicals casting at the time. So I went to some open mics to get more comfortable with singing in front of people, and I took a musical audition class at my local community college.

6. This show is like a master class in physical comedy. What part of the show do you just get so excited to perform every night that you can't wait for it to come? What's the hardest part of being in a show that is so physically demanding? I'm not half as physical as my castmates, so I more enjoy watching everything Amelia McClain does as "Sandra": getting knocked out twice and getting yanked through a window are my favorites.

7. Prior to starting The Play That Goes Wrong, what made you most nervous about taking the role? Now that you've been in the show for a bit, what have you learned about yourself as an actor that you didn't know previously? I was nervous I wouldn't be as funny as Rob, who originated the role of "Trevor." I learned that this play is funny no matter what. It's brilliant, and it's only my job to do what I know to do, play it for the truth of the situation. Don't try to be funny.

Akron Watson as "Trevor" in "The Play That Goes Wrong", Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel8. Since the show is called The Play That Goes Wrong, what has been the biggest thing to go wrong for you on stage either in this show or a previous show? And, what is the biggest thing in your life to go wrong that you just wanted or want to go right? I have to be honest, life is really good right now. Family, friends, work, everything is really great and "on track" for me personally. But once, in a little theater in Dallas, I did a monologue in my boxers and the front button wasn't buttoned. With my family and friends all present, things got a little awkward in the theater that memorable evening.

9. What's it like to work with Bette Midler every night? It's nice to know that every night, I get to be on Broadway with Bette Midler. It's really a dream come true.

10. If it were backwards day at The Play That Goes Wrong, aside from everything going right, which other character would you like to play? I think "Robert" is the most interesting. He definitely believes and performs the hardest and most focused. So it's interesting to watch him deal with the constant roadblocks the show presents his other wise perfect performance.

11. I love all the Duran Duran references in the show. If you had to describe the show in 5 Duran Duran songs, which ones would you choose? Please forgive me. "Trevor" is a Duran Duran afficianado. I would be doing their classic music and my show a disservice by even attempting this answer.

12. If this was "The Interview That Goes Wrong," what is one question I could have asked you to make this interview go right (and please provide that answer to said question)? If you could describe this show in five Prince songs, which ones would you choose? "I Would Die For You," "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man," "Thieves In The Temple," "Delirious," "Let's Go Crazy," respectively.

Akron Watson, Photo Credit: Jeremy PopeMore on Akron:

Broadway: The Color Purple Revival. Off-Broadway: The Fortress of Solitude (The Public Theater). Regional: Dreamgirls (North Shore Music Theater); Stagger Lee (Dallas Theater Center); Smokey Joes’ Café (WaterTower Theatre); Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Theatre Three Dallas); The Shipment (Undermain Theatre); Kismet (Lyric Stage); The Royale (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis). Film/TV: NBC’s Friday Night Lights; NBC’s ChaseSeasons of Gray; and Spilt Milk. Voiceover: Borderland the Pre-Sequel (Dunks Watson), The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (Chris Brian), Satoshi-Toonami’s Michiko & Hatchin. Featured on American Idol, "Season 6." 

Sunday
Jul092017

Call Answered: Amadeo Fusca: "The Comedy Blender" at The Triad + "Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus Live!"

Amadeo FuscaComedy, laughter, and variety shows oh my! As a comedian myself, I love chatting with other comics. When I learned about So You Think You Can Roast winner Amadeo Fusca's new monthly comedy variety show The Comedy Blender, I knew I had to hit that funny bone!

The Comedy Blender is a night of NYC's best comedians bringing you stand up comedy, original sketch and unique solo characters. The montly series kicks off Thursday, July 13 at The Triad Theatre in NYC (158 West 72nd Street). Showtime is 9:30pm! Click here for tickets!

On July 28, Amadeo will also be performing at The Triad in Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus Live! for one night only at 7pm and 9:30pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Amadeo be sure to visit https://www.amadeofusca.com and follow him on Twitter!

Follow The Comedy Blender on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a comedian? Eddie Murphy's Delirious defintely had an effect on me and has stayed with me through today. Steve Martin & Tom Hanks also inspired me. 

2. This summer you are the host of a new monthly variety show at The Triad Theatre called The Comedy Blender. How did this variety show come together? I met Rick Newman, who runs The Triad, at the Friars Club's So You Think You Can Roast competition that I won in 2013 and we stayed in touch since then, keeping him up-to-date on what I was doing. We saw each other in March and Rick had wanted to talk to me about this idea he had based upon the Catch a Rising Star comedy club that helped launch the career of many well-known comedians. I told him I know a lot people who are on the cusp of being the next big name and it's just a matter of them getting the right audition or meeting the right person, so I pitched him the idea for this monthly variety show and he liked it. So we booked the venue, the date, and talent.

