Among many other hats (or do-rags) she's worn, moderator of "The View," seen weekday mornings on ABC, is one that comes first to mind lately. But moderate is not a word we associate with Whoopi Goldberg, who commands the Tilles Center stage Friday night for "An Evening With . . . "
The native of Manhattan -- that's Chelsea, not Kansas -- Goldberg, 56, is among an elite group of multitalented entertainers who've won Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy awards, not to mention a pair of Golden Globes.
Don't expect the kind of one-woman show that marked her Broadway debut in 1984 -- a multiple-personality medley of self-invented characters. You won't get the moderator of "The View," either. For tonight, at least, she's just Whoopi, sharing personal observations on life in general and people in particular -- no doubt including a politician or two whose names she's mentioned on "The View."
We spoke to the comedian-actress-author and, yes, moderator on the eve of the vice presidential debate.
Your show [Friday night] is happening during the closing weeks of the presidential campaign. I'm told you like to ask the audience about their right-left leanings before you do any political jokes. Is that true?
It depends on my mood. I only ask the question to get things going. I'm not particularly a fan of either the right or left. We're all in this together.
Your publicists characterize your show as "uncensored." Will people who know you mostly from "The View" find that shocking?
There are things you can't say on television, just like you can't write certain words in the paper. I'm just me onstage. . . . So I give people a warning right up front. If what I say is not your cup of tea, don't come.
You do a Q&A late in the show. Is there a particularly memorable question that comes to mind?
No. It's pretty much, "What was it like being on the set with Patrick Swayze?" Or, "Do you get along with Elizabeth Hasselbeck [on "The View"]?" I tell them Elizabeth and I are pretty tight. That's because our disagreements are never personal. I remember when America used to be like that. But now it's all so Us vs. Them. There's this guy with a clothing store -- I forget where -- with an Obama cutout in his window with a bone in his nose. He claims not to understand why that's racist. I mean, we're all Americans, aren't we? That's why I hate the phrase African-American. That and menopause.
You've had such a varied career -- stage, movies, TV, writing, though I haven't seen you play banjo like Steve Martin. Has your day job -- "The View" -- cut in on your creative time? Or does it get the juices flowing?
All of those things. It would be great to do more movies. But I'm doing television. I'm working.
What's your next project?
I'm working on a Moms Mabley documentary. And I'm playing her onstage in September 2013.
Someplace on the planet.
Does it bother you when the president's critics call "The View" too lightweight whenever Obama appears on your show? That he should be doing (quote-unquote) serious interviews?
Here's the fact. If we weren't heavyweight enough, nobody would be talking about him being on the show.
How can the entertainment industry better portray issues, particular to minority women, without insulting them or resorting to stereotypes?
If I had the answer to that, I'd have four movies out right now.
Just curious. Does anybody ever call you Caryn anymore?
My mom used to.
P.S. Whoopi Goldberg's mother, Emma Johnson, died in 2010. She named her daughter Caryn Elaine. She adopted the name Whoopi because, "People used to tell me, 'You're like a whoopee cushion.' " Her mother suggested Goldberg, according to Whoopi, because Johnson wasn't "Jewish enough."
WHEN | WHERE Friday night at 8, Tilles Center, LIU Post, Brookville
TICKETS $50-$120; tillescenter.org, 516-299-3100
In a wide-ranging career in which she has balanced dramatic and comedic roles, Whoopi Goldberg has collected each of the Big 4 entertainment awards: Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy. Here's her roster of top prizes:
* Oscar (best supporting actress): "Ghost," 1990
* Tony (producer of best musical): "Thoroughly Modern Millie," 2002
* Grammy (best comedy album): "Whoopi Goldberg -- Original Broadway Show Recording," 1985
* Golden Globes (best actress, motion picture drama): "The Color Purple," 1985; (best supporting actress, motion picture): "Ghost," 1990