Whoopi Goldberg’s stand-up show at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn on March 12 is a rarity.
Though “The View” moderator still does plenty of stand-up shows around the country, the native New Yorker doesn’t do many close to home because she figures if local folks want to see her, they will head to the TV show.
However, Goldberg’s one-woman Broadway shows, a mix of storytelling and stand-up comedy, were groundbreaking and must-see events.
What are your plans for Brooklyn?
I think I’m just going to cut loose. I’m going to talk about everybody, everything. I’m going to do all the stuff that I do — topical, personal, not my personal life but you know, what happens when you reach a certain age and everything starts working in a weird new way. [Laughs.] You gotta learn stuff all over again.
Do people expect you to be Whoopi from “The View”?
I think so. I open my show by explaining there will be a lot of cuss words, a lot of bad words, maybe words they don’t like to hear. But I explain that I like saying them and, to me, they are happy words. You can say each of the words I say with a smile. But you can’t say a word like “stupid” with a smile, so therefore “stupid” is a bad word to me. And if they still have a problem after I explain to them, then I say, “Now is the time to get the [expletive] out.”
Your shows on Broadway were stand-up of a sort, but they were done in character. What about now?
I’m still telling stories, but I’m not doing it through characters very much. It’s now just, you know, “What the hell is going on? How did we get here? I’m not high. Clearly, this is a problem when you’re not high. Reality can be a bitch.” It’s observation, not through character, just through me.
Are there things you can cover in your stand-up that you can’t on “The View”?
There are things I can say in my stand-up that my eyes say on “The View.” [Laughs.] When a politician says, “I like undereducated people,” I can say, “What the [expletive] are you talking about?” How is it possible that after all the stuff we’ve gone through, we’re right [expletive] here? We’re right here, where people talk about building walls and how America’s not inclusive and how we don’t want to be sensitive. What happened? It can’t be because I’ve been high because I’ve been straight. What happened? It’s a lot of that kind of stuff in my own vernacular.
You were one of the first people to be targeted for speaking your mind [with jokes about President George W. Bush].
Yeah, I paid a big ol’ price for that one.
Do you look at what people get away with saying now and wonder how it’s possible?
I’m curious as to when it shifted, when it went from “We don’t think this is a good thing to say and we’re going to make you pay” to, basically, “[Expletive] everybody. Get out of my country.” Wow! I get that people are mad. . . . I believe that a big change is going to come and whatever it’s going to be, it’s going to be huge. People are mad at the Clintons. But my bitch is why do people assume that she is him? We are raised to be sexist. They say, “She’s his wife, so she’s going to do what he says.” I don’t think so. She’s a separate entity.
Do you think it’s sexist infrastructure that it’s always out there that “Whoopi is mad at Joy [Behar]”? Does “The View” get treated differently because you’re all women?
Yes. I do think that’s a huge issue. That’s some high school [expletive] . . . [some] insist upon it, because otherwise they’d have to treat what we said with a little weight. They couldn’t make us out as “just that chick show,” which is what they’ve been trying to do forever. . . . How come there’s no video of me yelling at people? Because it doesn’t happen. But we don’t live in a world where people say, “Wait a minute. This doesn’t make any sense.”
But obviously “The View” does have importance. You’re going to celebrate 20 seasons in the fall.
Yeah. It’s kind of amazing. I got very lucky to get the job when I really, really, really needed it. It’s been great fun for me, talking about things that are interesting. But the cost of that is also very high because now with social media, folks are relentless with their [expletive]. I don’t tend to read it, but it’s like, “Come on, don’t you have a job? All day? Really?”
Is another part of the cost of doing “The View” that it limits what else you can do?
Well, I can do other things. And with all this talk of diversity, I’m about to get much more popular. [Laughs.] But when we talk about diversity, we’ve got a long way to go. . . . I asked a table full of folks, “When you see a movie and you don’t see any black folks or Asian folks, do you notice that?” They all said no. I said, “Your eye doesn’t see anything wrong, but I see a hole. That’s not the world I live in.”
Are there still things you haven’t done yet?
I’m trying to find someone to give me money so I can make this 10-part documentary about black entertainment. Fred Zollo and Barbara Broccoli and a couple of other people are producing “Till,” which is about Emmett Till, written by Keith Beauchamp, the guy who got the FBI to reopen the case. I think I may direct that. It’s a story that should be told. It goes to how long folks have been waiting for the killing of young black men to be over. How long? 1955 was Emmett Till — it’s 60 years — and that was a big one. There’s lots going on in my head and it all comes out in a funny way when I’m on the stage.