The last time we saw Whoopi Goldberg in a live performance on Long Island was the 2007 Staller Center gala. She had yet to join "The View." But we know from subsequent solo appearances elsewhere that she warns her audience at the start, "This is not 'The View' -- and that she swears a lot.
The host of the ABC morning gab fest, who makes a return engagement to the Island Saturday night, Oct. 3, with a stand-up performance at Tilles Center, declined to be interviewed for this story. At the time of our request, Goldberg was launching a new season of "The View" with a new cast of co-hosts and the return of former panelist Joy Behar.
A few headaches ensued, including the loss of several sponsors after Behar and Michelle Collins took turns mocking a nurse who participated in the Miss America contest. In another show, Goldberg took aim at critics of Planned Parenthood with this admonition to those who would obstruct what she calls a woman's reproductive rights: "Stay out of my vagina!"
Goldberg has never been shy, at least not in public, about speaking her mind. As for speaking up to her mother, she said on a recent edition of "The View": "My mom would just say, 'I said no,' and that was it."
The remark was part of a segment called, "Should you stay out of your kids' relationships?" Goldberg's solution regarding her own adult daughter: "I moved far away," adding that "she married the same man three times!" -- and gave her a granddaughter. In the back-and-forth banter with Behar and others, Goldberg peppered her ad-libs with mild profanities permissible on daytime TV. It was typical of her laser-to-the-bullseye wit, though on this day it stood in stark contrast to Pope Francis' Capitol Hill address, which ran over and caused ABC to "join our programming in progress."
Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan to a mom who was a teacher and a nurse and a dad who was a clergyman. Instead of waiting tables while auditioning and occasionally landing small parts on and off Broadway, Whoopi Goldberg (she hadn't adopted that name yet) worked in a mortuary, applying makeup to corpses, and as a bricklayer. She moved to California with an improv group to hone her skills as a comedian and was discovered by the late Mike Nichols, who directed Goldberg in her Broadway solo debut. Her Hollywood breakthrough came the same year, 1985, with the release of her featured role in "The Color Purple."
FOUR OF A KIND
Goldberg belongs to the exclusive "EGOT" club: winners of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony hardware. In 1994, she became the first woman to host an Oscar show on her own, three years after winning the statuette for her role in "Ghost."
"I am where I am," she once said, "because I believe in possibilities."
Known for her unapologetically liberal views, Goldberg has lots of material to draw from lately with a crowded field of Republican presidential candidates clambering to out-Trump each other. Expect The Donald to be a target of Whoopi barbs at Tilles, though she's bipartisan in her zingers, taking shots at fellow Democrats as well.
Another staple of her live show is a Q&A at the end, displaying her skills at impromptu stand-up. Once, when asked a question about gay marriage by someone who appeared uncomfortable with the concept, she replied: "If you don't like gay marriage, don't marry a gay person."
WHEN | WHERE Saturday night, Oct. 3 at 8, Tilles Center, LIU Post campus, Brookville
TICKETS $53-$123; 516-299-3100, tillescenter.org