Bridget Everett (Photo: Kevin Yatarola)
By Billy McEntee
A bottle of chardonnay and poor experiences with men, as it turns out, can take you pretty far.
Just ask Bridget Everett — the white-hot comedian who uses love and wine as the lubricant to answer life’s greatest questions and elicit an audience’s uproarious laughter. Ms. Everett returns to the intimate, downtown gem Joe’s Pub, with her band The Tender Moments, packing each square inch of the venue with significance and comedy.
Over the past 15 years, Everett has inched closer from her early days performing at Ars Nova and waitressing at the now-shuttered Ruby Foo’s to mainstream star. She was hilarious in a memorable cameo as an incompetent makeup artist named Bebe on HBO’s Girls, and now she’s back on that juggernaut network in a supporting role on Camping. She’s also taken on the big screen, dominating in roles comedic and dramatic. For proof of the former, revisit her brief scene as a horny Christian mom in Trainwreck; for the latter, note her more serious and bare turn in Patti Cake$. It’s a role in which she sang, one of Everett’s many strengths that serves her well in her live act where she performs original songs like “This Pussy Grabs Back” and “What I Gotta Do (To Get That Dick in My Mouth).” She’s at her best here: raw, no-holds-bar, and independent, save the rocking band that backs her up.
Ms. Everett gives an incredibly magnetic performance, one that’s equal parts sassy and frazzled. No person, or french fry, is safe: she eats her way through the audience, munching off of the treats that come with the event’s two-drink/food minimum. But she also gives back — audiences nearer the stage get to lick whipped cream off her leg. Fair is fair.
Like most cabaret performances, there’s not much plot to Ms. Everett’s show. The real juice lies in her finely tuned comedic chops and zingy one-liners; see a partial list below:
“I’ve always been told I’m an exquisite beauty from the ankles down.”
To Peter, the token scapegoat in the house: “My pussy’s so soft that when you’re inside it, it’s like sliding your hand up and down a stick of butter. Do you like butter, Peter?”
Everett: “That’s right bitch!”
And, finally, this classic: “I’m a regionally recognized cabaret singer, but I’m a mother first.”
Everett has no kids… or does she? To give away the “children” she employs would spoil the (kooky, bizarre) surprise. Let’s just say her wayward relationship to them is a gateway for discussions around her own childhood. It’s a rich and moving chapter of the show, climaxing with Ms. Everett reminding us, “This is a holiday show” before closing her eyes, transfixing on some memory, and then singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” A nice respite from all the corporal humor, this made for a tender moment indeed.
Bridget Everett & The Tender Moments
Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater
425 Lafayette Street, NYC
December 9, 10, 12
Billy McEntee is a freelance arts journalist who has written for Vanity Fair, New Now Next, American Theatre, and The Brooklyn Rail, among others.