Comedy’s ‘Love Goddess’ to descent upon New Hope

Comedian, actor and self-proclaimed goddess Judy Tenuta is coming to the area this weekend so that the good people of New Hope can worship at her well-manicured feet.

Tenuta burst into the comedy spotlight in the 1980s with an accordion in her hand, outrageously colorful clothes on her back and an offbeat, in-your-face persona that commanded attention and left an indelible mark on pop culture. She quickly became a regular sight on HBO and Showtime comedy specials, toured with comedy legend George Carlin and was frequently featured in commercials for Diet Dr. Pepper and MTV.

This was back when MTV played a lot of music videos and showcased at lot of comedians like Jon Stewart. We asked Tenuta if she knew back then that Stewart would evolve into the socio-political comedy juggernaut he is today as the host of “The Daily Show.”

“No, but I don’t think he would have either,” she said.

Fast-forward to today and Tenuta is still the outrageously funny “Love Goddess” she has always been, and she said that over the years she has had no problem living up the level of intensity that goddess status demands.

“I just have high energy,” she said. “I’m like a Roman candle. I’m burning at both ends. Naturally, I love putting energy into that.”

She has her more relaxed moments.

“Of course I have days when I have to crash, relax and watch ‘The Housewives of Orange County’ or something,” she said. “No, I hate that show. That’s not entertainment. I laugh at things like ‘Modern Family’ or just look at my garden.”

Speaking of sitcoms, Tenuta’s comedic star burned brightly at a time when standup comedians were getting launched to new levels of fame by getting their own sitcoms, starring in movies and playing to bigger audiences. Tenuta is no stranger to television and film, having made numerous guest appearances on live standup shows, talk shows and films. So we asked if she ever had the opportunity to launch her own TV show back in the day.

“Don’t you think I would have done it beynow?” she asked. “We’ve pitched things. They really only want you to be some fat pig or some bitch that screams at everybody else.”

Hmm … is that a thinly veiled jab at one or more of Tenuta’s comedic peers?

We had to ask. And she gracefully deflected.

“I honestly don’t have the answer to that anymore,” she said. “You just have to keep going out there and doing it. The good thing is there are all these webisodes. I’m working on that. I’m working on independent films. There are so many stations.”

But she didn’t hold back when talking about reality-television stars.

“I don’t throw tables at people and yell at them because they are married to someone or because of the way they set their tables,” she said. “Honey Boo Boo has a show and Dick [sic] Dynasty. So I guess I’m trying to get arrested so I can get my own show. You know that what’s her name, Nene on ‘Atlanta Housewives,’ that’s what they like. You’ve got to be a prostitute, you get out of that and then you prostitute yourself this way. But I need to have a show. I have to get arrested for it to happen. I’ve been on ‘Cops.’ I don’t know what else to do. I think my show would be ‘The Non-Housewives of the Valley.’”

For now, Tenuta is focusing on her live show, which she is calling “Full Frontal Tenudity.”

But don’t get too excited, as she plans on staying fully clothed for her shows in New Hope.

“I’m going to disclose a lot of things and get down to the nitty gritty about the different things I talk about,” she said.

Tenuta has no shortage of things she likes to lend her voice to. She’s an ordained minister and converts her audiences to her signature religion, “Judyism.” She is also a strong advocate for LGBT, children and women’s issues.

Tenuta said she hopes people can see how serious she is about the issues she cares about through her humor.

“I do support the gay community and children’s and women’s causes,” she said. “I really hate to see people carrying around AK-47s and shooting people in movie theaters and schoolyards. I hope people know I’m serious about that. I don’t want this planet destroyed. But people are going to think what they want. I think that when I do express an opinion about that, they know I’m being serious and I mean it.”

One thing Tenuta does take too seriously is the influence she has had on younger generations of comics, to whom she sometimes feels the need to apologize for sending them down such a rough path in life.

“People tell me that [I’m an influence] and I go, ‘Really? That’s weird!’” she said. “I get Facebooked or I get messages. There, people that say I influenced them and I tell them I’m sorry because I think we have way too many comics. Everybody is a comedian. When people find out who I am, they are automatically thinking that they have to tell me jokes. I’ve never been a straight standup joke-teller. I think it’s more difficult now because there is more competition.”

Tenuta said she has found that younger fans have discovered her through old performance clips they find on YouTube and, oftentimes, those clips are just as new to her as they are to her fans.

“You can Google me and I have a lot of stuff on YouTube,” she said. “The Internet has been very helpful that way. It’s not just for picking up people and buying used books and porn. You can actually have people see your work. And by the way — this is the interesting part — I don’t even post that stuff. Sometimes I go, ‘Where did this come from? I don’t even remember doing that.’ People find things and post it.”

Forget YouTube and see Judy Tenuta in the flesh when she performs May 2-3 at the Rrazz Room, in The Ramada New Hope, 6426 Lower York Road, New Hope. For more information or tickets, call 888-596-1027 or visit www.judytenuta.com.