Catching up with Bridget Everett

Catching up with Bridget Everett
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Bridget Everett is a mountain of a woman, and proud of it. It’s not just her physical size that is beautifully big, but her outsized, oversexed, blue and bawdy comic personae, too — and her hugely aggressive vocal talents to boot. For those who haven’t witnessed her splashy live act in person with theme concerts such as Pound It, the ever-changing alt-cabaret/comedy gig she’s on the road with presently, there’s her raw, raucous moments on Comedy Central — her mother-ship network — where she’s appeared on best bud Amy Schumer’s “Inside Amy Schumer” as well as Everett’s own “Gynecological Wonder” special. We caught up to her while playing with her pooch Poppy at home in New York City.

You’ve played Philadelphia before. Do we get the jokes, are we accepting of your sexuality? How we doin?
Honesty, it’s one of my favorite places to play. Last time I was there, I did the Troc and it was the first time I felt like I was a rock star. Everyone was into the show big time. I think Philly audiences are dialed-in and ready to go full throttle There is this one woman there who comes to my shows, Rose, I think she is in her 80s. I definitely make the show about her whenever I see her.
Now that you’re a sensation across the nation in various media, what does respectability bring to Bridget Everett? Though, I dare say calling a show “Pound It” only leaves so much room for the respectable.
(Laughs) I still feel like I’m hustling. I don’t know if I feel as If I’ve achieved your level of my estimated sensation. My audiences are growing and I’m damned lucky they’re there for me. I’ve had my head down and fighting for an audience for so long that it matters when people show up — I’m really grateful. I think that I will always feel like I have work to get people to my shows.

You’re by no means a conventional cabaret act, yet, in NYC, where you made your bones, you are often tagged as part of that genre. Do you have trouble with that term?
The term “cabaret” seems a bit archaic — more dated and sedate. I hear the word and I think stuffy and no room for sexuality and true blue humor. But coming up, it was the alt-cabaret scene that made my name because it pushed all boundaries of what cabaret is. I’m so happy I stumbled into that world. If not, I don’t know what I’d be doing with my life. Kiki & Herb, Taylor Mac, Murray Hill — they were dangerous, on the edge, alt-cabaret people and performance artists and I wanted to be a part of their world. Cabaret isn’t necessarily cool. I joke about that in my show. I try to push the boundaries of cabaret and anyone who likes it can come along for the ride.

Comedy Central seem to have a lot banked on you. You’ve done Schumer. They gave you your own special. They looked at you early on when you had that first pilot that you write with Adam Horowitz (ex-Beastie Boys who is part of Everett’s band) and Kathleen Hannah (from Bikini Kill). What gives?
I met Comedy Central people at some of my earliest festival gigs and they’ve been nothing but supportive. They want me to be me, which works out for both of us. That first pilot didn’t quite gel at the time, but I have started another pilot: a real dream come true with Bobcat Goldthwait and Michael Patrick King (“Sex & the City”) that has lots of musical elements and we’re trying to highlight my voice in a way that’s different, dangerous, fun and funny.

I know you’re from Kansas and that you hung around the house watching “The Sound of Music” and singing along to show tunes. What made you want to come to New York City — to be cool, to be part of things like the New York Comedy Festival, to be a star?
There were several stars who made me want to want grow up and move to New York and be on Broadway. Or at least I thought that’s where I wanted to be. I was in love with Bette Midler, Freddie Mercury and Debbie Harry. Mercury was eccentric and his voice was powerful. Midler, I saw everything she did; comedy, music, even “The Rose” as a kid which was probably inappropriate for a child. Debbie Harry I was in love with the video for “Rapture,” that tank top, her cool demeanor. That was all happening in New York City and that’s where I wanted to be.
You are not a political comedian but you are a social comedian. How do you play to the current climate of the election?
That’s a good way of putting it. There’s an element of misogyny that’s palpable right now, and I believe in the power of feminism and womanhood. I’m a full-figured, outrageous, sexualized woman and I don’t ever back away from that. I can’t. Now, I’m not trying to be political but because I don’t back down, I guess I become political. Not everyone is comfortable seeing a tall woman with her tits hanging out commanding attention and having power. But, I don’t care. I love doing what I’m doing and my audience has a great time, and I’m not going to stop.