3. What excites you about hosting this monthly series? It's great being in a position to be able to put a show together and choose who I think should be part of it. There are so many talented people in the comedy world and I'm just so excited about the line-up of people I've asked to be part of it. 

Jack Black and Amadeo Fusca at the 2013 "So You Think You Can Roast" competition4. Since this is a variety show and it's been said, "Variety is the spice of life," how do you keep your life spicy? I have a girlfriend who helps me have fun. She keeps coming up with ideas of great things to do.

5. In 2013, you won the Friars Club competition, "So You Think You Can Roast." How do you feel winning this competition will help your career? The competition itself is sort of an under the radar contest, but the people that were there are big names...Amy Schumer, Bob Saget, Jeff Ross, Dennis Rodman, Richard Marx, Gene Simmons.I met some great people that I kept in touch with and if you stay in good standing with people, you never know how they might help you or what opportunities they could create for you. I won this competition and have been working since, so when I get back in touch with these people, they can see what I've been up to. Also getting the "Roast" videos has helped me book some gigs because I can send that out to producers and they get to see what I'm able to do.

6. You also are touring the country with Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus Live!, which will be playing NYC on July 28. What do you like about performing this show? What are some of the best audience responses you've gotten after the show? The show focuses on relationships, how men and women relate to each other, how we deal with each other on date night, remembering anniversaries, how we do our chores differently, and then there is a section of the show dedicated to sex. As an actor, there's so much meat to this show. When a new actor is brought in, like myself, I'm allowed to bring my own style to delivering the script, which is great. I've added some improvised moments on stage and now those moments have been implemented into the script and some of them get the biggest laughs of the night. That just adds a whole new energy to the room. I'm very phsyical when I act this show out, and I have to be, because it's a 90-minute show, so I have to be as engaging as possible. My favorite part about performing this show is the freedom and trust I've been given by the whole team. 

As I perform the show and look out in the audience, I can tell which parts people really relate to because the couples start holding hands at various points. Couples really identify with this show. After the show people come up to me after and say, oh, he did that or she does that. It is geared towards heterocouples because the show is based off the book, but I think at some point it would be great to update the script a bit and really open the material up include every kind of relationship out there.

7. Since you are a comedian and we live in very trying times these days, how do you continue to find the funny during these darker times? Once you are in a position to create content, it's important to have a night where you can make people laugh and get them to concentrate on you and your performance. If you just look at the news all day, you'll just be depressed. You have to find a way to laugh in order to move forward. 

8. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? It's a cliche answer, but working on my body and getting in shape. I keep seeing my belly pop out more and more these days, especially when I wear a t-shirt and I'm like, "What's happening down there?" So, I'd like to work on improving that by 20% actually.

Amadeo FuscaMore on Amadeo:

Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a regular at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Amadeo tours the country performing in the One Man Comedy Show Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus Live! In 2013, he beat out 55 other comedians to win the Friar's Club "So You Think You Can Roast?" competition. Amadeo joined the dais to roast Ricky Schroeder, NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman and Jack Black, performing alongside comic legends Sarah Silverman, Artie Lange, Bob Saget and Amy Schumer. Entertainment Weekly quoted Amadeo's as some of the funniest jokes of the event.

In addition to his live comedy, Amadeo's film and TV credits include Boardwalk Empire, Marvel's Daredevil, As The World Turns and the feature film A New York Heartbeat, starring Eric Roberts.

Thursday
Jul062017

Call Redialed: Jackie Beat: Birthday Bitch! at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Jackie BeatI am beyond thrilled that Jackie Beat answered my call yet again! I love interviewing Jackie Beat. She keeps me laughing the whole time with her brilliant sense of humor! In this interview we get the party started with a pre-birthday celebration by talking about her new show coming to The Laurie Beechman Theatre entitled Birthday Bitch! 

Everyone knows that Jackie Beat is a big bitch. And a talented bitch. A shady bitch. A fierce bitch. A sick bitch. But this July, Jackie Beat is also a BIRTHDAY BITCH! To celebrate her birthday weekend, Miss Beat is invading New York, unwrapping some new parody songs and sharing some of her greatest hits. So here are the ground rules: Do not make eye contact.  Do not ask "how old?" Laugh loudly. Drink. Gifts optional.

