Talk show host Wendy Williams brings comedy tour to Milwaukee

July 23, 2015

The Emmy-nominated queen of media comes to The Riverside Theater for her “Sit-down” stand-up comedy performance on July 30, 2015


Wendy Williams knows how to bring the heat! And after 23 years in radio, multiple New York Times bestselling books and a nationally-syndicated (and recently Emmy-nominated) talk show (The Wendy Williams Show), she’s still on fire. “How does it make me feel?” she ponders, talking from her home in New Jersey on the day of her Emmy nominations. “Right now I feel real regular because after I get off the phone with you, I got to go chase (my) garbage cans.” After all: She’s still “just Wendy from Jersey.” And on July 30th at the Riverside Theater Williams delves deeper into her persona in an humorously honest “lay down” comedy show, she calls “therapy.” Before the upcoming show, we ask:

How you doin’, Wendy? I feel terrific.

No one expects you to be funny on The Wendy Williams Show, though of- ten times you are. But in this comedy show people expect you to bring the funny. What does that do to your nerves? First, I feel very comfort- able on stage. So I got that accomplished. I want people to understand, I don’t get on stage and tell knock-knock jokes. I don’t have a writer because people can’t write my jokes. But I’ve been told all of my life, all my life, before radio, before TV, I have a quirky sense of humor. And I’ve always been able to make people laugh. Even in my family, growing up as a little girl. When everyone else is down, I was the one to walk in the room and lighten it up. I was always the one with the whoopee cushion to play a joke on people, the dangling spider from the invisible thread, the mouse in the corner, the pile of fake poop. I was that girl. And you know … how do I feel? I hope you laugh.

What’s your setup onstage? Here’s what I am doing: I am not telling jokes. I am telling humorous stories. And I will be coming with a film projector so I can show you pictures to accompany the stories I am telling you. If I show a picture of me when I’m 10, I’m gonna say: ‘Alright, here is what was go- ing on in my life at this time.’ I have this kooky best friend, Regina. I will have Regina’s picture. Here’s my mother: She is a little lady. I am a big woman. Here’s my son: He’s a jerk. He’s 14.

Is the preparation for this show the same as your talk show? Are you back- stage trying to get your mind clear or are sipping brown juice to get cloudy? For comedy, I do like to keep my head clear. But I insist that everyone else be turnt up because everything is funnier when you’re turnt up. And so, I will be setting the mood. I travel with my DJ from the talk show, DJ Booth. I will be traveling with a set that I’ve specifi- cally requested and designed. You know, stuff that I love to make me feel comfortable. There will be a couch there.

A couch? They call it stand up but listen if I lay down on the couch and put my feet up … just rock with me.

With your recent daytime Emmy nominations, is it safe to call you the next Oprah? Oh my god. It’s not safe to say. I admire Oprah so much. But I am not Oprah. I am No-Prah, as in, no. I’m simply Wendy. I’m messy. I’m kooky. I’m quirky. It’s very flattering but I do not want that comparison. It’s too much to live up to. I am just plain ol’ Wendy from Jersey. Respectfully, I bow out of that comparison in every way

What’s the difference between the Wendy Williams we see on TV and the Wendy Williams we will see in this comedy show? Wendy Williams, when you see me on the talk show, that really is authentically who I am. But like all of us, we are all multi-dimensional. Who you see when I am doing my stand up—or lay down depending on how I feel. As a matter of fact that’s what I want to call it “lay down.” Call it lay down or sit down. Who you see when I am on stage for my lay down is also authentically Wendy. But it’s more like kitchen-table talk. Like, can we talk? I talk about sex in the rawest way. It’s not that I am dirty. I am dirty in a normal way.

And I’ve heard you have quite the sailor mouth. Well … yes I do. And be- lieve it or not, in all of my years being on radio or TV, that sailor mouth has never slipped to get me fined or fired by the FCC. And it’s not even a conscious effort. It’s like when the camera is on, I know not to curse. But in real life, are you serious? Yes, cursing is a way of life. It puts a great punctuation and exclamation point on everything that is regular life.

What’s your favorite curse word? The F-word. The F-word is my favorite because it’s just so poignant. It gets to the point. I can tell you this: I don’t curse around my mom and dad, and I never would. It’s a point of pride and respect. I do curse to my son to make a point. Like, ‘If he doesn’t pick that up I will crack your motherfather skull.’ You know, but I use the full thing. I don’t ever expect my son to ever curse in a conversation with me. And I’m talking about just shooting the shyte. I expect him to walk in honoring his parents the way I honor my parents.

Tell me what have you learned about comedy? What I’ve learned in general is that laughter is truly, truly, truly the best medicine. And I’ve known that since I was a little girl. Even regarding that one hour a day I’m on TV, people tell me all the time: ‘Wendy you helped me get through cancer. Wendy, I was on bed rest from my pregnancy and watched you everyday. You took my mind off my trou- bles.’ I so love comments like that. Because guess what? when I wake up in the morning, I don’t always feel my howyou-doin’ best. But when those double doors open, you all clapping and saying, ‘Wendy, Wendy’ and all that mess for one hour a day, it’s therapy for me also. Then, when the hour is over, then I go back to my problems. So do you. See ya tomorrow. It’s therapy.