Bridget Everett is a giant. This is in no way a reference to her big, beautiful frame of which she’s proud to show off, but of her lustrous, booming singing voice and raucously bawdy comic talent. Known for riotous routines (“At Least It’s Pink”), avarice-filled albums (“Pound It!”) and rude, lewd Comedy Central programs (her own “Gynecological Wonder,” appearances on pal Amy Schumer’s “Inside”), Everett and her band — led by Beastie Boy Adam Horowitz — hit the Trocadero hard Jan. 15.
PGN: You grew up in Kansas. Did you ever have that Midwest corny musical feeling about art, life and singing?
BE: Who doesn’t love musicals, the way they make you feel? So I guess you could say I had — have — that corny musical feeling. I also was madly in love with Debbie Harry. Who’s cooler than her?
PGN: It seems as if you’ve been honing this person — I don’t want to say persona: too cold, too clinical — for a while. That the exploded Bridget Everett is mostly the real one, only more sex- and scene-driven. Do tell.
BE: When I started out, the only singing I was doing was in karaoke bars and that Bridget was insane. It was my only creative outlet. There was a lot of drinking, crawling on top of bars and tender moments with strangers in the bathroom. The Bridget you see on stage is really a throwback to my karaoke days. I’m not that wild anymore in my personal life, but I wish I had the strength to be because it was really fun.
PGN: How did you get the character to meet the voice or the voice to meet the character? Was that power and style gleaned through training, or was that derived once you hit New York’s underground cabaret and hooking up with the likes of Kiki and Herb?
BE: Seeing shows like Kiki and Herb and Murray Hill blew my world wide open. I had no idea that that kind of performance existed. As soon as I saw it, I felt like I was home. I’m a classically trained singer, and happy for that training because it keeps my voice healthy. Everything else I do, I’ve learned from being in a room with an audience, testing their limits and mine. I’ve done some pretty crazy shit that I’m happy hasn’t landed on the Internet.
PGN: What was so great about Kiki and Murray other than the fact that they broke gender barriers?
BE: They were lawless, unbridled, fearless, wild, funny, human. There was, and still is, something so raw and electric about them. I love musicals as much as the next guy, but you usually know what’s coming next. With Kiki and Herb or Murray, you don’t. That’s what I love so much: the unpredictability. The only time I want to feel safe is on a plane, not at a show.
PGN: The fact that you are not a waif is a big part of your routine. Do you think you made it a crutch? What if you had a bad cold and lost a ton of weight? Then what?
BE: I don’t really think about my size. I do think about my body and my sexuality and don’t have shame about it. At the end of the day, they’re just tits. And they’re fun: fun to look at, fun to play with and fun to swing around. Yeah, if I lose a bunch of weight one day, there will still be people that squirm or are delighted because there aren’t a lot of 6-feet-tall women not wearing a bra chasing down people in their audience.
PGN: How do you know a song works for you?
BE: Hard to say. I just need to feel connected enough to it to lose myself. I’m such a lover of all music, though; I can fall in love with almost any song and figure out a way to make it fit.
PGN: What was the bonding moment between you and Adam Horowitz that brought him into your band?
BE: Adam and I are on a softball team together. He was the first person I told about my idea for the song “Titties.” I said, “Is this silly?” He said, “No, it sounds like a hit.” I’d worked with people in the past that looked down on my silly ideas, but he embraced them. That gave me a lot of confidence to go deep down the silly hole. We have very similar senses of humor and he’s a great pal. Working with him is the best. Adam often quotes Russell Simmons’ “do you” when I have an idea I think is a little weird. He encourages me to flesh it out. He even told me, “Hey, silly has worked out pretty well for me in my career. I think it will for you too.”
PGN: How would you say that you feel for gay audiences, in a way that might not be there with the straights?
BE: My audience started out as largely gay. I felt totally connected, like we understand each other. Straight audiences are great too, and I’m glad they’re coming to my shows, but the difference is maybe this: A lot of straight people need 10 minutes to adjust to what they’re seeing and get on board. Gay audiences are in from the minute the first song starts and I hit the stage.
PGN: You do a lot of leaping into your audiences’ faces. What do you say to people uncomfortable with direct interactive address?
BE: I try not to target someone who looks like they’ll stab me if I do. That would be a bummer. I find that most people I interact with leave with a big smile on their face. It’s not for everyone, but again, they’re just tits and we’re all just having ourselves a fun night out.