Birthday Bitch! will play The Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue, in the basement of the West Bank Cafe) July 22 at 8pm & July 23 at 4pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Jackie be sure to visit http://missjackiebeat.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

For more shows from Spin Cycle visit http://spincyclenyc.com and follow them on Twitter!

Jackie Beat1. This July, you are once again returning to the Laurie Beechman Theatre with your new show Birthday Bitch! What are you looking forward to about celebrating your birthday at The Laurie Beechman Theatre with your fans? Well, all joking aside, there is no place I would rather be! Except maybe in bed with my dogs watching Netflix. Or at a grand opening of a new Arby's - with unlimited free Beef & Cheddar sandwiches. But after those options, on stage in full clown singing my balls off is definitely my third choice for best place to celebrate getting one year closer to death!

2. For some people, their birthday is a time for renewal and at this bash, you will be unwrapping some new parodies. I will leave the parodies as a surprise for those who attend your show, but what I want to know is, what do you hope to unwrap for yourself either professionally or personally that you have not gotten to yet? Time to get serious kids. I would really like to unwrap some peace-of-mind. It may be hard to believe, seeing how I have been doing this for close to thirty years now, but what with Drag Race and the mainstream popularity of drag in general, it's gotten harder. I'm like everyone else and I often compare myself to others. And when those others are half my age and have been on a wildly-popular TV show, sometimes it can get to me. But then I take a deep breath and think, "Hey, you're Jackie Beat goddamn it!" Then I yell, "Snap out of it!" in my best Cher voice and slap myself across the face. So yeah, a little much-needed boost of self-confidence would be a great birthday present. And I realize it's something that only I can give to myself. And if I can't have that, maybe a $50 gift certificate for Arby's?

Jackie Beat3. One thing attendees should know is that there are some ground rules for your Birthday Bitch! show: Do not make eye contact. Do not ask "how old?" Laugh loudly. Drink. Gifts optional. What will happen if someone breaks these rules? Are there different punishments for breaking each rule? GIFTS OPTIONAL!? Are you fucking new? Gifts are mandatory. I put the MAN in mandatory. And as far as punishment for breaking my rules, I think people are well aware of just how painful being read to filth in front of an entire roomful of fellow sodomites can be. Se be on your best behavior, kids! And bring presents.

4. What are some gifts you would like to receive this year? (Think of this as your registry). I really do love a nice gift card. You know, Starbucks, Bed Bath & Beyond, Trader Joe's. I'll avoid mentioning Arby's yet again so as not to make anyone think I'm shamelessly trying to land a lucrative endorsement deal with the deliciously trashy fast-food chain. I appreciate fan art, but - let's be honest - if it really looks like me I'm probably just going to get depressed. I also love accessories and makeup, but frankly, I have enough to last me the rest of my life. That's right, I have a 6-month supply! See what I did there? I guess if you really love me, you could start a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to have Lady Bunny brutally murdered. And not just brutally, but SLOWLY. Happy Birthday to me!

Jackie Beat5. You have been described as a big bitch. And a talented bitch. A shady bitch. A fierce bitch. A sick bitch. Out of everything you've done in your career, was there one or two things that made you feel as though it took more talent than something else? If so, what were those things that took more talent? Well, first of all I will say this: I'm very proud of becoming a successful drag queen before it was socially acceptable. I mean, there were Gay bars - leather bars in particular - that wouldn't even let drag queens in the door! Now they all have their RuPaul's Drag Race viewing parties and every event has a drag queen hosting and/or performing. Don't get me wrong, that's progress! After all, the only difference between a drag queen and a leather queen in their choice of fabric. All I am saying is that back in the day drag only appealed to a very specific kind of drama class/glee club outcast/misfit if you will. Now it's the cool kids! Which, again, is great! And, trust me, no one became a drag queen to make money! Also, me and Sherry Vine and Coco Peru and Varla Jean Merman and Lady Bunny and so many others couldn't just go onto YouTube and watch makeup tutorials.

But I guess what I most proud of is that I am a drag queen who can sing a rock song with a live band, play Bea Arthur as "Dorothy Zbornak" in a stage version of The Golden Girls, put on a 75-minute solo show and write material for people like Margaret Cho and Ross Mathews. I'm very well-rounded! But most of the credit for that goes to Arby's.

