Tuesday, May 30, 2006
I'm going to start posting some of the interviews I've done with stand-up comics. So far the group has included Richard Lewis, David Alan Grier, Tommy Davidson, Jim Bruer, Dave Attell, Caroline Rhea, Brett Butler, Jay Mohr and Bob Nelson, among others. The over-whelming majority have ben fun interviews and almost none of them were "on."
However the latest, Judy Tenuta, was as on as any comic could be and it was a hoot.
I've interviewed a fair number of comedians who've appeared in our area, but I've never been serenaded by one before.
But then, I've never talked to Judy Tenuta before.
Tenuta will appear at the Hu Ke Lau for one show June 10 at 5:30 p.m.
Speaking from her California home at 8 a.m., Tenuta first told me that it wasn't too early for her to do an interview, because she has a lot of energy in the morning.
That proved to be an understatement.
After telling me that she was wearing her gold lamé leopard bikini, she told me to hang on while she fetched her accordion. Popping on her speakerphone, she launched into a song extolling the virtues of the Hu Ke Lau.
I discovered that I wasn't going to get many in-depth answers about the nature of comedy. Whether it's on stage or over a telephone, Tenuta is a total entertainer.
Tenuta is a veteran on the national comedy scene whose act is part political commentary, part audience participation and part religious and social satire.
The comic can also be very politically incorrect. Talking with her proved to be a wild ride.
Sometimes she describes herself as a "petite flower." Other times, she calls herself a goddess and preaches the faith she invented herself: "Judyism."
She said she loves appearing in Massachusetts - she will also be at the Comedy Connection at Faneuil Hall in Boston - and that it's been a while since she performed at the Hu Ke Lau.
"I love it. It's been five years since the last time and they were sweet enough to have two of the [Polynesian] dancers carry me on stage," she said. "I want them to do a fire dance around me."
She also likes the venue because the audience is "lit," by the time she arrives on stage, she said.
"We are all best friends by then," she added.
Tenuta is one of nine children of a Polish-Italian family from Chicago. She said her brothers were required to play musical instruments, but unlike them, she enjoyed the accordion.
When asked how much of her act is ad-libbed, Tenuta replied that she "makes it up right there."
"I do have certain things [planned] on a kind of mental outline, but you never know," she said.
Tenuta revealed she will be husband-hunting while in Chicopee and Boston and she does have her eye on one New England celebrity.
"Quarterback Tom Brady needs to meet the goddess now. I expect him to be at Faneuil Hall for the goddess!" she said.
She will be asking - or dragging - various men on stage to audition as potential husbands. Among her requirements are the candidates "have to complete a sentence and should have a wallet."
He should also be "pretty cute," as she said, "the goddess is pretty cute." Candidates also should bring presents and flowers to increase their attractiveness.
One last word: Tenuta warned that candidates have to have a job.
"The goddess will not be supporting a pig," she added.
©2006 by Gordon Michael Dobbs who takes full responsibility for what is published here.