Tina Turner Realness (Ep. 134 - Proud Mary)

This Week's Guest: Tony Moore

What's it like to go from a fan to a friend? This week's guest is Tony Moore, who hosts celebrity interviews on his show Loungin' with Tony. For years, he looked up to actors and entertainers as role models. And he found that the more he worked alongside them, the more they opened up to him -- not just as personalities, but as people.

Big thanks to everyone supporting the Sewers of Paris on Patreon. If you're enjoying the show, you can help keep it independent and ad-free with your pledge of support. 

And if you've got a minute, an Apple Podcasts review would be super helpful as well. 

And I love to hear from listeners -- the show's @SewersOfParis on Twitter and Facebook. Or you can write to sewerspodcast@gmail.com. Thanks to Tom, who wrote in, "I’m 57 and have been with my husband nearly 18 years now ... the podcast has helped me feel a little more connected to the community at large, especially people younger than we are.  And while I haven’t listened to every episode, I have to say that I’m shocked, SHOCKED that no one has mentioned Maria Callas yet!"

Oh Tom, you're in luck: you can find conversations about Maria Callas and opera on episodes 4, 87, and 105. And check out Tom's blog, First Vine, where he writes about the wine -- and look for his two-part series Out in the Wine Industry for conversations with queer vintners. 

This Week's Recommendation: Julian Clary

Big thanks to Tony for joining me. You can find his show at LounginWithTony.com, where he gets entertainers and artists comfortable enough to say things they never expected to.

We're accustomed to celebrities being so carefully controlled that they never have anything surprising or honest to say, which is why it's such a delight when a bit of truth slips out. My recommendation this week is actually a recommendation from a listener -- after last week's interview with Scott Flashheart mentioned the comedian Julian Clary, Jon Dryden Taylor tweeted @SewersOfParis to suggest I take a look at Julian's presentation at the 1993 British Comedy Awards. It's available to watch on YouTube.

On the show, Julian comes strolling out on stage at the awards show, on a set that's been decorated to look, for some reason, like a dilapidated public park. He jokingly thanks the show for recreating Hampstead Heath -- that was a notorious gay cruising spot -- and the audience laughs. Then you can see Julian looking around, deciding whether he should go for the joke he wants to tell about an idiot politician who was then the target of widespread derision in Britan, and who was also present in the audience.

Finally he opens his mouth and says it: "In fact, I've just been fisting Norman Lamont." The audience explodes into chaos at the joke, and there's a long minute of bedlam as nobody can believe what they've just heard. Just as the laughter is dying down, Julian makes a reference to the red ministerial briefcases common in British government, quipping, "talk about a red box."

Newspapers campaigned to have Julian banned from television, and he soon found that joking about fisting the Chancellor of the Exchequer was an excellent way to clear his calendar for the next few years. 

But despite that, Julian says he's never regretted the joke. It's certainly followed him closely over the intervening twenty-four years. But it also redefined who Julian was in the eyes of the public: previously, he was seen as a safe, polite, clean comic -- campy, but never campy beyond innuendo. 

But camp, as Susan Sontag has noted, is more than just gaudy lampshades and goofy drag. Camp is a reaction to the banal, combatting bland culture with ludicrous affectation. "It is a feat," she wrote, "goaded on, in the last analysis, by boredom."

Julian's said in interviews that he dared himself to tell the joke before walking out on stage. And watching it now, I wonder if it might have been a joke not at Norman Lamont's expense -- but at his own.

Clips of Stuff We Talked About



Parisian Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0