6. What is the shadiest thing you've ever done? What is the most fierce thing you've done? I'm honestly not that shady. And I'm sure there are some people who are rolling their eyes right now reading that, but it's true. Anyone who really knows me knows that I am a very loving person. Listen, we all have our moments. And I have certainly opened my big fat mouth and/or posted a Tweet before thinking that I later regretted. Unfortunately, that's the flip-side of being a comedian. What works on stage - saying the first and/or worst thing that pops into your head - doesn't always work in real life. I've had to apologize many times, trust me. That's why I feel for people like Kathy Griffin and Bill Maher. We want our comedians to be outrageous and push the envelope and then when they make a mistake or go too far, we crucify them. It's like getting mad at someone for pulling your hair or calling you a filthy whore during sex. Hey, it was done in the heat of the moment. I went too far. I'm sorry!

And as far as the fiercest thing, I'd have to say refusing to water-down my political beliefs and my unbridled hatred of Donald Trump. On the Drag Queens of Comedy Tour I sang a song that ripped him a new one and occasionally there would be someone in the audience who voted for him who would get upset. In Chicago an older drag queen dripping in rhinestones and wearing a tiara made a big scene and stormed out during my number. I mean, can you imagine?

Jackie Beat7. I can't believe we have done two prior interviews together and I never asked you how did you come up with your persona Jackie Beat? Oh God, it's such a long fucking story! When I first moved to LA way back in the 1980's, I considered myself a serious artist and poet. I used to go to this one open mic poetry night in Hollywood week after week and sign up, but because they always gave B-List celebrities priority, I never got to read my stuff. Well, one week I got so pissed off that I got in drag. I just put on a black turtleneck, a black skirt, black boots, black wig & a black beret. I wrote a "Beatnik" poem - which was essentially just a high-concept stand-up comedy routine. Well, not only did they not let me read my poem, they wouldn't even let me in the club! So I went to WeHo, to the gay bar Rage, and it was a talent contest that night. I decided to read my poem there. They asked me my name for the sign-up list and I just thought of the most Sixties thing I could think of: Jackie Beat. It was part Jack Kerouac, part Jackie Kennedy. Anyway, to make a long story short - TOO LATE! - I won the contest and the rest is history.

8. Since you are the Birthday Bitch! what is your birthday wish for your fans who continue to support you? Just keep laughing. Don't be so touchy and easily offended. And let's please fight the real enemy, not each other. If a comedian says something, take a moment to consider the context. Is it irony? Are they perhaps portraying an ignorant "character?" Are they playing devil's advocate? Or is the only possible conclusion that they are in fact a horrible transphobic racist monster who just accidentally revealed how they truly feel? Do the math. It's NEVER that last one, people.

9. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Eat 1% less Arby's!

Jackie BeatMore on Jackie:

Jackie Beat is the self-professed bastard child of "Weird" Al Yankovic and buxom Bette Midler. An award-winning drag darling, Jackie Beat has been wowing unsuspecting audiences since 1989.  She has toured with Roseanne Barr -- as the comic legend’s opening act -- including a 7-week run at The New York New York in Las Vegas; written for TV (Fashion Police, Hello Ross, Hype! and others) and collaborated on special material with the like of Roseanne, Rosie O’Donnell and Jennifer Coolidge; appeared in countless TV shows (Sex and the City), Movies (Grief, Wigstock The Movie, Flawless, Adam & Steve) and Off-Broadway hits (Valley of the Dolls, Tell-Tale!). She has been named Best Drag Queen by New York Press and Best Live Performance by HX Magazine. Jackie is also a columnist, lead singer for the electro-rock band, Dirty Sanchez, and the subject of the documentary film My Name is Jackie Beat including commentary from Joan Rivers, Margaret Cho, and Roseanne.

Friday
Mar172017

Call Redialed: Lucie Pohl: "Apohlcalypse Now!" at Under St. Marks Theater

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Laura RoseLast time comedian/actress Lucie Pohl and I spoke, she was starring in her one-woman show Hi, Hitler, now these two Jews are talking about her new show Apohlcalypse Now! From tyrants to death, we know our herritage! In this new show, Apohlcalypse Now! bangs together stand up, storytelling and character comedy. Expect bad language, bad decisions, a wedding, a break up, dead rats and wake up calls from Stephen Baldwin.

