Naked From Pennsylvania
Some of you might remember my disastrous interview with Roseanne just a few weeks ago. It was a surprise to me because I expected her to be a bitch about other people but thought she'd find me charming and adorable. She did not. Some of you think this was my fault. But if that were the case—if Roseanne jumped down my throat every time I opened my mouth wide enough to admit her plus-size self into it because I was unadorable and uncharming—well, then standup comic Suzanne Westenhoefer wouldn't have been such a dear love lambie girl when I interviewed her, now would she? She wouldn't have said things like, "That's an excellent question!" or, "That's one of the best questions I've ever got!"
Westenhoefer had her own HBO special (for which she garnered an Ace Award nomination); she can nit-pick and bitchslap with the best of them. She's a freestyling Amazon, excoriating evils great and small—but in a positive way.
We interrupted her watching TV in her pajamas on a Wednesday morning.
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OC Weekly: Good morning! How are you?Suzanne Westenhoefer: I'm great! You know, the great thing about Hillary Swank winning an Academy Award is that they show everything she's ever done on television during the day. This one's about a girl who gets killed during sorority rush! It's so bad! Is it terrible?
The most awful thing you've seen recently?
No, that was on just this morning! On Court TV, they're showing the 12-year-old son of the hockey parent who killed the guy in the fight. It's Middle America, Massachusetts, and the guy goes nuts! And then they put the kid on TV. They don't show his face or anything, but there he is testifying. I was so sad afterward!
And what's the most shocking thing you've done?
If you would ask my mom, that would be different. Those things don't seem shocking to me. I would like to say it was coming out, but it wasn't. By then, everyone was, like, whatever. That's a really good question! I'm going to have to think about it.
Okay, we'll come back to that one. Tell me something funny.
It can be from your act or something you've seen.
I have a very extemporaneous way of performing. It's not memorized. It's all true, and I tell it the way I feel about it that night. If I'm in a bad mood, that influences it. I can't think of anything funny now. I'm not funny. No, that's not true. Actually, I'm very humorous. God, I'm watching a movie about sorority rush, and I'm doing this interview in my pajamas.
I'm wearing my moose pajamas and big, ugly slippers.
See, I think that's funny. We are doing this interview at 11 in the morning, and we are grown women in our jammies. But I'm planning on getting out of mine within the next few minutes.
I don't believe you.
Shut up! Okay, within the hour then.
Question Four: Did you have a resolution? And do you have any good vices?
Nope, I don't do resolutions. My vices are chocolate and extra-dry vodka martinis. And the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle—that one? I'm insane. Don't call me. Don't come over and touch it and try to solve it. No!
And do you have any good advice?
Yes. For people to protest what they're doing at airports because you will never stop terrorism and they're making life hell.
Have you flown a lot since?
I've easily flown 40,000 miles since the attack, getting there three hours early every time.
Okay.[Imitating Barbara Walters] Tell us about you. [Somber]I am afraid of fire and yet drawn to it. Do you start fires?
When I was little.
Any ever get out of hand?
Once, when I was nine, in the back yard of this cabin by the shore. Because it was the beach, it had all that brushy stuff. So I'm playing with matches, and it just goes up. I had to get my grandfather to put it out. I told him I didn't know how it had started, but he knew!
Tell us something you hate.
Honestly, I hate intolerant fanaticism—people whose purpose in the world is to make other people act a certain way. The shallow answer is that I hate semisweet chocolate.
It's that bitter, dark chocolate. Someone sends you a box of chocolates, and you're all excited, then half of it is semisweet. Don't tell me you don't know what semisweet chocolate is?
I'm more a pork-fat kind of girl.
Pork roast with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes is my all-time, bar-none, favorite meal! I'm a German girl.
I make pork chops that'll kick your ass, but I don't know how to do roasts.
Well, you have to do them right.
Yeah, you don't want them all raw and trichinosis-y.
Well, I put roasts in the night before. Oh, I thought of something shocking! Can it be something nobody saw?
Well, it was one of my first times on the road. I was staying at this amazing hotel; it was a Four Seasons. And I decided to be a total rock star and go out on the balcony naked! Gosh, I hope nobody saw me!
Did you feel like a rock star?
No, I just felt naked. I'm from Pennsylvania; that's what you get.
Suzanne Westenhoefer performs at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 436-3661. Sat., 8 p.m. $20-$35.
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