Apohlcalypse Now! will play a very limited run, four performances only, March 20, 21, 27 & 28 at Under St. Marks Theater (94 St. Marks Place). March 20 & 27 are at 8pm. March 21 & 28 are at 7pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Lucie be sure to visit http://www.luciepohl.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

1. It's great to catch up with you! Last we spoke, we did an interview for your one-woman show Hi, Hitler. Now you are back in NYC with your brand new show Apohlcalypse Now! How ironic that your show a few years ago had Hitler in the title and now your show has Apohlcalypse (a funny take on apocalypse) in the title. In the few years between shows, we got a new Hitler leading our country and he's creating an apocalypse. How do you explain this irony? Yes that is creepy and ironic. I'm psychic! Or may be it's that artists have invisible, subconscious feelers which pick things up before they've emerged into daily life.

One way to look at it is also, Hi, Hitler was very much a fish out of water story which went all the way back to my Jewish-German family history of persecution and migration. The whole point of the show was embracing that not fitting in was in my DNA. In this sense, I am not surprised that those of us who are different (for many different reasons) have become a target again. The fight for acceptance against periodic assholes will never end, I think.

The Apohlcalypse theme came out of a period of extremely taxing events in my life that kept piling up relentlessly. I also had been having this feeling of imminent doom for a few years. I never anticipated that history would tie these two shows together in such a frightening way.

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Elmar Lemes2. What can people expect from this new show? What people can expect from Apohlcalypse Now! is a wild roller coaster ride into a year of tragically funny disasters in my life told through storytelling, stand-up and character comedy. It's an intimate, sometimes surreal, hilarious and very honest 60 minutes. And there's a goldfish monologue.

3. Let's play with the title of your show, "Apohlcalypse Now!" for a moment. What is the biggest event to happen in your life that would be as big as an apocalypse? The biggest apocalypse ever to happen in my life is when I realized Nutella is made with palm oil and I can no longer eat it! Game over!

No, ok, I'll be serious: it was the violent shattering of my 12 year relationship. Internally that was something which completely destroyed everything I thought I was, I thought I had and I thought I knew. And then a few other things happened simultaneously which just added more fire and brimstone. But these are all spoilers! That's what the show is about!

But one more thing: In writing the show I spoke to Anbarra Khalidi who is an apocalyptic scholar at Oxford (yes that's a job title) and she told me that the nature of the apocalyptic framework is both horror and clarity - exposing uncomfortable truths, mirroring the notion that we are our truest selves in moments of suffering, trial and judgement. This idea sort of fell into my lap and became what I was most interested in.

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Mindy Tucker4. In this show we can expect bad language, bad decisions, a wedding, a break-up, dead rats, and wake-up calls from Stephen Baldwin. So for the next few questions we are going to break these down. If you could create a sentence using your five favorite bad words, how would that sentence look? Trump is a motherfucking thundercunting asswiping fuck-shit fascist.

5. What is the worst decision you've ever made? What did you learn from this bad decision? The worst decision I ever made was deciding to act on every impulse I had regardless of the consequence. I've made many bad decisions. What I've learned (the hard way) is that decisions matter and they are decisions, not accidents. You control that, it doesn't control you. It's not always about doing the thing which feels best in the moment, it's about knowing what's important and what you want in the long run.

And of course looking at the ingredients list on a Nutella jar.

6. What is one of your most funny break-up stories? When I was a teenager my boyfriend at the time said he was going downstairs real quick to get a Snapple. He came back 10 days later. I tried to punch him and missed. We broke up.

Lucie Pohl7. What is a good wedding tale you can tell? I once went to a wedding in England and woke up in Wales.

8. I hate rats. I mean HATE, but I'm going to ask a question about them anyway. What is an interaction you've had with a dead rat? Big, fat spoiler but here it goes: I found a dead rat in my mailbox! Yes, this is a true story and I have the pics to prove it.

9. When did you get a wake-up call from Stephen Baldwin? I got a wake up call from Stephen Baldwin in Istanbul, Turkey when I was in a horror film with him about a cult which impregnates women with demon babies to make an army of super humans. Duh! What else?! (Another spoiler).

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Right now I'm trying to not freak out on subway platforms every day about terrible MTA service. Yesterday I waited for 45 minutes at Union Square and at one point a nice man eating plantain chips told me to "Relax." Gotta work on that. Ommmm.

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Laura RoseMore on Lucie:

Lucie Pohl is a German-born-NYC-raised comedian, actor, writer, solo performer and producer. Her storytelling comedy debut HI, HITLER was nominated for the 2015 New York Innovative Theater Award (Outstanding Solo Performance), received 5 and 4 star reviews and played to sold out houses at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, on London’s West End, 59E59 Theatres NY & Los Angeles.